Incredible loneliness and depression


#1

Basically my life is in a state of great despair and depression.

For one, I've been going through a period of intense loneliness to the point that I'm questioning if my friends even know I still exist (or if they even care)...this includes both my religious and secular friends.

On top of this literally almost everyone I know my age is dating or getting engaged (including a girl I was deeply attracted to for a long time but who didn't return the sentiment...although we're still friends). Me being single and having the worst track record with women leaves me feeling utterly hopeless and depressed. I struggle to be happy for my female friend considering we didn't "work out" and I have to witness it on a regular basis since we attend the same parish and school.

On top of that I don't (and never have) fully related with either of my two groups of friends either because they don't share my faith or don't share what's important to me in addition to my faith. I've always felt like an outcast in both groups. I sometimes don't even feel welcome.

At times like this I wish I had someone special to talk to, but there isn't anyone. It's like I don't even exist anymore to anyone. I mean people obviously care about me, but I dont feel it. My life basically feels like it's on hold.


#2

When I finished college, I took a job in a place 200 miles away from anyone I knew. I needed the work and was confident that I was awesome enough to make new friends, find a girlfriend, and find a faith community like the one I had in college. Six months later, I barely had any of the above. Friends from back home faded away as we all got settled in wherever we ended up.

Our stories are very different so why am I telling you all of this? Because you and I shared the same kinds of feelings. We both wondered “what if” about girls we know. We both wondered what happened to our old friends and why we can’t make better ones. We both felt isolated and ignored.

I felt that way for six months, then put those feelings on hold by getting myself into a disasterous relationship that dragged down what few friendships I had made in my new home. It seemed like I would never get out of that rut.

But do you know what? I did. The bad relationship ended (we stayed friends). I really bonded with the friends I had made here. I found an awesome girl at my church and we have been happily together for awhile now. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but if I wouldn’t have had those lonely times I wouldn’t be where I am today. And I wouldn’t trade today for anything.

The good news for you is that i didn’t do a darn thing to improve my situation. I kept going to Mass, kept praying, kept trying like I always had, and eventually it just worked out. It sounds like you are doing those things already. I can’t promise that it will get better in a month or a year or in ten years, but I guarantee that if you stick it out, it will all be worth it. Hang in there, brother.


#3

[quote="LotusCarsLtd, post:1, topic:237065"]
Basically my life is in a state of great despair and depression.

For one, I've been going through a period of intense loneliness to the point that I'm questioning if my friends even know I still exist (or if they even care)...this includes both my religious and secular friends.

On top of this literally almost everyone I know my age is dating or getting engaged (including a girl I was deeply attracted to for a long time but who didn't return the sentiment...although we're still friends). Me being single and having the worst track record with women leaves me feeling utterly hopeless and depressed. I struggle to be happy for my female friend considering we didn't "work out" and I have to witness it on a regular basis since we attend the same parish and school.

On top of that I don't (and never have) fully related with either of my two groups of friends either because they don't share my faith or don't share what's important to me in addition to my faith. I've always felt like an outcast in both groups. I sometimes don't even feel welcome.

At times like this I wish I had someone special to talk to, but there isn't anyone. It's like I don't even exist anymore to anyone. I mean people obviously care about me, but I dont feel it. My life basically feels like it's on hold.

[/quote]

I suggest you seek professional help. There are a lot of priests out there who would be willing to listen to you. Just try to get in touch with a priest or any counsellor in this field.

Jesus Sirach 6:5-17 Friends and Enemies

[5] A pleasant voice multiplies friends, and a gracious tongue multiplies courtesies. [6] Let those that are at peace with you be many, but let your advisers be one in a thousand. [7] When you gain a friend, gain him through testing, and do not trust him hastily. [8] For there is a friend who is such at his own convenience, but will not stand by you in your day of trouble. [9] And there is a friend who changes into an enemy, and will disclose a quarrel to your disgrace. [10] And there is a friend who is a table companion, but will not stand by you in your day of trouble. [11] In prosperity he will make himself your equal, and be bold with your servants; [12] but if you are brought low he will turn against you, and will hide himself from your presence. [13] Keep yourself far from your enemies, and be on guard toward your friends. [14] A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he that has found one has found a treasure. [15] There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence. [16] A faithful friend is an elixir of life; and those who fear the Lord will find him. [17] Whoever fears the Lord directs his friendship aright, for as he is, so is his neighbor also.

Commentary:

..."Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13). And St Ambrose, commenting on v. 14 writes: "Friendship should be constant ...]. You should not leave a friend in his hour of need, nor do him injury, nor abandon him, because friendship is a lifelong source of help" ("De Officiis", 2, 3, 22).

Taking the life of Jesus as an example St. Josemaria Escriva invites his readers to consider that "A friend is a treasure. Well...you have a friend! For where your treasure is, there is your heart" ("The Way", 421)....

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries".


#4

I think sometimes my son feels this way too. He does not have a girlfriend and actually has trouble approaching girls for fear of rejection. All of his friends are dating or engaged or married and there he is feeling as though his life is on hold and in a way it is.
Honestly, ALL of us have been through this at one time or another in our lives and some of us have had these same feelings at several different points throughout our lives.

Older people have these feelings of loneliness and depression and feeling as though they are invisible to everyone. I am finding more and more people feel like they are so very alone in life.

These feelings you are having are temporary. A lot of people go through this. Just take it one day at a time because things do change all the time.

Also, have you ever thought that maybe you are experiencing all this because you are suppose to take this journey? Maybe you are experiencing this because you are to help others going through this too. There are so many that are alone and in need of someone that understands what they are going through.

Really, talk about this with one of the Priests at your Parish because you may be needed at this time to help those that are in need of friendship and someone that understands.


#5

:hug1: I'm so sorry you're feeling so lonely. I too have dealt with lonliness, but do not despair! Jesus loves you -- stay close to Him in the sacraments. I will pray for you today, this holy Good Friday.

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion - inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to your holy will, which is love and mercy itself. Amen.
~optional closing prayer from the chaplet of Divine Mercy (see my signature)

:crossrc:


#6

Thank you all for the advice. I'm feeling better right now but I'm still really angry about my situation. I'm angry that I keep trying to make my love life work but constantly reap failure.

I mean it could be worse, and there is hope obviously. I have this one girl that I think is interested in me and I've been pursuing her, it's just hard to have long-term hope given my poor track record with the female race. I just hope this doesn't become a self fulfilling prophesy for me (although I have hope it won't).

It's just difficult when you really want that meaningful relationship but it never seems to come. Maybe time will fix things.

On a related note, how can I learn to be happy for my engaged friend and not be upset or saddened that we didn't pan out or that I'm still single while her love life is growing? I do love her as a friend and want to be happy for her, rather than be bitter and unwilling to be around her anymore.


#7

I recommend immersing yourself in something until time has done it's job in making you more accepting of the whole situation. Start giving your time to your church and your community, or give more if you're already giving some. What the activity is depends on what your church and community's needs are and what you have to offer in terms of your own talents.

That will keep your mind occupied with good things and give you less time to dwell on your relationship status, AND, even better, it opens the door to meeting new people who value things like church and community - people you might like to be with for a long time.


#8

Hi Lotus,

You sound a lot like my youngest brother. He too is watching his friends pair off and move on, he too feels like an outsider because his passions aren't shared, even by his closer friends. It can be very difficult. I would encourage you to be happy for your friends, especially the girls who "didn't work out" by remembering that your life is in God's hands. He has very good reasons why things didn't work out with those girls, and he has very good reasons for keeping you single at this stage of life. When we look around and compare our situation that of those around us, this becomes very hard, because we have a cultural expectation that you will date in college, and you will form a serious relationship in college. But college is not in any way an ideal time for forming serious romantic relationships because you yourself are not formed, and you are (if you live on campus) in a position of false intimacy already, because you can spend 90% of the day together. It makes relationships less stable overall. That doesn't mean they are unhealthy for everyone, but God knows what is best for you, and he is forming you into a man who can be in a healthy adult relationship, if you let him.

Looking back now, I know that not dating in college was the best thing for me, though at the time I didn't do it out of a real choice, I did it because I only wanted to date one person, who didn't want to date me. Watching my friends' love-lives was difficult, when mine was suffering, but it taught me a lot about waiting on God. When I did marry, it was difficult again to watch our friends concieve easily, but because I had trained myself to compare myself to the person God intended me to be, instead of the people around me, it was easier (though not easy, and when we were blessed with children, I realized that God's timing is ideal, if you can only allow yourself to fall into that timing, not fight against it.

So be happy for your friends, they'll have their own crosses, equal to yours, and don't begrudge them their blessings. And don't look to them for solace, they're only human, they can't give you that - neither, really could a wife. You need to find that in Christ before you can form a relationship that will be a blessing for both you and your spouse.

You're in my prayers,
Masha


#9

Your life isn’t on hold… God is using you, even right this second. All you have to do is TRUST. It’s hard, but yes, it works if you surrender, are faithful and follow Him.

About the frustration: ask yourself is this from you, outside pressures, or from God? Maybe it is time to branch out and seek new friends. Maybe it’s time to think about the qualities of a person you would like to date someday, and make yourself more like that kind of person (because you never know when that day will be).

The grief you feel from the girl you lost is something we all feel, but it also can turn into a form of lust, so please… be careful. I have had this myself and it can be broken if you really look into the word of God, maybe you can see that this person was not meant to work out and it’s for God’s good intentions. Really, it IS. I promise!

Turn yourself to God and surround yourself with people who share in the testament of God, and there’s nothing He will ever do to abandon or forsake you. It takes a lifetime but these things make us stronger.

I had a man I loved and he went on a mission for 2 years (mormon guy) but oh, I loved him. I was heartbroken, but God had new plans for me. I ended up on a very successful career path that wouldn’t have happened. I was able to share my art with thousands of people. Now my path has changed, but I will also have to put my trust in God.

There’s no guarantees in life… only one: Jesus!

:slight_smile:
~Lily


#10

I'm sorry your feeling lonely and depressed my friend. Your in my prayers.

Depression can be the worst of any pain-you don't need to suffer. Take medication, work to beat it, and know that you can rise above it.

God bless. Prayers your way.


#11

Commenting on the how to not remain bitter question:

I think it is needed to spend time in prayer and reminding yourself constantly that God LOVES you. No matter what happens to you in life, it would NEVER happen if God did not have some great plan that he wanted to draw out of it.

We cannot SEE what that plan is, but there is where we have to trust. Trust in God and His Will.

This is not easy - but it can help to force-feed yourself this message. When you feel down and out, keep telling yourself that God has a Will for you, and that this must be it, and remind yourself of the great victories that can be won by doing God’s Will.

I do not know how to explain it well. You have to try to have a “supernatural” vision of your life. Like when you are in an airplane, and you look down at the earth, everything and everyone is so tiny and trivial all of a sudden from up so high.

Or like if you have ever had a moment where you fear for your life - all of a sudden you feel like: “oh my gosh! All the things I ever worry about and think about are SO STUPID! WHY did I ever BOTHER?”

In those moments it is like we suddenly have this glimpse into the “supernatural” vision of our lives, and we can see what really matters.

Try to remember that God has a plan which will only be seen in eternity. If he allows others to be happy at this moment and not you, He may be trying to give you greater graces in this moment.

That is the mystery of the Cross. To love THROUGH whatever sufferings and struggles come our way, and to keep loving and trusting in God, and believing in His UNFAILING love for us. Trusting that His plan is the best plan.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is force-feed ourselves those kind of messages. Like confused children who refuse to eat for some silly reason, but need to in order to thrive, we sometimes have to mother ourselves and force ourselves to hear the TRUTH of God’s message, and not some negative lies that would tear us down.

Maybe God is drawing you closer to Himself in these times and wants to become more prominent in your life by making others less so.

TRUST TRUST TRUST. YOU ARE LOVED.

But you have to tell yourself that and really find a way to tell yourself that enough to wipe out the thoughts that tell you anything negative :slight_smile:

And of course, always call on your guardian angel, all the angels and saints in heaven, and Mary and the holy souls.


#12

This girl just might be a gift from God. Treat her as such (i.e., be a gentleman).

Don’t ignore her, but don’t “suffocate” her, either. Have you asked her out on a date? If and when you do, make clear that it is a date (that’s one of the things that was mentioned at the National Catholic Singles Conference a few years ago so that you make your intentions clear and you are not trapped in the “friends zone”). If it goes well and you are still interested in her, at the end of the date, ask if she would like to go out an another date. What’s the worst that could happen? You may find you are not interested in her, or she in you, but it’s easier to break it off earlier than later. But at least you got a date out of the effort. Or, she may go out with you, only to later break up in order to enter the convent or some religious program (which is my story).

At best, you may have found your future wife, and in a few years one of your friends may be posting what you posted, and we’ll be giving him the same advice we gave you.


#13

[quote="Norseman82, post:12, topic:237065"]
This girl just might be a gift from God. Treat her as such (i.e., be a gentleman).

Don't ignore her, but don't "suffocate" her, either. Have you asked her out on a date? If and when you do, make clear that it is a date (that's one of the things that was mentioned at the National Catholic Singles Conference a few years ago so that you make your intentions clear and you are not trapped in the "friends zone"). If it goes well and you are still interested in her, at the end of the date, ask if she would like to go out an another date. What's the worst that could happen? You may find you are not interested in her, or she in you, but it's easier to break it off earlier than later. But at least you got a date out of the effort. Or, she may go out with you, only to later break up in order to enter the convent or some religious program (which is my story).

At best, you may have found your future wife, and in a few years one of your friends may be posting what you posted, and we'll be giving him the same advice we gave you.

[/quote]

As for the girl I already asked her and she's interested. But I never used the word "date" in the discussion to avoid coming on too strong.


#14

Wow.

When I read this, I thought I had written it. I'm a 26-year-old guy and I felt the same.

Sometimes, I still get these feelings of depression and low self-worth. I'll question everything and start to get all existential.

I had started counseling (through Catholic Charities), and it helped. Remember, you have a choice in your reaction to others and events around you.


#15

Wow…guess im not the only one feeling this way. Cheer up lad :smiley: !!..God loves you and has a plan for all of us. Dont lose hope.

Everyday has been a major and utter struggle, trying not to lose hope, questioning if the Lord even hears my prayers (even questioned if He loves me at all). But yesterday i decided to turn my life over, and get over my depression. Im starting counceling on Wednesday, so id recommend you do the same. Plus, there´s a nice girl that the Lord has put in your way, so dont lose. hope. You are in my prayers.


#16

I completely understand where you are coming from… I still don’t fit in with either my secular or Catholic friends for the very same reason. I did end up finding my husband though who seems to be my perfect match. There is hope. If you and I have felt this way, trust me, there are others as well. It was sad when I moved across the country due to his job, even though I wasn’t leaving much behind. He really is my life.


#17

I’m 32 and in the same boat. I’m almost, but not quite, beyond caring. If it’s God’s will that I’m miserable, so be it. I’ll go to church and whatnot for fear of going to hell but that’s about the only reason.


#18

[quote="LotusCarsLtd, post:1, topic:237065"]
Me being single and having the worst track record with women

[/quote]

I don't believe you can beat mine. ;) Still, you don't need a girlfriend. You need a marriage, and a good one. Different things matter in finding a good wife, and in getting a girlfriend. Dating is only something you miss for the special thrill, or something that hurts your self-esteem when you're not doing it, but it isn't really so relevant, actually. I'm sure you're also aware that dating someone just to be dating wouldn't be a solution.

Please understand I know what you're talking about. I have similar feelings when I pass a flower stand or feel nice, going-out-friendly evening weather on my skin, or see a nice dress that makes me think I would like the wearer. Or other such. But in the end, one's got to soldier on (which I know is not sufficient advice if you actually have clinical depression, in which case you need medical aid like with any illness) without thinking too much of past misfortunes or what's currently missing in one's life. Such things shape one's character. If we conquer one of them, we can move on to the next lesson (a bit like gaining a level in RPG but more real).

leaves me feeling utterly hopeless and depressed. I struggle to be happy for my female friend considering we didn't "work out" and I have to witness it on a regular basis since we attend the same parish and school.

I've had to witness it too. I know it's hard. If I can give you any advice, don't make yourself think of it and don't stress over the difficulties. What's more important is that your choice is to bear her no ill will and wish her the best. If there were no difficulties, then the achievement would be bleak.

On top of that I don't (and never have) fully related with either of my two groups of friends either because they don't share my faith or don't share what's important to me in addition to my faith. I've always felt like an outcast in both groups. I sometimes don't even feel welcome.

I feel for you. I've rarely been able to relate fully with people either. But you don't need to soulbrothers to have a worthy, fulfilling friendship. And friendships generally need work, even if that work doesn't feel like work (such as when people instinctly like each other a lot). Sometimes I have a feeling we can get a lot out of a friendship with anybody if we put time, effort and care in it, which may be difficult at times.

At times like this I wish I had someone special to talk to, but there isn't anyone.

I'm sorry for that. I know the feeling, I've felt it many times. Make sure it doesn't stay forever. You have family, you have friends from childhood, schoolmates, others. Liven it up a bit, even if you aren't a born organiser. This means spending time with people. I've noticed I sometimes have a similar problem because I spend time doing solitary things but then when I do feel like spending some time with friends... well... things need some recooking. So don't skip opportunities that do appear.

It's like I don't even exist anymore to anyone. I mean people obviously care about me, but I dont feel it. My life basically feels like it's on hold.

Perhaps contact those who you think you know care and spend some time with them?


#19

I know this is an old thread, but I’m in a very similar position. I literally have no close friends at all, and have a terrible track record when it comes to dating. On top of all of that, I have social anxiety (as well as generalized anxiety), an extreme fear of rejection and depression, which makes social interactions very difficult period.

Sometimes, I look back on my life and know that God’s there and that he has a plan for me, because I can look back and see that things have happened in a way that suggests a plan. Other times, I look at where I am, get angry, and ask myself if God is there or if he even cares. Deep down in my heart of hearts, I know he is, but loneliness is not an easy thing to endure.

We’re social creatures. We were made to be with other people. It hurts when we don’t get to experience unity with others.

FYI, I found this thread on Google, because I was feeling really lonely and ended up googling the terms “Catholic” and “loneliness.”

I hope your situation has improved since you first posted.


#20

And, for what it’s worth, I offer my loneliness up as a prayer for yours.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.