Friday, March 24, 2017

Loneliness and Distance

It is no secret that I often feel alone. It is something I have struggled with for so long. I would say probably since high school. In college it worsened, and now as an adult it just continues.

It is also no secret that my circle of friends is quite small. Very few know everything about me. I tend to keep all that bottled inside rather than sharing.

Lately I have found myself feeling extremely lonely and distant from everything. I wish I understood why. Some of it has to do with my social anxiety. Some might have to do with the fact that I just feel like I don't fit in. It just seems easier to build those virtual friendships versus the in real life ones. That might be because I can hide better with the virtual friends, whereas my IRL friends can see the pain, frustration, loneliness, etc.

My loneliness really flared up today. One of my small group ladies posted that she is moving on to a new church, and that she is going to be leaving our group. What caused the flare up though was what came next in her message. It said that we will still be in contact because we all send each other snaps on a daily basis and we text. So even though we won't be together in small group any longer, we'll still be in each others lives.

Why did that cause my loneliness to flare up? I don't have snapchat. I don't text. I don't have a cell phone. So I'm not part of that conversation. I'm not part of their community. It puts me on the side. The thoughts begin. The ones that say "see, they aren't your friends", "you're not wanted in the group", and "why did you ever think you were?".  I'm separated. Not wanted. Not included. More so, I'm hurt.

More than ever I am also feeling the, physical, distance from the woman I am honored to refer to as my best friend. An hour may not seem like much to some, but to me it is. Our time together is limited to the weekends. Our conversation, due to me lacking a cell phone, is limited to email and Facebook. Unless she wants to torture me with a phone call. ;) (those years working in a call center have ruined the phone for me) However with family commitments, church commitments, and just general life, that time is limited even further. Lately it has been more than physical distance though. I haven't reached out through email like I typically do. I don't know why either. I used to send an email that would simply say "I miss you", and that would get conversation flowing.

I truly do miss her. She is one of the few who knows a lot about me. She is the one who I would turn to with good news and not-so good news. She is the one who I think of when I hear a song on the radio, or read a good book, or read a fantastic blog post. She is the one I turn to to share. Yet, I've put distance between us in the communication area.

When I think of sending that email, that voice creeps up again that says "she doesn't want to hear from you", "she's moved on from you", "she has other people and doesn't need you". So that email sits in my draft folder and goes unsent. I know those thoughts are false. It is as though I get so caught up with that voice (hello satan) that I just cannot see the other side. I find myself struggling to listen to the other side (God) that says "reach out", "send that email", "tell her how much you miss her and appreciate her".

So instead of reaching out to my best friend, or telling my small group how much this revelation hurts me, I turn inward. I listen to the negative voices, and I fall further into the valley of doubt and isolation.

All of that brings me to this; I've only told one person* that my mother-in-law's cancer is now terminal and that her doctors have said she has six months. Which is now really five, as a month has passed since that news was given. I find myself struggling with how to support my husband through this time in his life, as he prepares to say goodbye to his mom. I struggle to know how to explain this to my kids, that soon we will not be able to visit grandma as she will be going to live with Jesus. It just sucks because my little two will have little to no memory of her. My four year old may have a few memories of her, but I can't guarantee that. It's time like this where physical distance is so rough. Being 3 1/2 hours away doesn't make it easy to go for regular visits.

This is a long post. However I needed to get this all out. I needed to put it somewhere so that it doesn't rattle around in my brain constantly. So here I write. In my safe place. Where I can write what I want and let all those thoughts out.

*I am so thankful to my, friend who reached out after seeing me tweet about my mother-in-law. She asked what was going on, and I just let it all out. 

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