• Irene Chirita

isolation syndrome: adjusting to loneliness | community

I think that most of us when we feel lonely, have this dream that people will just show up on our doorstep and be there for us in precisely the way we need. Even if we know it doesn’t work that way, we tend to obsess over the fact that our loved ones are not meeting our expectations. I used to replace the feeling of loneliness with the idea of being unlovable, invisible, and not appreciated enough. When really, I just had to realise that I am the best person to heal myself. And now, I have enough time to do so. If I’m being honest, it would have been much easier for me to write about loneliness before the lockdown, when I was surrounded by people but felt no connection. There were periods when I was convinced that lonely was something I was, rather than something I felt. It was like acknowledging I am a human being. I once wrote ‘I lonely, therefore I am’ in the corner of page 39 of The New Yorker issue I was reading during my commute. Now, it feels as if my feelings have shifted. The things that I used to cry, care or fight about seem insignificant. It actually hurts a little to think that I took so many things for granted. For example, there were so many relationships I did not make time for, with the simple excuse of not having enough time to nurture them. And now I cannot help but wonder, when did I start losing focus on what’s important?

And so now, when my friends call and go on by telling me about their daily ups and downs, I ask myself: ‘how can I make this better for them?’ I learned that thinking more about how you can make it better for other people, rather than the other way around will eventually find its way to you. After all, these are the same people who checked up on me and cheered me on before, I simply wasn’t able to see it.

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