Depression and Loneliness

Admitting to friends we’re feeling a bit blue, or downright and unutterably depressed is difficult. Verging on impossible.

Confessing that one is lonely is also something that rarely we readily admit to.

Why? Perhaps it’s human nature to want to fit in, to have a connection and be able to communicate with others, to be liked, to be normal (whatever normal is). We don’t want to be whispered about or appear to be a social outcast. We want others to respect us, value our opinions, perhaps even look up to us. And yet that’s rather difficult when we find ourselves as a snivelling wreck clutching a box of Kleenex tissues in the office stationary cupboard.

More and more often I am meeting people here in New York, who are finally admitting that when they first arrived in this city they were lonely and/or depressed. But they didn’t admit it at the time – oh no! Probably in part because they didn’t know anyone well enough to. Even so, it can be lonely even when we’re never actually alone … indeed, even some marriages are lonely.

My funny old life here is very social and yet I still can be lonely. What I yearn for, which of course takes time, is a close friend, a friend who is a real ‘mucker’ as we say in England. Someone whom we can pop round to see at a moment’s notice and doesn’t mind that we have a snivel, a moan, a self pitying wail as we beat ourselves up and then eat them out of tea and biscuits. They listen without rolling their eyes, hand us tissues, give us a big hug and then force us to snap out of our self-flagellation whilst telling us to get a life.

“It takes time and effort,” they say and before we can utter another squeak, have enrolled us in their weekly Ethiopian basket weaving course … We leave hours later, feeling infinitely better yet wondering exactly how we can extricate ourselves from said basket weaving course. Although, it was either going to be that, or Tango lessons at the local church.

It takes courage to admit all is not well.

If we stay silent, nobody knows that we need help. Irritatingly, I’ve discovered to my detriment that telepathy doesn’t work.

What I have discovered is that honesty is as ever the best way forward. Choosing the person carefully and then opening up is half the battle.

What I love about the Americans is how they want to help. If you’re looking for work, they immediately put you in contact with others. If you’re lonely, they invite you into their homes. Their generosity is unbelievable.

I shall be sure to look out for others new to the city and offer them the same kindness I have received.

And, next week I start my french course. French, because according to my husband we have no need for any more shabby chic baskets in delicate shades of taupe and misty sky blue in our apartment, Ethiopian or otherwise.

Wish me luck!

Katie x

19 thoughts on “Depression and Loneliness”

  1. Katie, good to see a new post. I’ve never done anything like move to a new country, so I can’t imagine what it must be like. I wouldn’t be brave enough. I’m quite a loner I’d say, but like it that way really. I have a family, wife and three children so that doesn’t give much time for “aloneness” but I’m sure there are people in a similar situation who can still feel lonely. You’re very courageous. By the way how’s the bread making going?

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    1. Thank you 😊 Ahhhh now the bread making is going very well … thanks for remembering! I have British yeast and Canadian flour and with each batch, am adding a little more US flour. When it starts to turn into a brick again, I’ll add more of the Canadian flour. I’m trying to find the ratio that tastes the best but won’t cost me a fortune. At the moment it’s beautiful … a crusty, smooth top and as light as a feather inside. Absolute heaven when it’s just out and still warm. The butter melts and soaks through it so you just have to eat it really quickly else it dribbles down your chin! Bliss.

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    1. Thanks … I shall work hard at it as it would make any more cycling trips across France infinitely easier being able to speak with more competence! I did rather have to ‘blag’ it most of the time and use my hands to point to things. Day one on the ferry from Plymouth I made the schoolboy error of lifting up the bike by its saddle and I wrenched the darn thing off by a mistake, punching myself in the chin as I did it. I remember finding the repair shop and saying ‘caput’ rather a lot. They were very helpful though!

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  2. Moving to a new city is never easy, I cannot fathom moving to another country! I am wishing you well and hoping that you do find wonderful people to surround yourself with and that close friend and connection. I am sure there is someone around the corner to connect with, after all, there are billions of people on this earth 🙂 My fingers and toes are crossed for you!

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    1. You are so kind … thank you. I’m throwing myself into everything and meeting masses of people, but maybe it’s a woman thing, wanting a close friend? I don’t know. Anyway, I’m not really complaining … it’s a wonderful opportunity to see what it’s really like living in America …. I’ve only ever watched it in the movies (!) and it’s not something that I had ever imagined doing. Thanks so much for your kind words. Katie

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      1. It is natural to want that connection for sure, and it is great you are throwing yourself out there to meet people. It sounds like you have a wonderful adventure happening 🙂

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      2. No, men need this too, probably a lot more since were conditioned to be tough, emotionless, stoic even. Being sensitive, showing emotions, and certainly big boys don’t cry – those attitudes can get you bullied or killed in some countries (never mind if you’re GLBT). Men are sent off to stupid fucking oil wars, too. That’s all hyper- masculine, patriarchal bullshit. Men are victims of the system’s sexism, too, obviously not the same as women.

        So yeah, friendships to counteract both individual loneliness and world war three… Nice work if you can get it, if you can get it, tell me how! If you’re unmarried, but friends are, and not a religious person, joining this Meetup or that class may help, but so far it’s the old friends from college days I miss most.

        Technology may bring us closer, but does it? Really? I have doubts. There are many splendid people here on WordPress, like you, but you can’t hug a computer. Were I in New York or you in Austin, I’d be your mucker any day, Katie. Je veux faire du vélo à travers la France avec toi! Best, ADAB

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      3. Awww that’s so lovely …. thank you. Toi aussi. You know, one of the best things is to hear real men show real emotion. It’s such a relief. Nearly all the men I know, if I ask them something that might evoke an emotional response, I can see the shutters come down and they clam up, laugh it off and avoid it. My upbringing was very upper middle class British. The worst possible kind! Stiff upper lip and all that and all the boys I knew (they too were mostly from the infamous private/public boarding schools) were the same but even worse. Emotions were curbed when we were children and frankly kids were (rarely) seen and certainly not heard. Forgive my rambling … suffice to say, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear your honesty … and yup, I’ll be your mucker too. Any day. Katie

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  3. “What I yearn for, which of course takes time, is a close friend, a friend who is a real ‘mucker’ as we say in England. Someone whom we can pop round to see at a moment’s notice”

    –– I long for the same! I came to a new place in August, and even since 2009 I have not had a friend like this, located in the same place as me. I now have a friend who is quickly becoming one of those :). They are everything.

    I live in England btw :).

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you! I hope that you find yours soon :). It does take time–– but also it can happen very fast, when you click with people :). Actually, all of my long-term friends were made friend quickly. Perhaps it’s actually an inverse relation–– which would make sense xD.

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