Can I ever get over the Loneliness?
Can I ever get over loneliness? After watching a heart-wrenching video about parents of special needs kids and the isolation they feel, this is the question I ask myself. Can I ever get over loneliness? Is it even possible? The video didn’t give hope, but I’ll share the insight and hope I now have.
This past month has been rough in so many ways. Winter seems to be taxing, the cloudy days endless. There are tremendous amounts of rain depending on where you live and really, really cold weather that keeps me hibernating inside.
In the day of all these social media apps, emails, unlimited texting, phones, etc., you would think that we would all be so connected and productive that no mental illnesses would be around. But, instead, it seems the opposite.
Misinformation and distrust are prevalent with media lies and people putting up a front on any social media platform. The need for comparison and perfection seems to separate us even more than before.
I’m going to make a big assumption in thinking that any of us may have felt lonely at any given point in our lives. Especially during the quarantine periods, I was surrounded by my little people but felt so alone.
I also felt sluggish and didn’t want to do anything, but that’s another story.
That loneliness was not a new feeling for me, though. On and off throughout my life, I have been friends with that feeling. Not knowing who to call or how to not feel lonely. Being a special-needs Mom seemed to accentuate a sense of isolation.
Our family looks very different than others. Everything from the day-to-day grind to vacations to milestones is vastly different. I have children who will never make certain milestones.
I read an article once where a Dad talked about the last time he changed a diaper. He didn’t realize it was the last time he would change a diaper, but one day his youngest child was potty trained, and there it was, a milestone conquered. In my selfish flesh, instead of thinking about the blessings of my children, all I could think is, I will never have all of my children out of diapers. Loneliness can creep in when I tell myself that I am the only one dealing with this.
Loneliness isn’t only felt by special needs parents. Unfortunately, this group is the one most under-represented, in my opinion. But, by no means is it the only group that feels lonely out there.
My family and I especially struggle with church life groups or community groups, whatever your church may call them. A small group setting where families get together out of the church and do life together. We have always felt like outsiders at most of the groups we have been in over the years. Mostly it is hard to have special needs kiddos in the mix of typical families who don’t have the capacity for something out of the “typical.”
It’s hard for us, and we live it. So I know it is hard for other families who don’t understand why my child won’t stop screaming. Or why one of my other children was rough with their child because she doesn’t understand her own strength when trying to get their attention. The list goes on, but I know it’s a lie of the enemy to separate us from other believers. We need community in-person community.
Whichever the case, It can be difficult for adults trying to find new friends and people to do life with. It can be difficult and scary to try to connect with others.
People fill their days on mindless apps or playing games or watching other people live their lives on youtube; it is no wonder loneliness is so prevalent. All of those things are less scary than reaching out. Reading my social media feed won’t make fun of me or reject me. But, it also will not fulfill me either. Those things will leave you more empty and alone, not to mention unproductive.
I have a few bible verses that help me hold on during times of loneliness. I know that connecting with fellow humans is valuable, but even more valuable to know is that even in those times, reaching out doesn’t work; Jesus will not leave you.
Isaiah 41:10 ESV
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Matthew 28:20 ESV
“Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.“
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.“
In the modern-day, where we can see others’ stories on our social media feeds, it can lead us to feel left out like no other age.
Comparison will never lead to happiness, it will only bring more lon. Looking at my beautiful children and cheering them on based on their abilities are more critical. For example, when they finally figured out how to use a fork or put something in the sink might be a way more joyous moment for me than it might be for you.
So leave comparison out of your reaching out for fellowship and friends. Instead, maybe start volunteering somewhere to gain a common cause and friends, or a bible study, book club, take a cooking class, quilting class, start a hobby. These things can help you form a human connection that God wishes for us.
Understand, though, that our human connection should never take the place of having a relationship with the Lord.
The critical thing to keep in mind is that you are never alone. The God of the universe is with you always. He created you as a loving Father would, on purpose with a purpose.
Let the Holy Spirit fill that emptiness if you are pursuing God’s heart and plan for you.
Jenny Cioto with Pursuing true North
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