It’s hard to believe that I was just discharged only three days ago. It feels like forever. It feels like when I walked into my house, nothing had changed.
I went into work this afternoon to make up the time I missed yesterday, and took the train home. There were all kinds of couples and groups who are going to a concert, and I felt lonely and disconnected in the midst of them. If you had described the atmosphere of the psychiatry unit to me, I would have thought it would be an introvert’s nightmare.
granted, I always ate my meals at my bed instead of going to the dining room, and I never went into the TV room, and I actually never said much to anyone for the first couple of weeks, but I found the presence of human contact to be really comforting. Just the nurse saying “good morning, here are your medications,” or saying hi to your roommates, or nodding at someone on your way down to the hall to the nursing station or to pick up your meal tray.
And if you wanted a conversation, it wasn’t difficult to find. You could talk to your nurse, or to one of the chattier people on the floor, or go into one of the common rooms.
I guess I kind of didn’t realize how isolated I was until I came home. I get up in silence, I get ready in silence, I go to work in silence, and then finally say the “good morning, how are you” to my office mates that comprises half of my daily communication. Several hours later, I get to say “have a good night, see you tomorrow” before I repeat the process of travelling in silence to come home to a silent home.
There are a few people that I can have phone dates with that feel like real communication to me instead of just social niceties. But I don’t think I can live for one or two hours a month. I don’t think I can live with the thought that maybe I’ll never be touched again. Maybe I’ll never be kissed again. The girl who does my nails is on her six month anniversary with her new partner after breaking up with her husband in the last couple of years. Nearly everyone at work is in a long-term relationship, planning to be married, has just had a baby, or is otherwise attached.
I realize I’m not the only single person in the world, but having been single now for three full years and not getting so much as a peck on the lips despite trying meet ups, dating sites, going to different events, trying a church, well it seems the common factor in this is me. And I don’t want to live alone. I just don’t. This is like being a widow, but without the benefit of having been married first or the social sympathy.
And I’m just not willing to start over. Everyone seems very eager to explain how despite having done my best, I’ve done it all wrong; I’ve gone to the wrong events, put out the wrong vibes, tried at the wrong times, or just need to try again. I mean even giving up the idea of a romantic partner… I cried and cried in the hospital because I had Leonard Cohen tunes on my iPad, and I missed him in concert because I had no one to go with. And now he’s dead, and I’ll never get to see him in concert. But despite that being years ago, nothing has changed. I still don’t have anyone to do things with. And I have gone to concerts on my own, plenty of times. And it’s fucking lonely. You have no one to talk to, you have couples or groups on either side of you…
I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain what I feel in a way that people will understand and not criticize me. I realize that there’s people born with terrible diseases or whatever, and they decide that nothing’s going to stop them, and they go make a fabulous career for themselves and get married and are inspirational to people. And I’m sorry that that’s not me. And I get that I have a job, and a place to live, and clean water, and I’m not ungrateful for that. It’s just that this depression and crushing loneliness makes it seem irrelevant.