Ensconced on our plush sofa, I passed some time reflecting on life as we got to grips with yet another lock down. It was November 2020, and I was on my own, as my husband was at work and our daughter was at school. It was bitterly cold and even though it was 11am it seemed so oppressive, like a dark winter’s night. I became very aware of how my mood mirrored the weather, and suddenly I shifted from being OK to having an overwhelming feeling of being lonely.
Loneliness can lead to a slow but steady decline in mental, emotional and physical wellness. There were previous times in my life where I had experienced loneliness, particularly when I had no meaningful occupation. I would comfort eat to numb the pain and then wonder why my jeans were too tight. I’d feel frustrated, then I would avoid my feelings altogether and find solace in daytime slumber, which in turn would disrupt my circadian rhythm. I’d fallen into the monotonous pattern of an erroneous daily routine. I knew deep down I didn't wish to embody my previous ruminations, destructive emotions and defective habits. This brought me to thinking that I needed to choose a more effective way of confronting how it is to be lonely.
Change is inevitable, it’s part of life. Change can mean loss, but it can also mean growth. As a blind woman, I tend to exist in my own head as there's no visual stimulus for distraction. I find myself being ultra-aware of inner dialogue, changing the negative to positive and productive thoughts. I focused on what I could change and what I couldn't change. I opened my mind’s eye, observed deep within myself and I re-discovered myself. I have a new best friend, me! How liberating! Now I can be with myself, I no longer feel lonely. My perception of my existence has changed. I no longer think, feel and behave like I don't belong, simply because I've chosen to like and accept myself as an effective purpose-filled woman (who just happens to be blind).
I decided to declutter my life and ditched what no longer served me. I embraced daily meditation. Initially, I found it quite a challenge but through persistence I can now meditate easily. Routine is key to me and my well being. As well as activities of daily living, I enjoy reading, writing, learning a language, exercising for 30 minutes and I love singing. All of which helps to increase dopamine, endorphins and serotonin in my brain. What's more, I love talking to my friends (on the phone or in person) although I've ditched social media – freedom! I've been in paid and unpaid employment, and I cherish those experiences. I'm looking forward to any future opportunities that come my way as I continue to cultivate seeds of self-worth while I transform from lonely to finding myself.
Views expressed in this article are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of BACP. Publication does not imply endorsement of the writer’s views. Reasonable care has been taken to avoid errors but no liability will be accepted for any errors that may occur.