You’re Not the Only One (And That’s a Good Thing)

Don’t you think that you need somebody?
Don’t you think that you need someone?
Everybody needs somebody
You’re not the only one

Guns N’ Roses – November Rain

Loneliness – the dreadful, gnawing sense of abandonment and despair that comes from knowing that no one in the world suffers as you do – can be devastating. Worse still, you often feel as though you deserve it, because you’re somehow less than other people – less capable, less valid, less … human.

I used to feel this way a lot. I still do, sometimes, although as I’ve gotten older and weathered the storms of depression I’ve learned that even despair passes with time, and that even the loneliest among us aren’t really alone. It doesn’t change the feeling itself – in the moment, when the black closes in around you, you know beyond any doubt that you are utterly, completely alone.

It isn’t true, though. Not really.

Humans, by nature, need companionship. We crave it. We want it with every fiber of our being, and yet … sometimes we reject it. Sometimes, even when a friend comes knocking, we fail to answer the door. When a hand reaches out in the dark, we see it – and turn the other way.

Many of us … struggle with feeling valid. [But] it’s possible to be wrong.

I used to wonder about this. I used to think that loneliness could be a kind of strength, a measure of how deep my depression ran. That, somehow, being alone meant I was validated in my despair, that it was … okay, I guess, to feel so miserable. And I would see overtures from friends and family, and I would actively push them away, driving them off like rats with a stick.

I used to wonder why I was like this. Why on earth did I reject others’ attempts to help me? Why did I want to be alone?

The answer, I believe, lies in the belief of self-worth. Many of us, especially here on this blog, struggle with feeling valid, with believing that we’re worth something. Something deep inside triggers us into feeling that, no matter what, we don’t deserve the love of friends, family, colleagues … that, simply put, we aren’t worth the effort.

I know this feeling all too well. It once was bad enough that I remember thinking that I was punishing the world simply by being alive – that the air I was breathing would be better suited to someone else. I wanted to die, not only because of the depth of my misery, but because it somehow felt that it would be fairer to those around me to just not have to worry about me anymore.

But here’s what I’ve learned over the years. What you feel doesn’t change how others feel. Your beliefs don’t affect those of the people around you. And it’s possible to be wrong.

You see, from the moment you’re born to the moment you die, there are people who care about you. And the don’t care because they must – they care because they want to. There are, of course, varying levels of care, based on the feelings of sadness and hurt when you suffer, but there are so many, many more people in the world that care about you than you know.

Because every single word you utter, every sentence you type, every glance you give, affects the people you know – and sometimes the people you don’t. I don’t know you – we’ve never met – but I care. James here at The Bipolar Writer cares – for crying out loud, he’s even offered his phone number publicly! And believe me that the people who do know you care even more.

I attended a funeral last year for a friend of mine. If I’m honest (I hope he forgives me), he was no one special. He didn’t write books; he didn’t make movies. He wasn’t famous. Sometimes he was depressed; sometimes he didn’t want to carry on, especially towards the end. But he did; he powered through his cancer until the bitter end, because he wasn’t alone. And nowhere was this more evident than at the outpouring of love at his funeral. Yes, there were tears – but more than that, there were laughs, and good memories, and a sense of companionship between the rest of us who live: brought together by one person.

So what I’m trying to say here is simple: you’re not the only one to suffer. And you aren’t alone in your suffering. Every one of us here at The Bipolar Writer has, in one fashion or another, been in your shoes; we know what it’s like. We care. So do many. And the community James has built here should help you understand this simple idea:

You aren’t alone.

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12 Replies to “You’re Not the Only One (And That’s a Good Thing)”

  1. What an awesome message! I know how isolating it can be to deal with all this. It sometimes seems as though no one and nothing can ever help us. You are right, though, about people caring. I have been blessed to have a loving, supportive family and I’m thankful for that. My prayer for everyone struggling with mental illness is that they would know that they’re not alone and find the help that they need. We don’t have to suffer in solitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the read. I wonder sometimes if that “self esteem” issue is really just a version of shame that we don’t want other people to see in us, so we turn people away. Underneath every irrational decision is usually emotion lurking from the past reminding us of toxic messages we have picked up along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to push people away when I was depressed because I felt ugly. I only wanted to be seen when I was confident–I wanted to be adored and envied. I didn’t want pity! Then.. I meet my husband. I have never wanted him to go away no matter my mood and he has stuck by me thick and thin. He was seen every side of me and some of my sides are not pretty. Keep up the good work, I enjoyed this piece. Take a look at my blog, if you haven’t already and let me know what you think. I love to meet people who understand ‘the struggle’.

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  4. Heartfelt and so true!!… Way to be CM North… We all care for one another especially if we’ve experienced the lowest of lows and come back up for air… We cheer one another on and yes, no one is alone in what they suffer if we come together to support one another… For everyone suffers at some point or points in there life as with mental illness being often cyclical time and again, though some more than others. Let’s keep lifting one another up with our stories through the trials and triumphs and through the failures and freedoms won along the journey… Every single person is valuable and worthwhile so keep fighting and overcoming… James and all involved here, I appreciate the caring community being created to continue compassions response touching lives so desperate to know they are not alone…

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  5. I kinda agree with what you said but can’t 100% agree coz when i was there i had people pushing even more down, and guess what i learned? to have Faith in God coz connecting with people is temporary they die or they leave and the beautiful thing about God is that he doesn’t, i believe that coming out of depression you either come faithful or faithless

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