Living alone often can amplify the negative voices in our head because we have no one to counter them. Our feelings of discouragement, sadness, or incompleteness may overcome us at times. Being honest about our struggles isn’t always easy, especially if we already feel alone and unwanted. It may be difficult to believe that we are capable of change or that our lives will improve. We may be afraid to admit to someone else what is going on because we fear judgement, when in reality; the people around us already know something isn’t quite right. They may not know how to tell us, or they have tried to tell us and we couldn’t get what they were saying. We thought—you don’t know how lonely I am, you don’t know what it is like to not have that special person, you don’t know….fill in the blank.
As a survivor of sexual abuse and a childhood filled with fear, my life was distorted by what I could not process or understand as a child. I grew up feeling invisible, unwanted, and in constant fear of being abandoned. These things twisted my thinking as an adult and led me to make poor decisions in my attempt to be seen and loved. Those decisions left me in a pain that led to depression and to the abuse alcohol and drugs to numb the pain. It was a hideous cycle designed by me to cope with that which I could not understand. And when I became single again, I felt more alone and more unable to make good decisions for myself. I was vulnerable to the suggestions of others I trusted in the hopes they might see me, respect me, and love me. What I really needed was guidance to heal and mature; not another quick fix.
I found real escape from my pain and depression in a few critical ways. I hung on to my faith and a belief that at least God would never abandon me. I showed up for church even when I felt out-of-place. I prayed for change. I sought out and found a wonderful counselor who helped me to acknowledge the root of my pain. I spent a few incredible weeks at The Meadows learning that God did love me, I could love me, and that I was capable of changing my story if I was willing to commit to change.
By the grace of God, my life today is different. I no longer look for destructive relationships. I actually now avoid them, and not just the romantic ones! I no longer need anything to numb my pain. Instead I turn to prayer and I share my pain with another who will encourage and pray for me. I live with more joy than I ever thought possible. I renewed my faith in the rooms of Celebrate Recovery. I changed the people I have as friends and I reach out to others I see struggling that they will not feel so alone.
I am ok with me and being ok with me makes me ok with others.
My transformation journey is far from over. I still have to recover from some of the damage I have done to myself and to others. I have a lot of years ahead of me and I want to live them in the world. I won’t be doing it alone anymore, even though I don’t have a spouse or a partner. I still call upon professionals for help when I need it. Mostly, I am living, just living every day and expecting it to be whatever it will be!
I hope that if any of this sounds familiar, you will pick up the phone and call a friend for help or call a professional for an appointment. Seek out a recovery 12-step program or other support group that might help you learn about your situation. Don’t live under the cloud another day. Tell the lies in your head they are no longer welcome. Feed your mind positive messages every day. I use the Bible and other daily devotionals whose words have encouraged me when I begin to think I am worthless. You, my friend, are created by God and loved by him. Believe that first and the rest will come. Be willing to accept that he wants more for you and he will guide you toward healing.
“Through each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life…Why am I so discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God? I will praise him again—my savior and my God.“ Psalm 42