What I Have Learned from Being Alone
I am your average college student. I try to balance school work and a social life, I participate in cliché college events, and I am trying to figure out exactly who I am. That last part is the hardest task to accomplish so far. I am a very sociable person, which is why I'm studying Journalism. I like to have my alone time to relax, but I usually only last a few hours before I like to talk to my roommates, or call/message a friend. When my school had its Spring Break, everyone I knew went home to see their friends and family, but I couldn't because my car broke down. Now not only was I going to be alone for the week everyone was gone, but also I did not have transportation. After the realization of me not being able to go home after 2 months of waiting, I had a meltdown.
I wasn't even alone for more than 2 hours before I had my meltdown. Many may argue that I was being a little dramatic, but the emotional build up during those 2 hours is what brought me over the edge. I started to hit a "bump in the road" about a month ago, so the only thing I had to look forward to was this trip back to my hometown. When my car first broke down, I called my mom crying because I already spent one hundred dollars two days ago to get it fixed. I also really was looking forward to seeing my friends, family, and pets after over a month of waiting. The annoyed feeling, from my car breaking down after supposedly being fixed, intertwined with the sorrow I had been feeling. My mom offered to pay for my car to be fixed if I did what she wanted me to do. The only way to do what she wanted would involve someone taking me to the repair place every day until it was fixed. Obviously that would be a problem, so my mom and I had a heated argument over it. This is when I realized I couldn't go home, and I had a meltdown.
My meltdown involved an anxiety attack and immense emotional pain. When I started to calm down, I looked over at the bottle of Melatonin I usually take at night to help me fall asleep, something I have trouble with already. I find it difficult to deal with my emotions, so I try to find ways to ignore them. In this moment my way of ignoring my emotions was to sleep them off by doubling the dosage of Melatonin I usually take. I ended up sleeping for 20 hours.
The next two days, days two and three out of the eight I had alone, I spent by sitting on my bed staring at the ceiling emotionless all day. The meltdown completely wore me out emotionally, and I had nothing to do but wait for someone to come back. The only time I left my room was to cook myself food. These were the last two days I was able to eat normally.
The next three days, days four, five, and six, are when I started having emotional outbursts. The realization of me being completely alone hit me hard during this time. I had a lot of little crying "sessions," as well as I stopped eating. The emotional distress I was finally feeling after being forced to deal with my emotions had left me without an appetite. The only things I ate in those 3 days were a package of ramen and a small bowl of chicken and rice. After this I realized I needed to pick up and take care of myself.
The last few days, days seven and eight, were my revelation days. I picked myself up, and actually got myself out of bed and ready to start my days. I left my apartment to go for a walk on both days to get myself fresh air and sunlight, and I started trying to eat again. I also started spending time in my living room rather than my tiny room, which made me feel less trapped.
I realized during this time that I hate being alone not because I like people too much, but because I'm scared of my feelings. I went through a lot of hardships in life, and I never dealt with them because I felt like I needed to be the strong individual others went to for support. Being alone has taught me to set time aside to really put my feelings and emotions in perspective to cope. Being alone also taught me to be more independent. I have always been independent, but I always had someone right next to me to ensure I don't fall if I mess up. Being alone taught me how to mess up and not fall simultaneously, as well as it taught me that if I do fall as a result of messing up, it will be okay.
Okay, I know this was a long article, and mostly about why I learned the things I did rather than what I learned; but here's a few things I want people to take away from reading this:
- Being alone is a scary feeling, but it's the best way to deal with personal issues
- It's okay to take a day or two off to take care of yourself
- If you ever feel like you're dealing with too much stress, reach out to a loved one
- Learn your limits
- Don't completely neglect yourself in order to make others happy
- Learn important life skills to become more independent. It will come in handy one day
I hope my experience is something people can relate to. I do not have any diagnosed mental disorders, but I do struggle with controlling my emotions and properly dealing with them. I do not wish for anyone to try to purposely isolate themselves in hopes of having a revelation of mentality, but I do hope that people realize that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and an opportunity for self-discovery. I also hope that if you are dealing with a mental disorder, you contact someone who can help.