The Dark Side Of Stress – Loneliness

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“Children” by Unsplash

If you are under severe stress, be that at work, at home, in a manipulative relationship / friendship / co-worker / etc., pay good attention to the possible outcome if you do not act now and find ways to cut the ties on what is killing you inside.

Once the stress had broken me down, solitude became my way of being, for auditory stimuli of innocent proportions grew to a tortorous experience. Since then, small talk, most sounds and noises will, after around an hour of exposure to more than two sources of sounds, kick-start a chain reaction that usually takes place in this particular order:

  • A burst of mental clarity. I can suddenly hear people touch their clothing in loud bars. Colours become much sharper and more vivid. Most light leaves a trail, like when you look into bright lights in the dark or when the sun burns a red / blue circle into our eyes.
  • A second burst of clarity, then often a third. These bursts of clarity happen over 15-30 minutes time I think.
  • A temporary and very high frequency tinnitus.
  • Slight hallucinations, the world becomes a bit smaller and further away.
  • Neurotic shocks and hands shaking. People find it funny, until I look at them as if they deserve to die. Sometimes I just give them the finger to explain.
  • Muscles become softer and I have a hard time walking.
  • Problems holding myself up and I have to sit down to prevent falling down.
  • Insane pulse rates and I feel like I’m being choked as the blood rushes up to my head, making me dizzy.
  • Panic attack like breathing problems and sometimes I have to breathe intentionally to keep it going.
  • Blackout. (Fortunately not very common, because my body me down before it’s possible.)
  •  Uncontrollable tremors and shaking on the floor, often accompanied by crying for no good reason. (In the past, I used to pass this phase in public bathrooms, before I realized this was not normal.)

To avoid this taking place every day, I spend most of my days alone, or with headphones on when in public, listening to music, to block out external stimuli. If I choose to attend events such as child birthdays, parties or concerts, I am aware that for each hour over the limit, I will be spending around a whole day like a zombie, forcing myself to do a tiny bit of grocery shopping or at least just get some fresh air, even though the consequences can be harsh “panic-like attacks” in the store, often while trying to pay.

My only real goal in life at this point, is to be able to spend time with my kid, even if it’s just an hour or two. I don’t care if its harsh walking back home or if I have to choose specific paths so I won’t be crossing a street without the cognitive energy to register traffic. I have accepted that I may be run over by a car on any given day after spending the little energy I have on my most important one. We’ll do anything for our kids I guess.

(I have been faced with rejection of these symptoms, by an army of medical, rehab and unemployment-benefits professionals of different statures for the past three years, but continue looking for help, hoping that one day I’ll meet a doctor that will take this seriously. Just changed doctors again to try and get some process started. If you are a man, do NOT waste your life on female doctors that have radical feminist tendencies or old school males that think you’re just complaining to get attention. You have been warned.)

I cannot express how much I feel for PTSD sufferers, especially soldiers and severe abuse victims. As with most of my problems, I have been privileged enough to enjoy a much easier version of stress than some of our siblings face every day and every night.

tan-son-nhut-1159701_640At first, it wasn’t so bad playing XBox all day long, or just listening to music, watching films or playing my guitar, but I seem to have passed some limit of isolation and now to the point that the inner hollowness feels life threatening. When this extreme feeling of lonliness comes over me, it feels like I’m literally dying.

This is very unlike being suicidal, at least for me. I have no desire to kill myself anymore nor in moments like these for that matter, it just feels sometimes, that if I were to fall asleep, I wouldn’t wake up again, and I have somehow accepted it and actually expect to pass in a few years time if things don’t change. When I googled “isolation can kill you,” to see if I was on to something, it turned out that social isolation is as lethal as obesity and as unhealthy as cigarettes and alcoholism. More dangerous than Marijuana.

“LONELINESS is as big a killer as obesity and as dangerous to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to a study of three million people.” – http://www.express.co.uk/

Now, I’m not afraid of many things and it doesn’t make me afraid reading the linked story from  express.co.uk. I don’t see dying as a big issue, what bothers me more is how my closed ones would feel, if I were to suddenly drop dead without any medical explanation. Not to forget our most important reason to exist, parental responsibility.

My current social problem, is that I made the mistake of seeking social refuge amongst people who party a lot and thereby choose to have no control over their own issues. We do indeed become mirrors of our souls and our souls become mirrors of the souls we spend the most time with.

Phasing out a destructive network, is a painful task and it requires us to visit positive places regularly and get over the fact that our old destructive network will transmute into a “historical artifact.”

party-frogs-1655904_640Despite being in a severe depression at the time of writing this article, I’m actually optimistic about the future. I’m already getting back to the lifestyle I’ve used successfully to eradicate depression from my life, so I know it’s just a matter of weeks before this situation begins turning around towards joy and contentment.

I have acquired a membership in a fantastic gym, with access to a swimming pool and the lobby there is like a hotel from the 1950’s. They even got vinyl records in there and because it’s impossible to inspire my party network to meet in other places, I see no other option than replacing them with new acquaintances. We don’t make many true friends down town on Saturday nights.

This is a good move in itself, because the attitudes of people who work out regularly, as opposed to people that hang out in places where alcohol is sold, well, that one is self-explanatory. Some people prefer to win, others to lose, and neither is wrong in my opinion.

What to do if people don’t get your situation and keep asking you to stay a bit longer with encouragements like; “But I spent 5 hours making this dinner and bla bla bla, please don’t go, we love having you around.” “Dude, you just arrived, it’s impolite to make an introduction and then just leave.”

brain-1841528_640I simply explain that I have a brain damage of some sorts and explain the symptoms that follow if I don’t make a run for it the minute I get a burst of clarity and/or begin feeling funny in the brain. If people still insist and the connection isn’t THAT important, say if it’s people at the bar, I either just split without a good bye and accept being “a jerk” or even resort to hostility to have myself disliked and disposable by the person/s. Some connections I simply delete and keep a poker face from that point on, for the sake of my reputation.

I feel the obligation to share my story because social isolation is still a taboo and not many people seem to dare explaining that they are constantly lonely, also around other people. I also have an incredibly hard time maintaining eye contact while talking, because my mind drifts away and it takes quite the effort to be an active listener. I actually don’t care much what most people think of me, because we don’t connect that deeply in our lives, with more than a handful of people who will be there 100% when life hits the gutter for real.

If you feel alone, you are far from being the only one.

The article I linked to above, about the study on three million people, should be an encouragement to realize that you are far from alone. Via the power of the internet, we can share information to raise awareness, to share tips and tricks and to create “social” networks for support and what has worked for different people in different situations.

I wish you the very best and hope you find ways to turn your situation around and if you know about people who spend a great deal of time by themselves, share this article and let’s gather in killing those horrible emotional, mental and spiritual battlefields, we so often think we are and think we should be fighting alone.

Hölli.

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