Many of us with Borderline Personality Disorder know what it means to feel lonely. In my personal experience, I feel that I am a good, likable person at heart -- someone who has something to contribute and who likes lifting others up in word and deed. I enjoy being around others and conversing -- be it a simple, "superficial" conversation about the weather with the cashier at the grocery store to deeper conversations that might spontaneously develop, say, at a coffee shop or restaurant.
The dialectic that I face is a deep desire to connect with and be around other people and then the opposite desire, especially when my mood is low, of wanting to isolate and not be around anyone. Because I am still working on learning Interpersonal Effectiveness skills to help me within relationships with others, I still have a tendency to get very black and white/ all or nothing when it comes to being around others or keeping to myself. The moodiness and low self-esteem don't help either.
I've been trying to find shades of grey. I recently made a commitment to get out of the house for a few hours every day, although I can have one all day pajama day a week when I hang out at home. With the exception of one day (not the PJ day), I've been keeping this commitment, and it seems to be helping with my mood and feelings of loneliness.
I don't feel quite ready to engage on the intimate level required to nurture and maintain a deep, close connection (though I do have one with my significant other and one other friend). I think I'm afraid that I'll invest and and then end up getting black or white and pushing the person away, only to be alone again. It's a valid fear -- it's happened many times in the past.
So, I'm trying to just take it slow. When I get out of the house, I run errands or treat myself to a bite to eat. Sometimes I look around at a store, go for a walk in the park, and most recently I've resumed yoga classes twice a week.
During these activities, I am able to interact with others outside of just the mental health setting (the DBT and support groups I attend during the week), and this is nice. And, while I'm usually content to spend a lot of time interacting with others online, there is something about face-to-face interaction that simply can't be replaced for me, even with all of modern technology.
Do I feel lonely because I don't feel ready to give and take on a deep level right now? Honestly? Yes. Very. Do I want to work on my fears, build my skills, and try a little bit each day to deepen my ability to connect, despite my abandonment issues, mood swings, and tendency to push others away? Immensely.
I'm working on it, one day at a time, and trying to be as kind and compassionate with myself along the way.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. One way I've been keeping busy is by studying Spanish daily for one hour at a time. I've also started a second blog, focused on DBT skills, called My Daily DBT.com.