I am lonely and I am 17. Two words you don't expect to hear in the same sentence. Young people get lonely? I thought it was just old people who get lonely? Don't be silly- you will find someone one day, you won't be alone forever.
Oh, I wish loneliness was that simple and straight forward. You see the thing is loneliness affects people of all ages, from all ethnic backgrounds, genders etc. Loneliness isn't exclusive to old people contrary to what most people think. No one is immune from being affected by loneliness at any stage of their life.
Today I want to share with you why I accept my loneliness and how I come to terms with it. I want to talk to you about how it feels to be young and lonely. If you feel like you are going through a similar situation right now- I am always here to listen. Loneliness is one of the worst things you can ever possibly go through, I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.
I have a mental illness. Mental illness makes me lonely. My OCD makes me isolated, lonely and segregated from society. It stops me going out and enjoying myself. I can't do the things that normal teenagers do my age. I can't go to the cinema or to parties. I can't keep friendships or relationships. My fear of contamination truly ruins and rules my life.
Mental illness also makes me lonely because I can't talk about it openly with people outside the blogging community. People don't understand. They think they understand, but they don't. People get annoyed and frustrated with me when I can't do something but I can't tell them why or about the bullying voices inside my head. I love these people dearly, which is why I hide everything away from them. I don't want to hurt them.
Mental illness is full of stigma. Every single mental illness out there has a stigma surrounding it which makes talking about it openly hard. In the fear of being judged or neglected by society, I suppress these emotions, thoughts, and feelings which contribute to my loneliness.
I often joke about having no friends and no social life. The truth is, it really does hurt. Every Friday and Saturday night when I scroll through the photos of parties from the night before on Facebook or when I see friends celebrating relationship anniversaries, my heart breaks a little bit inside.
I know one person outside the blogging community who I would confidently call my friend. My best friend in fact. She is my rock and I don't know what I would do without her. I don't have anyone else. I know people who I might have a fleeting conversation with every now and again but these people aren't friends they are just acquaintances. I am also an only child. I have grown up in a quiet environment but sometimes the silence is deafening.
But Nicole, you may be thinking, you have all these thousands of people who follow you on social media. These people that support you and love you to pieces. That's so true! Words can't express how grateful I am for the blogging community but something that I think about a lot is that; your just a number.
I find it near impossible to understand that real people, with real eyes, real personalities, and real emotions read my blog. I also constantly worry that one day it will all be gone. With one click of a button, all these friendships I have built up could be terminated (Don't worry guys, I'm not going anywhere) just like that! Isn't that scary?
I'm not going to lie to you guys, I spend a lot of my time on Twitter scrolling and checking my notifications. When I get a DM, I get that little feeling of excitement you get when you find money you didn't know you had. Someone cares about me. Someone wants to talk to me. The worst times are night times. I'm bored, I keep refreshing my notifications but nobody wants to talk and I sink back into my loneliness hole. That makes me sound really sad but when I am having a bad day, loneliness can really bring me down and makes me question every element of my life. Will I feel this way forever?
However, Words can't express how thankful I am for the blogging community. The friendships I have cemented over two years of blogging is incredible. People a couple of months ago, I never spoke to, I can now call some of my dearest friends. You see when I am having a bad mental health day or struggling with loneliness- part of me wants to shut myself off further from the world but equally part of me wants to chat to people for hours on end.
There are so many people I speak to on an almost daily or weekly basis who mean the absolute world to me. They are there for me when I need them. They provide me support and advice when I am feeling low. They congratulate me when I achieve. But not only are they there for me, I am there for them.
Friendship is a two-way thing. In order for friendships to work, you need to be there for them as much as they are there for you. Blogging allows me to do that. Blogging allows me to provide advice, support and encouragement to people who really need it. There is something so satisfying and fulfilling about being able to help someone else out. Without blogging, I wouldn't get this opportunity.
There are too many names to mention, but you know who you are. This may seem a really extreme thing to say but if I hadn't started blogging and got so involved in the community I don't know if I would be here today. And if I would, I would be deeply deeply unhappy. You guys give me something to live for and you will never know how thankful I am for that. Next year, my main blogging goal is to meet so many of you!
The thing is with loneliness is that you can be lonely in a crowd full of people. You can have the biggest friendship group and most amazing family ever but you can still be lonely. We all get lonely from time to time when we worry that we will never have a significant other and that we will die alone.
But sometimes you can't control what makes you lonely. I didn't choose to have a mental illness. I can't decide what those around me do, think or say about my mental health. I can fight stigma all day long but unfortunately, sometimes loneliness creeps up on us when we least expect it and all we can do is crumble and surrender on our hands and knees.
Do you think it's time society changes its stereotypical perception on what loneliness is and who it affects? Have you ever been affected by loneliness? I would love to know in the comments below!
If you want to chat about loneliness, mental health or anything else you can email me at email@example.com or send me a DM on Twitter (thriftyvintage_) I would hate anyone to suffer in silence. I am always here for you.
Thank you for reading, as always X