May 29, 2010

"I think it's this long-term, intense loneliness that many people don't understand."

"They don't realise that loneliness can come alive, that it can start to snap and hound at a life."

Emily White — author of "Lonely: A Memoir" — writes:
I felt a certain dumbing down in the midst of my loneliness. I couldn't read as quickly or as well as I used to. I wasn't as imaginative. I said less. Without people around me, I began to feel as though I were taking up less space. I sometimes felt so ungrounded, so immaterial and unreal, that I thought I might just drift away....
I became less spontaneous, less confident and secure. Interacting with others, I had to hide my feeling of marginalisation, and since marginalisation had come to define my life, I wound up hiding most of myself. I wanted to turn back into the former me, the connected me, but I couldn't find my way back.

15 comments:

Harriett Gillham said...

Loneliness is beyond words -- it's a kind of yearning -- a sense that the heart is unfulfilled.

The Crack Emcee said...

Whatever the opposite of loneliness is, that's what I've got. Driving around for hours, just looking at people, terrified at how normal they look, while knowing how stupid they are. Believe me, I ain't lonely. I'm now trapped somewhere between terrified and ready to kill.

Travis Bickle.

"The best we can hope for is the simple, enduring pleasure of baiting morons."

shoutingthomas said...

Yeah, Crack, but...

You're out there in the Bay Area among all those cultists...

Who's the new Jim Jones in San Francisco?

Andrea said...

I don't get it. She wants to be around people? Why?

Andrea said...

Seriously, from reading the article, what I come away with is that she wasn't suffering from "loneliness," but from depression.

WV: "psych." No, really.

EnigmatiCore said...

That's possible, although I think for most people, an inevitable consequence of loneliness is depression.

Loneliness is a terrible feeling. It eats at the ego. It is depressing, and angering, and makes escapism (be it through alcohol or drugs or extreme exercising or anything) to be a very attractive option.

Pogo said...

"...she wasn't suffering from "loneliness," but from depression."
Yep; a psychotic one, too ("voices running through my head").


Hell is other people.
But so is heaven.

Patriarchy is bad for women.
But so is matriarchy.

Many of us live sing the song of J. Alfred Prufrock in luxurious misery, till human voices wake us, and we drown.

nelda said...

Andrew Solomon wrote in his book "The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression" that depression is the aloneness within us made manifest and it destroys not only connection to others but also the ability to be peacefully alone with oneself.

edutcher said...

Andrea and Pogo make the point. You can be alone in the middle of Manhattan, but solitude in the middle of the desert can be fulfilling.

EnigmatiCore said...

That's kind of the point, though. Loneliness is not necessarily being around no one. Loneliness is the unfulfilled desire to feel connected with others.

A person who's spouse has lost interest may have someone around constantly yet feel crushingly lonely.

Or, a person who finds their friends have all moved on to their own relationships, who's parents have passed, and who's job avails little interaction, can feel the same.

If one feels a part of this world, then one probably does not feel what this lady is describing. If, however, one feels as if they exist but without being integrated into the world, one probably knows it all too well.

rhhardin said...

Math guys and certain computer programmers are happy with human contact about once a year.

PatCA said...

Yes, sounds like a psychotic break and depression. She needs meds perhaps.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Who's the new Jim Jones in San Francisco?"

Nicole Daedone.

William said...

Barracks life, an unhappy marriage, hanging out with sullen drunks: there are so many things that are worse than loneliness.

AST said...

If I weren't so lonely, I'd have written that.

You know what loneliness is? It's having Google inform you that your last three years of blogging has been removed because it was deemed "SPAM."

But seriously, Andrea is right. She's depressed. I've suffered from clinical depression all my life. Without Cymbalta, I'd be unable to read blogs or post comments. It's disabling.