How I coped with loneliness
There are many instances in my life where I have had to cope with loneliness and I feel like much of this community goes through periods of loneliness as well. Feeling lonely can be difficult to deal with and can often lead to depression if not handled appropriately. That's definitely something I've gone through.
Something to remember when you're experiencing loneliness is that is doesn't have to last forever. Very often loneliness can ruin your mood and lead to catastrophizing your situation. Going to a new school and having no friends, moving to a new city and leaving your friends and family behind. Having current friends and family move away. For me, my worst periods of loneliness have come after these types of big life transitions.
When I first moved to San Francisco I did not know anyone. In Miami I was very social engaged almost everyday with my friends or family. Then suddenly I gave all that up for a new job and moved to the opposite side of the country. My Fridays changed from happy hours at the Wharf to being completely alone in a crappy subleased apartment. My Saturdays changed from college football with friends to being completely alone in a city I didn't know. My sundays changed from Church with my family to not having anyone to talk to.
I felt isolated. lonely, and just plain sad. I knew to cope with these feelings I needed to keep my mind occupied. Before I started work, I challenged myself to get out of the apartment before 9 each day and to not go back until the sun went down. For that first week after I moved I feel like I explored every inch of SF. I was walking around 40,000 steps a day, seeing parks, beaches, cafes, museums, cliffs, hiking trails, and even the bad parts of SF which gave me a lot of perspective on my situation in life. Although I was completely alone, I was keeping myself busy which did help. On weekends I went out by myself. I didn't know where to go or what to do exactly, but I knew staying in my crappy apartment by myself would not help my mental state. I would google nice bars in my area and sit there by myself and talk to bartenders. I learned a lot about Mezcal and found that bartenders can actually be really interesting to talk to. Although I was completely alone, being out of the apartment on weekend nights helped me cope with my loneliness.
I also attribute a lot to Equinox. It's definitely expensive but it helped me get through a bit of a depression. When I felt particularly isolated and depressed about not having made any friends, Equinox was always my escape. The greeters and regulars were always great to be around. I really believe working out can help get you through periods of bad mental health and obviously helps your physical health.
I also picked up some new hobbies. I walked into a Lamy store and found that fountain pens are actually really interesting and collectable. I do a lot of writing now everyday. I got into some new shows and movies. I watched all of the Sopranos, Succession, Barry, and Peaky Blinders. I would do anything to keep my mind occupied.
Of course despite my best efforts there are still times when I'll be sitting at the cliffs at Lands End and realize I'm still pretty lonely. I miss my friends and family. I miss doing all the old things I used to do. But do realize there is so much support out there. There are people who care about you. Reach out to your friends because you'd be surprised to realize they might be feeling lonely too.