When You Feel All Alone

You have no one to talk to. Even when you are in a room full of people, you can’t seem to fit in. You are isolated. You are invisible. There is no one you can trust anymore; everyone you know is unreliable. You have so much you want to share; so much you want to say. But, you know deep down that no one will understand.

Everything that was once good in your life is now bad. Your relationships are broken. All the people you depended on have turned their back on you. No one wants to support your goals. They all think you are a fool. They sneer at you; waiting for you to fail so that they can gloat that they had warned you but you didn’t listen. You keep trying to prove yourself but, no matter what you do, it’s always one step forward and two steps back. You have failed at everything but there is no one to pick you up except yourself. But how can you raise your spirits when you no longer believe in yourself?

Alone

It’s a hard truth to take; but let’s face it: You are all alone!

The Pain of Feeling All Alone

There is a saying (I’m paraphrasing) that says, “We can’t live alone because we are all connected by invisible threads”. Akin to the overused “No man is an island” quote, this saying goes to show that we are not meant to exist in solitude. Humans are social creatures. We crave interaction with others. That’s how some people get lonely. You find yourself in a room full of people who you don’t have a connection with and, therefore, you feel isolated. You might even feel sorry for yourself and start thinking that there is something wrong with you.

Being lonely, though, is different from feeling alone. That feeling of being alone goes a little bit deeper into the core of our being. When your emotional standing and your mind are overwhelmed by sadness and hopelessness, then depression is at your door.

Loneliness can be cured by establishing a worthwhile connection with someone. Feeling alone incorporates loneliness, sadness, hopelessness, anger directed at yourself and at the world, and the pain of failure. What is it about you that makes you so unlovable? Why won’t people listen to you? Why doesn’t anyone understand you? Does anyone even care about you?

Enemy at the Gate

There is a reason why people go mad when they are cut off from the world. Anyone who has been shipwrecked or survived a plane crash in some jungle somewhere has started experiencing hallucinations as they desperately call out for a much-needed companion. Even children are known to exhibit this desire for connection by having ‘imaginary friends’. Having ‘a friend’ they can trust serves as a coping mechanism to what life brings their way.

For adults, it is important to have someone you can share ideas with; someone who you can turn to when you are stressed or going through trying situations in your life; or someone to just share a laugh with. It is a social phenomenon that psychologists continue studying. Even in the Christian Bible, there is the instance whereby Adam in the Creation Story found himself feeling lonely and God provided a companion for him. We all need someone.

That is not to say we are not self-sufficient. That’s also not to say that we can’t deliberately isolate ourselves for the purpose of meditation or rebooting our systems. Feeling all alone is a desperate situation for anyone to go through.

What to do When You Feel All Alone

Unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘one-size fits all’ solution. Humans are complex creatures having different experiences in the world. Nevertheless, you bear the great responsibility of getting out of the rut. You need to analyze your choices, your circumstances and your thoughts to determine where you have gone wrong. You need to see everything with new eyes.

  1. Fight Depression

If you are lucky to spot the symptoms of sinking into depression, it is important to get yourself out of it before it takes hold over your life. Depression is a different beast to deal with and it has feeling alone as one of its symptoms. You can read some articles about depression here and here.

  1. Do away with toxic relationships

If you don’t feel you can trust the people in your life, go ahead and make new friends and connections. We make the mistake of holding on to people and relationships that do more harm than good. Why would you want to keep around someone who makes you feel insignificant? Why would you let someone break you down everyday telling you how worthless you are?

  1. Seek out positive people

Realize how valuable you are and seek out people who see your value and encourage you to be better. If someone really loves and cares about you, they will do everything to be in your life and to contribute positively to it.

  1. Communicate your feelings and move on

This is difficult to do. One of the reasons you feel alone is because you think no one ever listens to you. Give people a chance and find a way to get them to sit down and hear you out without commenting. Share your feelings to them and how their actions have affected you. The people who care about you will acknowledge their mistakes. Some might even be shocked that this is how you’ve been feeling and they didn’t know they were hurting you. Take note of those who dismiss what you have shared with them and cull them from your life. You don’t need them.

  1. Have a plan and purpose for your life

Many of the mental, emotional and physical problems we encounter in our lives can all be tied back to our life plans and life purpose. You are where you are because of the choices you have made and the circumstances that surround your life. Once you take responsibility for where you are in life, you can plan out what you need to do to improve your life. Having a purpose will guide that plan and it will serve as a plane of reference every time you start feeling lost.

In life, there will always be moments when circumstances batter you and you find yourself fighting fire on your own. Years of experience teach us that only true friends will stick around when your world is in turmoil. These are the people you need to find and have in your life.

I have always said this and I ask you yet again to be there for others. Everyone is going through a battle in life and it takes just a moment of your time to change their lives. Today, decide to be there for someone. You might think you have nothing to offer because you are also going through some things in your life. But what you give in life always comes back to you tenfold. Share the love and be there for someone and tomorrow you will not need to look far for a friend.

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Keep Depression at Bay: 8 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up

Sad moments can creep up on you when you least expect it. You were feeling ecstatic a moment ago but now you are not in the mood to celebrate. We all experience this feeling.

Sometimes we just get overwhelmed when the pressures of life weigh us down. You wake up and you don’t feel like doing anything. Making breakfast is a chore and you are looking forward to the moment you will sit down and just be. You can’t seem to shake the feeling so you allow yourself to wallow in sadness. All attempts from people to raise your spirits are met with anger and irritation. “Why won’t everyone just mind their own business”, you say.

There are many articles online saying that you should not try to get out of your slump; rather, embrace the slump as a reality and it will go away. While this course of action might sound deep, there is also a risk that your mini mood slump can quickly evolve into depression. Now you have a big problem!

Perhaps a few of these methods below can assist you to get back the joy in your life:

Happy woman with headphones

  1. Listen to Music… and Sing

There is probably a song for everything. Think up any topic and a musician has probably sung about it. When you are sad, you’ll naturally gravitate toward sad songs. It seems that this guy or that girl gets you. That musician understands exactly how you are feeling. Perhaps it would be best to listen to uplifting music. Singing will make your mind active and responsive to mood changes. If you really let the music sink in, you might even start dancing. It’s a form of exercise and we’ve already seen how exercise can be great for your body.

  1. Get perspective

As Dan Gilbert says in his ‘Surprising Science of Happiness’ Ted Talks speech, human beings tend to overestimate the pain or pleasure they will experience. Thus, it is important to get some perspective as to why you are feeling sad. Try to get an objective view of the situation you are in rather than a subjective one. By doing this, you remove the emotions that cloud your judgement as to what really happened to you to make you feel sad.

For example, sometimes people can hurt us unintentionally. Letting that pain fester in your mind can keep you from focussing on the fact that the person who hurt you loves you deeply and they would never do anything intentionally to bring pain to your life.

You have to find out exactly what it is that is making you feel down. Normally, when people are sad, they tend to make blanket statements that their whole life sucks. In truth, before getting into a negative mindset, these people were thinking their lives were amazing. What changed? Focus on what’s wrong and fix it.

  1. Exercise

Working out brings more benefits to your life beyond the physical. As you know, exercising makes the body release endorphins, which are neurotransmitters from the brain that make you feel good. If you want to feel good, exercise.

  1. Share your problem with someone you trust

A problem shared is a problem half-solved. Confidants can help you make sense of issues and find solutions for them. You have to surround yourself with people who will give you sound counsel. This will get you on your way to resolving your problems and being happy again.

Trusted friends can also give you the support you need if you require a shoulder to cry on. Another interesting thing is that if you manage to get a couple of hugs, your mood instantly changes. Try it.

  1. Find a source of laughter

You’ve heard this before, but laughter is the best medicine. To get out of your bad mood, you need to find someone who can make you laugh or watch a comedy show. Laughing makes you feel alive and grateful for your life. It will make you feel happy

  1. Remember that you are what you eat

There are a couple of foods and snacks that should be included in your diet, which act as mood boosters. Top on the list is fish, which gives omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 raises the levels of a brain chemical called serotonin, which boosts our mood. Another booster is chocolate. Chocolate not only tastes good, but also acts as an anti-oxidant and as a serotonin stimulator. You need to eat the chocolate in moderation though, as eating a lot of it will leave you feeling queasy and ruin your mood even further.

  1. Volunteer to help other people

It is said that, “If you think you have problems, just visit the hospital and see for yourself what other people are going through”. This is just a way of bringing perspective to your problems. Volunteering has a two-fold effect of not only helping other people, but also giving you a sense of gratitude and joy. There are so many people going through a lot of issues that sometimes you just need to ask them whether they are okay. We all need each other. We can lift each other’s spirit by simply being kind, caring and generous.

  1. Get some fresh air by going for a walk

Going outside can do wonders for you. It has been theorized that staying indoors causes anxiety and depression because the body is not getting enough Vitamin D from the sun nor taking in fresh air into the lungs. Walking is a form of exercise as well and it allows you to clear your mind as you analyze everything that is making you feel sad. Being outside is soothing and it rejuvenates your spirit as you take in deep breaths.

sunny day

Take Action

All these methods have one thing in common; they all involve taking action. People focus too much on their feelings and talk about not “feeling like doing anything”. In truth, feelings follow actions and not the other way around. Notice how when you don’t feel like doing something but you do it anyway, you stop ‘feeling’ like it was a bad thing. It’s all about taking action.

Wherever you are right now, you can choose to be happy. Life will throw all kinds of problems your way. In times like these, you will need to summon your willpower and take action to be happy again. Realize that happiness is a state of being and embody happiness.

You can choose to be happy right now. Don’t wait for the sadness to overwhelm you.

Suicide via Skype. That’s not the Shocking Part!

In life, you will never know the depths people are able to sink to. It truly beggars belief the kind of vile things human beings do to each other. Then I saw this story of a 26-year old man from Russia called Sergey Kirilov, who announced that he was planning on killing himself. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, he told people to link to his Skype account and watch him go through with it.

photo: DailyMail

photo: DailyMail

Now, at this point, you already have some expectations in your mind. Someone will step up and ask him whether he is okay, and another will offer an ear to listen to whatever problem this young man has and do their best to help him solve it. Perhaps, someone will be concerned enough to call the police and express their concerns that this young man doesn’t sound like he is joking no matter how casually he announced his impending suicide. It’s no secret that people are considering suicide for a variety of reasons. It could be stress, depression, or chronic mental health issues. The list is long. The opportunity was there for someone to make a telling contribution on another man’s life by saving him. No one did (one tried).

Admittedly, there is the social psychological issue called the Bystander Effect. It is a concept proposed by John Darley and Bibb Latané, and it states that people are less likely to assist you when they expect/assume someone else in the vicinity will volunteer to assist you. Yet, in the case of Sergey Kirilov’s suicide, that concept couldn’t be further from the truth.

In a vile, revolting, apathetic manner, the ‘people’ who had linked to Kirilov’s Skype account cheered him on as he took his life. I read that part and I was heartbroken. I took a long pause. I could not believe what I had read. But it is there, as clear as day. People celebrated the suicide. In some excerpts from the article, it says there were “dozens of spectators” and one of them said, “Come on, are you ready yet? Go on – do it” while another added that, “If a man says he’s going to do something, he needs to do it”. We exist with people like this in our world. I honestly don’t want to believe it. It is a great shame.

A spokesman (the article doesn’t mention who he speaks on behalf of, but I’m assuming it’s the Police or State Prosecution) called Leonti Zubarev, said that the people who encouraged the suicide could be charged with “negligent homicide”. The definition is explained here. I’m not sure that is enough. Those spectators broke the moral and ethical code of humanity. What is the punishment for their evil? Would you trust these people to be in your life?

In all this commotion and investigations, one thing stood out for me. Nobody asked what the young man’s reasons were for committing suicide. No one queried the mental health of a person who not only boldly announced his death, but also followed through with it in the presence of an eager audience. I have not seen any other articles following up on this story. Perhaps I haven’t looked well enough. There have been no further statements concerning this suicide. Perhaps it’s my fault I have not seen them. What’s striking for me then, is that this is a non-story! Not many people care. What’s done is done.

This is our truth, this is our reality. There are those who claim that this suicide was only possible because of the advancements of the internet. I DO NOT agree at all. Yes, let’s blame the internet for the actions of human beings. While it played its role in facilitating the viewing of such vile actions, no one should excuse the actors in this shocking story. This issue can only lead to calls for invasion of privacy through monitoring our actions on the internet. But that’s a different issue.

So what are we to do then? I guess we can just try to change how people view issues dealing with mental health and suicide. As for those spectators, I’m truly saddened by their actions. No man should ever wish ill on another.

Let’s help each other and heal our world.

R U OK? Mental Health Day

Thursday, September 11, 2014 is going to be the R U OK? day. It is a day whereby people make a commitment to ask other people “Are you okay?”. That’s not all though. The people asking the question must follow through and dig deeper to unearth how someone is really feeling about their life, health, family, work and anything that is important to their well-being.

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Mentalist Series actor and Ambassador for the RU OK? Campaign, Simon Baker, talks briefly here about connecting with people to find out whether they are doing well and feeling optimistic about their lives. There are people who keep their problems well-hidden that even those who are close to them cannot suspect that something is amiss. Many people never want to appear weak by asking for help when their problems overwhelm them. This is where you come in.

Not all of us were born to be detectives but there are moments when you can sense that a person is not happy with their life. It doesn’t have to be a family member or a close friend. It could be someone you’ve just met. Organizations such as ruok.org.au are trying to inspire conversations; encouraging people to reach out to others and try to help them get out of a mental funk state.

Each one of us is going through various trials in our lives. There are those who can cope well despite their circumstances. There are others who, due to a mental health problem, are unable to resolve the issues in their lives and start spiralling out of control. Strange behaviours and addictions may rise to the fore. Then sooner or later, news trickles in that a person you knew has committed suicide. Could you have helped? Maybe. The problem is…you never tried.

This video shows what kind of issues we all have in our lives. There are many people who feel alone or neglected. Some of the time, a simple word or a smile from a stranger goes a long way in raising their spirits. Humans can be insensitive to the plight of others and never really understand what others may be going through. Mentally ill people can fail to find the motivation that spurs us on everyday. It’s not that they are weak or don’t care. There are other forces (such as depression) making them feel unworthy of living.

It’s always a good day to do something nice for other people. Reach out to those who don’t seem okay. Start a conversation that goes beyond “I’m fine”. Relate your own worries and troubles and the steps you took to overcome them. This might help the object of your queries to come out of their shell  and share with you anything that might be draining on their spirits and their will to live.

You have the power to help others today. Go beyond “R U OK?