I know I said I was going to step back from making any of my own threads, but I'm somewhat overwhelmed tonight and can't fight the urge. And while this isn't quite the topic I've threatened several times (the giant mess that has become of my long-term relationship), it certainly touches on the subject at many intersections.
A feeling I'm long familiar with, and in many of its shades. Right now, that shade is at its darkest, or darned near it.
Before I ever had a special someone in my life, I felt a shade of lonely; a paler shade. I was 15 years younger. The dynamics of things were different then. Different house. More family around (my younger sister and brother). I still had contact with friends I'd made in my teen years. My head was still buzzing with hope and promise even though I told myself "the good things may be a ways off, but they'll be there." I was still closer on the timeline to my non-sick years, and the memories of non-sick freedoms.
Also, with the advent of online interaction (very early years of it!), the edge of the loneliness was often blunted. At least enough so that I wasn't consumed by it. I had more things to distract me, things that didn't require my own energy and momentum to fuel them. I had more people around me (it only takes a few more to make a huge difference!).
None of this, by the way, addresses the inherently lonely feeling of being chronically ill amongst those that aren't, and especially those that don't really seem to grasp what you're doing through or dealing with. I don't want to get into that right now, as such, except to acknowledge it and concede that that
loneliness is pretty much always there in some form or another. Usually the shape of monkey on your back, or an 800-pound gorilla on your chest.
After my significant other came into my life, the social loneliness (as I'll refer to it, clumsily) abated. Almost entirely. Not only did I seemingly have someone in my life that accepted my condition, but it was someone I could relate to, intimately and superficially. It was remarkable how much of a void one person could fill. All the other contributing factors still existed, but they seemed to fade into the background. For many years, the only time the loneliness would spike to significant notice was when she went on a trip to visit family (which also carried with it for me a sense of guilt and failure, for not being able to join her). I would live for her night-time phone calls during those periods of time.
But where am I now?
Different house (purchased with the idea in mind that my fiance and I would be living here, so more space for us than in the previous home), fewer siblings (well, no siblings, technically). Just me and my parents. When my fiance was around, she seemed to "complete" the puzzle... balance the equation, so to speak. So while things were quieter in general, they didn't seem any more lonely.
Without her here, however, the void has returned. And it's growing with alarming speed. I don't know how to fill it.
It's as if I've been carrying around this pocket anomaly, a sort of portable black hole, whose growth was prevented by having my fiance in my life. But now that she's gone, the black hole is growing. It's pulling everything in my world towards it impossibly dark center, and nothing is strong enough to resist the pull.
I do have a very small handful of what I'll call "online friends," people I've met online and have never met in person, people that I periodically or frequently interact with. And without a doubt, their virtual presence helps... but only to a small degree when faced with the impossibility of my reality. I can't help but feel that generally I am a virtual presence in their lives that ceases to exist when the PC turns off. Not that I can ask for more than that; I'm lucky to have even
At the end of the day, though, the PCs are off, the connections are severed and the silence sets in. A heavy, almost tangible silence that you can feel beating on your eardrums like a phantom wielding a sofa cushion. Sure, there are tricks to try... turn on the TV... fills the air with noise. Seems abrasive and false to me. It's been almost impossible for me to truly enjoy any TV shows I used to, because so many of them were shared interests between us, and now they just serve to remind me of her.
I've tried music. Same problem! I don't get far, trying to listen to music. Music seems to cut deep and fast, so I'm just about entirely "off" of music now.
Anything I do, my brain knows I'm trying to trick it. Trying to make it forget. Trying desperately to get the whole of me to stop dwelling on what's missing.
It's simply not working. Filling the air with noise doesn't work. Throwing myself at anyone willing to spend time with me... doesn't work (and will inevitably annoy the other parties involved). Inundating myself with distractions doesn't work. The bed feels empty, even with me in it. I can hardly stand sleeping there now. Christmas is fast approaching, a holiday that was huge for us. And no New Year's kiss & hug? Some of this ties into the inexplicable way this situation unfolded, but beyond that... the loneliness is crushing me.
I can't not
feel her absence, almost like it's a tangible thing much like her physical presence was, only a sort of photo-negative version of it. As people have suggested to me, it's like she died. In almost every way. I find that frightening, and unnerving. Obviously it doesn't help that the 'end game' in all this still isn't clear. I have no closure on this situation. No indicator as to whether or not the relationship is done, or if this is a recoverable problem. Either end of the spectrum, I'm denied. So that leaves my brain to burn most of its time now, trying to "solve" the problem. And endless series of "if this, then that" or "what if this? maybe that" scenarios.
Not only does that amplify the loneliness, it's exhausting
So, playing a brief number game... let's conjure up an imaginary Loneliness Scale[SUP]TM[/SUP], that goes from 1 to 10. When I was in my early 20s, let's say the needle was hovering around 4. Fiance comes into my life... needles drops to a 1, maybe sometimes between the 1 & 2.
Now? The needle is at 10 and pushing really
hard to get higher.
Presuming the relationship is over (which I'm not right now, but it's certainly possible)... how can I hope to ever improve this, in any tangible way?
I'm not expecting anyone to have this answer. But it's a question I've been wrestling with long and hard. How can I even think or hope that I could find anyone else to fill the void? Especially as things are now with life in general.
I don't see it. I can't trick my brain into thinking the promise is still out there.
And all I can hear is a phantom thumping my ears with a sofa cushion.