Photo by Hannah Busing, edited with Photoshop by Brittany Stonestreet
I will be the first to admit that I have a difficult time leaving my home except for the necessities. I’m outgoing, but I’m an introvert at heart. I have difficulty attending social events, especially when I don’t know most of the people there.
However, as I’ve said in previous blog posts, we humans were not made to walk life alone.
Isolation can lead to negative impacts on our lives: depression, anxiety, loneliness, etc. We may not even recognize these negatives for what they really are. For me, when I’m struggling with depression, anxiety, and loneliness, I mostly just feel tired. All the time.
I used to not understand what the fatigue was; I just let myself sleep. And then I felt guilty for not finishing any of my projects.
That guilt led to more depression which led me to feeling even more tired.
A relative pointed out the issue of my constant sleeping and asked if maybe I was suffering from depression.
It was like the lights clicked on and I realized she was right.
It wasn’t an immediate fix. But knowing what was happening helped me to mitigate those issues.
I’ve continuously struggled with all of these issues over the years. With the most recent bout, nothing seemed to bring things around. In my casino-resort job, I was constantly ‘on’, behaving with a customer service attitude. As an introvert, this exhausted me. I had some friends, but with pouring so much of my energy out, it became increasingly difficult to function.
Though it’s anxiety-inducing to leave my home to go somewhere new with people I don’t know, when my classmate told me about a church just minutes from my apartment, I knew I needed to check it out.
This past Sunday was my third service. At this church, I’m able to simply be a congregant for the time being. I can worship without any eyes on me. I can also connect with other like-minded and like-faithed people. (I realize that isn’t a real word, but it fits with what I’m trying to say.)
This church also offers community groups, where we gather with fewer people and build deeper bonds.
I’m also in classes where I get to talk with others who are working towards similar life goals.
In addition, I work at Target part-time and have an unpaid internship. With both of these ‘jobs’, I’m surrounded by and come into contact with many different people. In some cases, I still have to be ‘on’, but mostly, I get to interact with people and do my own thing at the same time.
I now find myself more surrounded by people than I’ve ever been before. The great part about my church, classes, and my internship? I get to be myself. I don’t have to be ‘on’, ever. I can be happy or sad. I can be real. It’s amazing.
So what is my point?
My point is that we have to surround ourselves with people. People who accept us for who we are and who don’t expect us to have it all together or all figured out. We need to have people we can turn to when life is going poorly.
I’m not saying you need to be a part of 15 different social groups. You don’t even have to have 15 people in your circle.
I love my family very much, but texting isn’t enough. Even talking on the phone leaves a lot to be desired. I know they’re here for me and want me to succeed. I know they’re watching my back, and that’s a wonderful feeling: to know I’ve got a support system.
But! In my here and now? I needed people.
We need someone in our lives who will support us and who will push us. I know I’m not the best version of me. Yet. But I have people who see me for who I am and constantly push me to be better.
You deserve that too.
Don’t hide in isolation because previous friendships have crashed and burned. Those relationships may have ended, but you’re still amazing and deserve to be surrounded by people who care about you!
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