Learning to Be Lonely: An Ongoing Life Lesson

The other night I was hanging around at home, waiting for my friend to arrive so we could hang out before we met up with some friends for a night of karaoke. It was the end of a long day of running around for me, and although the day turned out to be really good it had to turn itself on its head before it got there. I was just pulling together some ‘breakfast for dinner’ when my friend called and told me that he was running late. Now I am used to people running late. I mean, I am not infallible; I have run late for events on more than one occasion. It happens! You get caught up in a tv show and lose track of time and then suddenly you realize you were supposed to be somewhere ten minutes ago.

Not actually…I just thought it was funny

For some reason this moment brought me back to my childhood days where I would spend a great deal of time alone. Now if you know me today as a young adult, you are probably going to try and call my bluff. I’m sure that some of you are thinking that there is no way that I could have been a lonely child at times. Based on how I live right now, I would understand that disbelief because I have many friends, and many people seem to believe that I flit from one social gathering to another. (Which, in all honesty is true in some cases).

I have one concrete memory of feeling lonely as a kid where I am lying under my Mom’s Desk (much like a dog would do), and I would lay there as she worked. It seems almost ridiculous, but I know for sure that I would lie on the floor and listen to the tap tap tap of my Mom’s fingers on the keyboard, keeping my ears alert for when she would finally stop tapping and call it quits for the day.

Like a sleeping puppy ❤

It’s not like my parents were mean and neglectful, they were just running their business and making a living, as the majority of parents tend to do. I think I would have spent less time alone if I wasn’t so shy as I needed some prodding to make new friends and put myself out there. Since I have spent so much time alone over the years, I have gotten used to it and I most certainly don’t mind my own company. Sometimes I find I need that time to unwind and relax after spending a lot of time with my friends. When I’m alone I can just focus on my own silent musings and re-charge the motivational self-talk that constantly runs through my head. Without this I feel sucked dry and I’m practically going through life like a friendly Zombie: I’m present but it’s easier to sit quietly and listen than be entirely engaged with my surroundings.

On the other hand, I have also learned that having epilepsy can make me feel very lonely at times. I say this because when I have seizures it can be unsafe for me to leave my house to do the simplest of tasks such as going grocery shopping, visiting a friend, or going to the gym. For me one seizure can be a warning sign of more to come, which is not what you want when you are out and about in your community. The last thing you want is to be carrying your groceries down the street and then WHAM! You hit your head on the pavement by this annoying and unexpected affliction.

The past week has been crazy busy for me, and even though I have enjoyed the social gatherings that I was part of, its a pain in the ass to have seizures as a repercussion of being out late too many nights in a row. I guess the most relatable way of describing it is the day after a heavy night of drinking: a hangover and extreme exhaustion. I guess the loneliness comes into play when I am required to stay at home and there’s no one around to talk to. Despite enjoying my solitary days, it can be tough when you have no choice but to be alone. Plus the prospect of having a seizure and falling on a hard surface or whacking my head makes me a little more than panicky.

This part of having epilepsy sometimes makes me feel angry because I get mad at myself for staying out too late too many nights in a row. It makes me feel like I should I have controlled it better. The idea that I should have ‘controlled’ something makes sense at first, but when you’re looking at something like epilepsy, seizures can be hard to control even when you’re on a good dosage of medication and you eat healthily, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. Sometimes you have to go with the flow of things, which is hard for me because I am trying really hard to get out of this ‘all or nothing’ thinking. When I have a seizure after a long span of no seizures I start to worry that they’re coming back for awhile. (As described in this post https://sitagaia.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/tuning-in-when-the-body-says-enough/ ) I am trying so hard to retrain my brain and think about it one day at a time, but let me tell you it’s flipping hard.

Additionally, I want to see my friends and feel like a ‘normal’ twenty-something year old who can stay out late and doesn’t need to call it a night at 11:30. Anti-Epileptic Drugs often come with a side effect of exhaustion, and I can tell you with certainty that both of my medications cause me to feel tired all the time. I have nick-named myself ‘the old lady’ in fun, but sometimes I do feel old because I feel tired out and exhausted. I see some of my friends working a job, going to classes, doing volunteer work, plus they have an active and bubbling social life. I don’t know how they do it!

I was talking to my boyfriend about this the other day, and he told me that I shouldn’t compare myself to what other people are doing. I guess i don’t give myself the credit I deserve because I always feel like other people are out there doing way more than I am. But if I’m not living other people’s life, how would I know? My boyfriend kindly reminded me that I go extra lengths to take care of myself, work hard at school, and go to the gym more often than anyone he knows. (When I’m having non seizure periods, at least). Hmm I guess he has a good point.

This post wasn’t meant to be a pity party, but more of a way for me to work out my feelings of how I feel about being alone with regards to when it’s by choice and when it’s out of necessity. I guess like many things in life it’s something that I need to keep reflecting on and I need to remember that no one leads the exact same life and has the same experiences so it’s useless to compare yourself to others. Sometimes it’s a hard journey, but I got to remember to not let myself fall back into that hole of despair and look on the bright side of having to stay at home. On that thought, I think I’m going to crawl into bed and watch some tv on my laptop. 😉

Thank you so much for reading! Love you all xox

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