M commented that she was concerned about my ‘mood’. I asked in what regard and she commented that I had a lot going on and she wondered if I am lonely.
I’m not certain if she came to that conclusion, well I have somehow created a head full of people throughout my life… Not sure if it’s that or more my current demeanour. I am extremely tired and if I’m honest I’m a bit down, but I have 6 teenagers in my house, a husband, work stuff, a life online. I’m busy, which takes my mind off things and I see friends all the time. In fact I tend to double book myself in that regard. Not enough time in the week to see all my friends. I mean, that’s a pretty good problem to have, right?
I should have just asked why she said that.
So am I lonely in a crowded life? I don’t know. Sometimes, I probably am – depending on how you want to define the word.
My online world is interesting as it’s an escape from ‘reality’ whilst being my most authentic space. Only a few of those ‘real life’ friends are what I would consider as close and only two know about “us”. That does make being our authentic self/selves tricky. I suppose it can be lonely if you lack authentic connection .
Some of my friends have told me they consider me their best friend, the one that’s easiest to talk to and the one they confide in the most- and yet they know very little about me. Really, I like it that way, it feels safe. You can’t judge what you don’t know and their trust in me makes me feel wanted/needed and a bit special. I prefer this one sided relationship as it carries less risk of burning them out with my chaotic inner and outer worlds, I get to be the helpful person rather than a drain.
This is where therapy is great, guilt free role reversal.
That being said, it must be lonely being a therapist. Particularly if you have children and/or work full time. You have to present as knowledgeable and professional yet also human. You hear the deepest and darkest thoughts of people all day and you are limited by time. It’s always a one way street, ethically you can’t discuss your own life so it’s all about the client, when they say ridiculous things, things you disagree with or things that trigger you in session you have to hold back and respond appropriately taking each individual clients needs into consideration. That’s bloody hard work.
Then if you have children you go home and have to play the role of parent which is equally as one way street-ish. Maybe you have a spouse who you can discuss feelings with, although you have to be mindful of dr/patient confidentiality so it’s limited a bit to anecdotes from the tea room and generalised comments.
Hopefully you have friends you can download to, but then them uploading back to you (which is an essential part of friendship) probably feels a little like being at work really. Then you’ve got to carefully avoid ‘therapising’ them and yet still be actively listening. That’s a juggling act, so maybe you just stick with small talk and a glass of wine because it’s a bit easier.
M asked if there are times that I’m with my friends where I can just laugh and let my guard down. Absolutely there are! Well laugh anyway, I think with most people my guard is mostly still up, although sometimes the guard falls off completely and we find ourselves oversharing, unfortunately this is usually with total strangers or acquaintances but I guess then the stakes aren’t as high.
So maybe I am a little lonely from time to time, or maybe M is projecting a little bit… 😬