I’m starting to wonder if there’s something seriously wrong with me. I keep getting lonelier and more depressed, even as I reach out more.
Okay, here’s the basic problem. I’m not sharing my life with anyone. I don’t have a wife or girlfriend or best friend that I connect with on a meaningful level. I’m not close to my family. I have plenty of friends, some of whom I can have good conversations with, but it’s just not enough. And God, as usual, seems far away. That’s all adding up to making life feel kind of pointless.
What am I doing about this? I have a men’s group that meets at my apartment every week. I have a new church where I’m meeting lots of new people. I’ve reached out and started to spend time with some new people one-on-one. I’m spending more time with my mother. I’ve thrown get-togethers at my place. I’ve prayed.
But some of these things are depressing me more. Two nights ago I had folks over for poker, and afterwards I cried because I didn’t feel like I’d connected with anyone. Spending time with groups of people can be either fun or awkward, depending on the people, but afterwards I feel drained and more depressed.
Which brings me to Thanksgiving. I had a couple of invitations, but I hate the idea of being tacked on to someone else’s family. So after a lot of internal debate, I decided to stay home. I knew that staying home alone on Thanksgiving would be depressing, as I am acutely aware that everyone else is gathered together and feeling the warmth of family and friends. But I did the math, and I’m pretty sure that if I’d gone to someone else’s gathering, I would feel even more like someone on the outside looking in, and that afterwards I would end up curled into a ball, worse than if I had simply compartmentalized my sadness and toughed out the day on my own.
Last night a frightening thought occurred to me: what if this is it? What if this is all I have to look forward to? Because I am trying. But either nobody shows up for my movie night, or people do show up, and then I feel worse afterwards. And while I’m enjoying the new friendships I’ve struck up … I’m starting to wonder if I’ve lost the ability to connect in a meaningful way.
In Junior High, my best friend one day told me he didn’t want to be friends anymore. Just dumped me for no reason that he would state or that I could figure out. In High School, one of my closest friends stopped talking to me because she was ashamed of some decisions of her own. And in the past few years, three of my closest friends have abandoned me, not even returning my calls or emails, with no explanation.
I think it’s broken me. I think maybe, as open as I try to be, it’s left me unable to trust or truly feel the warmth of friendship. I haven’t cried with someone in a very long time, because that’s an intimacy that I can’t trust anyone to live up to.
So I’m spiraling deeper into depression. And I don’t know how to fix it.