Loneliness after trauma

When talking about loneliness we probably think of older people who are on their own, but we don’t usually think about younger people being lonely. I think I’ve spent most of my life feeling alone no matter how many people are around me, but there have been periods of my life where I’ve been physically very isolated too. Sometimes it feels like I’m trapped in a bubble. I can’t get out and no-one else can get in. Sometimes I am physically hiding in my flat with no-one around, and at times that has lasted months. I am too good at cutting myself off from the world. I have to make a constant effort not to do it, but a lot of the time all I want to do is hide. Someone once told me it was as if I was trying to disappear.

I can get so lost inside my own head that I forget there is a world outside of that pain and trauma. I lose all sense of hope. Everything just becomes too much to deal with. Sounds are too loud. Lights are too bright. People are too much of a reminder of all of the bad memories in my head. Nothing is good. People are all manipulative. Out to get me. Trying to hurt me. And I get so angry, bitter and resentful. I can’t see past it. But I can also just sit there for hours staring into space, feeling nothing except a empty void within me. Luckily this doesn’t seem to last as long as it once did. At times it has lasted months at a time. I saw no-one, spoke to no-one and didn’t leave my front door for months. I did still see was my mum but when she came to see me it was painful to try and talk out loud or to try and listen to someone else’s voice. I was lost and she couldn’t reach me.

In recent years I have managed to pull myself back into the present world much of the time, but there is still a constant pull trying to take me back somewhere else. I work hard every day to keep bringing myself back to the present. But it is exhausting. And lonely. I remember vividly one of the first times I truly felt like I was part of the world. It was a few years ago and I was out for a walk. It was as if I could suddenly see everything properly for the first time. Everything seemed brighter and real. I can’t really describe the feeling I had, other than it was as if I was awake for the first time. When I got my dog and we went walking at the beach or in the woods, I had the same feeling. Realising that the world is so big, and I am so irrelevant. Maybe that would make other people feel more lonely, but that feeling brings me back into the world and outside of my own head.

The reason I am writing this is because I have felt very alone recently. When I stopped going out drinking I lost a huge part of my life, where my whole social life was connected to. I don’t have many people in my life now, and the ones I do have I never see. I still isolate myself and I’m scared of getting close to anyone. I have had to get used to my own company since I spend the majority of the time on my own, but it is difficult not to get lost again. I try to stay connected, but I have a strong pull inside me to hide and isolate myself. I don’t think I even have control over it. It is so ingrained within me that it is just my natural reaction to anything. I get overwhelmed when people reach out to me. I am terrified of how it feels to be vulnerable around people. I am scared to trust.

I still hide so much of my life from other people. I am an expert in avoidance. I constantly crave having things to do so I don’t have to think about or deal with any of this. I try to throw myself into uni or jobs so that I can live there instead of the lonely reality of my life or in my head. I don’t really know how to change it. I don’t know how to allow myself a life with other people in it. I don’t know how not to hide. Will I ever be ready to trust?

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