The difference between solitude and isolation: Loneliness vs inner growth

I am a person who needs a lot of time to myself. It’s not that I don’t enjoy being around people, I really do. But I am naturally introverted and find being around large groups of people (or even just one person sometimes) for too long, a bit draining. I pour a lot of energy into people when I am around them and am very sensitive to the atmosphere in a room and the group dynamics. I find it exhausting sometimes. So after spending too long running around trying to please everyone, I can reach a stage of feeling burned out. Mainly because I seem to do things in extremes. So every now and then I need to retreat and recharge my batteries and gather my own thoughts. I become far too easily distracted, so unfortunately the only way to really focus on myself sometimes, is to remove myself for a little while.

The problem was, the whole being alone thing never really worked well for me. Because I actively disliked myself. I didn’t use the time to be productive or to do what I wanted or needed to do. Instead I let myself feel guilty and worthless for not being around for other people, or not making enough progress, and all that time was wasted torturing myself with negative thoughts and my own self-hatred. So instead of giving myself some head-space and achieving some balance in my life, this would lead to me overthinking and fueling my paranoia. The only results it ever produced were to send me further over the edge.

This time wasn’t any different, in the beginning. However, something changed. For the first time I feel like I am taking something away from my inner reflection. I now understand the difference between isolation and solitude. The difference between being alone and feeling alone. What started out as me isolating myself, due to feelings of inadequacy, has surprisingly lead to me discovering a whole new sense of independence and self-sufficiency.

No longer do I crave the understanding and support of others. No longer do I base my self- worth on how ‘useful’ I can be to others.

At first I was hiding, shutting out negative experiences, settings and emotions I did not want to deal with. I was so worried about what people thought of me and of drawing any attention to myself.

I’m not sure how exactly it happened, but somehow I have learned to be entirely content in my own company. To the point where I do not feel lonely. In fact, sometimes I have to give myself a little push to go interact with people, and not because of anxiety, but because I am learning to enjoy my time my myself. To really use it. I do not need to escape from myself quite so much.

I’m appreciating the time I have to myself. Instead of using it to mindlessly scroll through different forms of social media (although I do still manage to find way too much time to do that, despite me deactivating the majority of my accounts), I am spending time making things, gathering old photos, taking new ones, going on nature walks, reading and studying up on the things that are important to me. I had gotten to a stage where so many aspects of modern society did not appeal to me. Much of it I found practically unbearable. I get sick of small talk, and gossip and listening to people talk about things that don’t have meaning to me. The only way to tackle this and make life more bearable was to stop complaining and allowing myself to get angry and frustrated and feel lonely. And instead focus on the things that add meaning to my life and keep me sane. I got sick of being resentful and bitter. Positivity is an important thing. I would never want to spread negativity towards others just because they don’t view the world the way I do. That is not the kind of person I want to be. I have a terrible temper and can carry a lot of quiet built up rage that can be very destructive to the unfortunate person, or people who happen to be around when I reach boiling point. The only thing I can really do is work on myself. There is no point in always trying to be there for everyone if it leads to you neglecting your own needs and feeling resentful, thus sending out negativity. That is helpful to nobody, least of all yourself.

Instead of berating myself for feeling different, or allowing my differences to make me feel lonely, I have learned to accept them. That’s the key thing here. Realising that it’s OK to just be you. You’re not hurting anyone by being yourself. People may not always agree with you, or your way of life, but it’s YOUR life, and it’s not up to them to decide, or to take offense.

Sometimes I find my idealism embarrassing. I find my writing embarrassing. It’s a vulnerability. But it’s one of the ways that I express myself. It’s what makes me me. And I don’t need everyone to approve of me or like me. Because I am starting to like myself. And that changed everything. I don’t need to seek that elsewhere. I don’t feel the need to overcompensate for my lack of self esteem. My insecurities still exist and bog me down, I’m just learning to deal with them without implicating others in my self-destruction.

It’s no longer about who I am, or what I look like. It’s about how I feel and what I think about and what I see in the world. I may not think I’m all that special, But the universe is so full of magic, that I would be foolish not to take the time to explore it. I owe it to the world and it’s beauty, to step back and admire it and appreciate it. I am thankful to be a part of something so beautiful, and I intend on soaking up as much of it as possible while I can.

Instead of constantly dwelling on the things that I don’t like and the things that hurt me, I’m realising how important it is to be grateful and to pay attention to the things and people who have made my world so wonderful. If you have ever just stopped and looked at the sun shining through the trees or the birds flying through the sky or felt a warm glow from the friendly smile of a stranger walking by, then you will understand the little miracles I am speaking of. They are always there. We just need to take the time to notice them. To really see, hear and feel the world around us. Being alone with the world does not have to mean feeling alone. Sometimes the moments that we cannot capture, or explain, or share with others are the most important. There is something precious and sacred about allowing yourself to be silent and still and marvel at the world around you. It is empowering somehow. We are all a part of the universe and the universe is a part of all of us. We are made of the very same atoms. It’s important to understand the connection we have with the world and one another. But first we must connect with ourselves.


For the first time

I’m starting to believe

In the possibility

Of recovery


It never comes easily

But there’s only so much

You can bleed


I had to make a choice

Between life or death

Happiness or misery

And I know

It will be worth it

There’s something out there

Waiting for me


Don’t try to drag me down

Just because

You’re used to seeing me on the ground

I picked myself back up

I’m standing tall

And I’m going to stick around


My destiny awaits

And for once, I’m not afraid

I’ve made my choices

And the rest is up to fate


I’ve spent my life

Fighting just to live

I’m ready to forget

And forgive

And though the memories may last

The girl I was is in the past


I’m taking responsibility

Now that I can see the wood for the trees


It’s all a matter of perspective

Realising what’s subjective

I took my time to be reflective

And recovery is my objective

Depression Confessions

(I wrote this blog entry over a year ago on my last page in case anyone is wondering. Reposting because it is still relevant. I deleted my site when I went through an extremely rough patch, which ended with me removing all traces of my existence from social media and a stint in hospital, but more on that another time.)

This is something that I have meaning to do for quite a while and has only been seeming more and more urgent lately. I have witnessed so many people deeply affected by anxiety, depression and poor self esteem and mental health. I have seen it in their words, their eyes, their actions, their smiles and their “jokes”. Most of all, I feel it. A sense of desperation and hopelessness, of feeling confused, lost and maybe broken. There have been so many alarm bells going off in my head, some louder than others. Some barely a whisper, but all with the potential to end in terrible tragedy. Suicide rates are on the rise yet we never really see them coming, no matter how many signs are right in front of us.

I recently saw what seems like the worst possible solution occur to someone who was a bright light in so many people’s lives and a close and treasured friend to many of my friends. She was always the loudest person in the room, who touched every single person they met and whose jokes and stories will never be forgotten… suffer in such a way.It was not something that could have been foreseen or perhaps just the darkest nightmare you could ever even bring yourself to imagine. It is an unthinkable tragedy for the world to lose such a wonderful person in such a way.

We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others and wrapped up in our own lives that we cannot imagine that somebody could be going through this. We can look at people and see how amazing and inspiring they are and think that they are safe from the misery that can beset us all.  I understand that this is all very sensitive material and some people reading this will have experienced this or something similar in recent times and that you may find it extremely hard to digest this but unfortunately there is no right time to discuss this. There are people suffering everywhere, every day and if there’s anything I can say or do to help that I will. Some people show the signs of poor mental health/depression more than others, some people show them occasionally and others never at all. There are people who radiate beauty and happiness but even those people are not immune. There are people who manage to smile through their sadness and find joy and laughter in the most ridiculous things and who spread that joy to all those around them. This is a wonderful thing and a gift but is not always sustainable in the long-term. No matter how many people love or care about you, its not always enough if you don’t love or care about yourself.

No matter how important or special you are in the eyes of others, if you have no self worth you can feel like nothing. Like an imposter walking the earth, stealing a life and the opportunity for happiness, love and success. Like wasted potential or no potential at all, a wasted body and mind. Like you were never meant for this earth. As if your very existence is a burden on all those around you. Because they have grown to care for you, this shell of a person and even if you feel they don’t care your existence impacts them in some way, maybe in the worst way possible, in your mind. Maybe you have thought about ending it all but you haven’t been able to bring yourself to do it because you know it will hurt people and damage them, even the people who might despise you. You want to stop existing, but you can’t because you do exist and people will notice if you disappear. Or maybe you are so absorbed in these thoughts you can’t even see past yourself. Maybe you know you are not going to take action but you think..well if I get hit by a bus or become terminally ill, then that’s ok. You simply want to click your fingers and disappear without leaving a trace.Sometimes you may have thought about it so much, that despite knowing it would be an awful thing for people to witness, you believe that ultimately it will be the best thing and will have a positive impact in the long-term. People will move on and forget about you, maybe joke about what a strange disaster of a human you always were, they will grow closer together and support each other and take care of their own mental health because nobody wants to be the crazy mess that you were. They will be a bit sad for a little while but ultimately it will solve all their problems. Maybe you can leave your loved ones with every piece of happiness you ever felt, every piece of your heart and soul so that everyone can be happy, because after all their happiness is more important than your own.

WELL, STOP. (if the above sounded completely overly dramatic to you, then that’s probably a really good thing. If not then it’s time to keep an eye on those feelings and take position action) I am not simply saying the above to be negative and morbid.. the most important part of this is that you are NOT ALONE ☆ and these thoughts ARE NOT THE TRUTH. I am just wishing and hoping and praying and BEGGING that anyone who has these feelings, whether it is just for a short period of time or if they have always been there PLEASE, for the love of God talk to someone or do something for yourself to make yourself feel better. YOU ARE NOT A WASTE OF SPACE. YOU ARE HERE FOR A REASON. We all have a spark in us, if only we could see it. It is a spark of pure light that lives inside us, fighting to be given the chance to shine. ¤☆¤

Maybe you’ve done things you’re not proud of, maybe you feel guilty for every bad thing you’ve ever said or done to hurt people and replay every humiliating moment you have ever experienced in your head. Maybe you have been hurt, traumatised and damaged so deeply that you blame yourself for things that are out of your control. There is so much stigma around mental health and suicide and such a lack of understanding that it is often referred to as “selfish” or compared unfavourably to terminal illnesses as a “choice”. Yes a person can choose to end their lives, but they did not choose to feel that way. They did not ask for their brains to be haunted by such thoughts and it is not something that should be natural for any human being to even consider. As for the selfish thing, I understand how it could be seen as an easy way out, while leaving everyone else in complete turmoil but there is rarely rational thinking involved.

You might never understand or believe the utter devastation you will leave behind you. The guilt, the regret, the confusion, the heartache. Rooms of people crying and mourning. All the questions and no answers. No solutions. The person will usually think they are doing something selfless by ridding the world of the “burden” that they are. They couldn’t be more wrong, let me tell you that from the bottom of my heart. Your death will devastate more than you could ever imagine. You are so loved.

This is not even the tip of the iceberg and won’t relate to everyone who suffers or has suffered from depression as we all experience it differently but the feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness are the same. If you have can relate to this at all please seek help. At this point I will strongly suggest that you may need professional help.

I know this because I have felt like this my whole life. It can plague your mind like poison, like voices whispering in your ears telling you that you don’t deserve to be here. Like demons that haunt you, they are always deep in the back of your mind, but every now and then they will attack you. You feel you don’t deserve to be loved or to truly experience life because you were never meant to be here. I myself after 21 years, (that have felt like 100) am just beginning to seek help. It is a difficult thing to come to terms with when it is so at odds with the other aspects of your personality. Your happiness, your laughter, your sense of humour, wonder, love and hope IS NOT A LIE. DEPRESSION IS A LIE. YOU ARE NOT YOUR ILLNESS. I absolutely do not want anyone to feel concern or sympathy for me or commend me for my words because they are not just my words to say. This is a message that belongs to so many people and could relate to anyone, anywhere at any time. Hopefully someone, somewhere, even one person, might see this and decide to seek help. This is not something I ever wanted to discuss or put my name to for fear of raising concernsbBut I am going to put my pride aside and forget about the bullshit and constraints of society for just a moment. Because none of that really matters. When someone’s life and well-being is at risk, everything else pales in comparison. You start to see what is truly important. Isn’t it a pity that we can’t always do the same for ourselves? I am aware, that for some people, I am not someone who they could ever imagine being affected by depression and that’s why this is important. It could be anyone. And I don’t want to wait for myself or anybody else to hit rock bottom in order to say this, because that is not a place I ever want to be or to see anyone else and there’s no knowing when/if/how you will get back up. It may be seem ironic or hypocritical of me to preach to others in my current position but I’m preaching to myself too and it’s working. Yeah I find it hard to exist sometimes and feel like a walking zombie most of the time but sometimes all you need to get you through the day is one moment of clarity or one happy thought.

It’s going to take time and it’s going to be a struggle but if you are patient you will reach that light at the end of the tunnel. It’s irritating reading this stuff when you’re in a bad place, you just think ” f**k off, you haven’t a clue how I feel”. And nobody can know exactly how you feel except you but you alone also have the power to change that and turn your life around. It’s never too late. Depression and mental health disorders are not always easy to diagnose and just because you have been managing so far and have not seen a professional or have been labelled as having depression, do not fool yourself into thinking that these feelings do not matter or that you are fine. Its okay not be okay but its not okay to ignore those feelings. They will rise to the surface at some point and more the build up, the worse the effects. Whether I am a close friend, a stranger or that annoying-bitch-blocking-up- your-newsfeed-that-you-are-only- friends-with-for-entertainment, I hope that you can not see me, but simply see and hear this message as horribly worded and morbid as it seems (hopefully there is sense in there somewhere). People can try and try to make you realise how important you are but at the end of the day YOU need to realise it yourself. Don’t let things get to a point where you feel like this, if you can help it. PLEASE SEEK HELP. There are a million different forms of therapy and you will find one to suit you. Don’t let a lack of funds get in the way of your health, inside seek any available supports. There are free helplines such as Samaritans 1850609090, Aware 016617211 and National Counselling Service 1800234112. There are also websites where you can find information and support such , and if you are a student attending university, seek information as there will usually be a counsellor available there which should be free in most cases.

No person is invincible as difficult as that is to admit to yourself. Take care of yourselves, please listen to your inner hopes and dreams and try to be happy. And maybe if you can, try not to roll your eyes or laugh at that “Negative Nancy” or friend or stranger who is acting a little bizarre. We have all been guilty of doing that at some point, maybe without realising it. But it could be you someday. I apologise to anyone who has actually read this whole thing and is feeling disheartened. Please don’t. There is so much more to say but this is only the beginning. ☆ If you are having the worst day or feel like you are, try taking some

time out or finding something to relax you. Maybe its a song, a movie, spending time with a pet or dear one. Maybe you want to indulge in a treat or some pampering. Perhaps you want to watch a video of a cat playing the tambourine or a singing potato. Maybe you want to paint a picture, go for a walk or simply hug someone. No matter how bad you feel, don’t ever punish yourself for laughing or smiling. To find something to laugh or smile about, even in the darkest of times, is the greatest gift you can give yourself and others. I solemnly swear to get better and I hope you will too. Maybe this is just another annoying essay about mental health but I would regret it for the rest of my life if I never did this or opened up. I can’t bear to see anyone in such misery and to suffer in silence.

It’s an awful pity, a disgrace even, that mental health isn’t recognised the same way as physical health and is ignored. You probably wouldn’t ignore a heart attack so why are you ignoring these attacks on your mind? However things are slowwwly starting to change. And although the world can seem such a cruel place to live in, it can also be a wonderful, beautiful, miraculous place if we remember what’s truly important and support one another. One person may not be able to change the world, but we can all make an impact, however miniscule it may seem and if we come together, who knows what amazing, incredible things might happen. A smile a day keeps the depression at bay ☆★☆★☆★☆]]>