Feelings of emotional pain are the same for the mind as physical pain. Toothache sends a clear message to the brain that it hurts. Its the same for the victim of emotional pain.
In my experience the biggest emotional pain was loneliness. It sent the biggest to my brain that, ‘Yep this is bad, I don’t want to be here, lets go’
Being alone is different to feeling alone. I like being alone, bit of space, bit of quiet do my thing. Sometimes by choice, sometimes by circumstance, but either way I like my own company. And sometimes being alone can make you crave for some company, but it’s not a feeling of despair.
The most despairing feeling for me was the feeling of loneliness. In a room with friends or family and feeling totally alone, like no one understands me, I shouldn’t be here, or I don’t belong. I started questioning if I was living in a different time or the wrong dimension. And yes, I looked it up to see if it was possible.
The feelings came from me. I’ve seen quotes online saying that ‘it’s the people around you that make you feel alone’. For me this wasn’t the case. The people around me were just engaged with others, being social. The problem was I rarely engaged first, due to fear of being rejected.
If I engaged and got nothing back or a throw away comment, this would confirm my fears; that I’m totally socially inept and ‘Why would anyone engage with me I’m a loser, a no one. In the end I would usually bolt and leave, which in affect is avoidance, which is the worst thing you can do with any mental health issue.
I would be sat at home feeling even more alone and confirming to myself my fears were true.
It was no one else’s fault. the feelings came from me: me alone. I still remember the feeling. It stays with you. It’s the lowest of the low.
It was an illusion though. My thoughts and then my reaction (emotions) that followed made me feel this way. The people around were not purposely horrible or ignoring me, they were communicating. It was just a panic that hit me with the first few seconds of silence.
Alcohol helped to loosen me up, but it could go the other way too.
I usually stuck to a close friend or my brother so I’d have a least one person to talk too. But if they went to the toilet I’d feel lost, helpless, alone.
Today I’m not so bad. I don’t drink so I know my feelings and emotions I’m receiving are real, so I can deal with them. I just try to chill, look around me and relax.
With a relaxed mind I’ve looked to see a few other people on their own looking about, it happens. I’m not alone in being alone, physically or mentally.
These days if I’m left on my own I get my phone out to have a look (Who doesn’t), it feels like I’m interacting with someone (Which I’m not) and it gives my mind a distraction and something to do. If it helps use it, but I do try just to be in the moment and relax.
In my experiences with mental health the feeling of loneliness was the worst to for me to deal with. I felt like I was a loser, and that others were thinking that too, because I was being quiet and evasive.
I think recognising it was an illusion was my biggest saviour.
It’s a horrible debilitating feeling that stays with you.
If you see someone at a party sitting alone or looking uncomfortable, go and talk to them. They probably wont make the first move, but that doesn’t mean their not interesting, their probably just trying their hardest to stay.
It can across as arrogance, most of the time it’s nerves.
I used to love it, people making conversation first, it gave me a feeling of relief and a great distraction. It also helped dispel the myth I was telling myself about being worthless and uninteresting.
First step, like yourself, like being in your own company and relax, the rest will follow…
I’m not a fighter I’m a lover
But in my head I have to fight
Life is better shared with another
I’ve had that feeling, though very slight
Always been different, full of worries
I stand alone in a pit of despair
Don’t remember any happy memories
Though my blank look shows me there
A loner at birth, or fun scared away
Upbringing can slowly take away pieces
Fear and worry lurked on the fray
Not good news for a sociable species
Hard being alone with a family
Each day is guilt and pretence
I avoid as much as they allow me
To young minds it makes no sense
A social night is a passage of grief
Many let downs I’ve yet to atone
Invited feel nervous, not invited relief
Because in my head I’m always alone.
Alone Away Days
Picked on a team where all the good people play
Will they notice that I can’t play away?
Though I couldn’t much travel or roam
I had some good games playing at home
A lot of potential, or so I was told
Loads of ‘what ifs’ to dwell when I’m old
What might of been; career I’ve lost?
Staying in my bubble, but at what cost
‘Oh he’s ok, but his attitudes bad’
Didn’t mention the mental issue I had
Let people down, not looked at twice
Couldn’t expect players to be polite and nice
Maybe a league or a semi cup tie
If it’s too far to travel, I’ll make up a lie
Feigning flu illness I’ve used times before
If they come knocking I’ll hide on the floor
I know deep inside I’ve let the team down
Got evils and sneers when I’m later in town
Self preservation you see, mind constantly scared
A form of OCD and Agoraphobia, formally paired
But Damn I had skill, and Damn I could play
Just a shame my mind wouldn’t let me away
Does it matter now? no who cares
I still have my memories of magic and flair
How people remember, that’s a choice that they make
But a bad attitude nah, that’s just a mistake.
Football was one thing I was good at, very good. But as with other aspects of my life the anxiety and OCD had to creep in and take the pleasure.
The fear of playing away took over as I got older. And then with senior football there’s an element of pride and being hard around other males. If I told the truth of being afraid then I felt I would be branded a coward and a weirdo.
I was just scared of something bad happening, a fight, a riot, car crash on the way there. The anxiety drove me to miss huge games, cup games where I would pretend to be ill, using the same illness again and again.
Even now old players say to me I was a good player it was just my attitude that wasn’t right. This always makes me cringe as I want them to know the truth but the truth would just sound alien to them. In the end I put it down in words…
Looking forward to the weekend
Drinking and socializing with mates
Half excited, half wrenching
In case the conversation turns to dates,
Of more nights or future holidays
Things on the spot I agree to
Pit of my stomach is yearning
I will avoid each one, and I do!
Talk of glory days I’ve missed
In the crowd but still alone
Detached, looking down from above
Lies and guilt, I could never atone,
But they’re a good bunch of friends
Initially I’m always included
In my head yes, no, yes, no
The reality, I feel excluded,
Listening out for the question
Waiting to be asked
Just for it to be over
For them it’s just a task,
An unspoken air of formality
Asking and I say yes
The elephant in the room is reality
Knowing I will let them down by text,
Not real great times, always on edge
But that was as good as it got,
They still think I’m some kind of ledge
But I know I’m not,
What I’d felt back then, wasn’t really me
I kind of knew, but today I know
And if I could live those days again,
I’d just go along with the normal flow,
Past is gone now, no time for regrets
Looking back I feel kind of blessed,
Because they’re a good bunch of friends
And my issues? No-one could have guessed.
This poem was written when I was feeling very raw. It’s about being in a crowd but feeling all alone, but the feeling is not because of the people I’m with it’s because of the dread and the reminders that occurs of all the things I’ve avoided in the past.
It’s more to do with wanting to be yourself because you know that person would thrive with your mates and the holidays and nights out they have. I’m always invited but I had a backlog of excuses to use and the mates just go along with it to be kind.
Drink was a big help as in being to forget the anxiety feeling and being to function as a person, if only externally.
Even though I hid my anxieties well and looked like I was happy I was still only living as a shadow of myself…