Anita, unspecified age, Homemaker

This has no vanity



I grew up mainly atheist. I do not believe in a god. My parents divorced when I was very young, my dad was an alcoholic and a violent man. I was always afraid of him, so I had to learn to read his mood. I still do it with most people. My mother shot herself after the divorce. She survived and we never speak of it. She prefers to avoid talking about the past. I don’t have strong connection with my parents.  I always wondered if they ever loved each other. I am an immigrant, due to political issues we left our country when I was 18. I had just finished high school. We ended up in a country ridden with terrorism, street bombings, riots. We had a few hard years there, hunger was the worse, sometimes all there was to eat was rice, for months at a time. Things got better over time when we got help. After a few years, we came to the USA. I think it was the most shocking moment of my life. The lights, the buildings, so much of everything, so many words and signs. It was overwhelming and it made me nauseous. But it didn’t take long to realize that it all came at a price. People seem worried and rushed all the time. American socialization is mainly based on consumption. People only hang out with people they like or have things in common with. In my country, people must socialize because we need each other, not because we have same views, music taste or whatever. I fell into a deep depression, I have always craved meaning, now I could not find any. I finally have made it to a safe place, with food, now I am alone.  I must continue this strange carousel with people who seem completely out of reach.

My current isolation is probably my own choice. I know I have trust issues due to my childhood. Besides that, I find people don’t really have anything meaningful to say. It all feels like they are trying to run away from themselves most of the time, trying to avoid pain or difficulties. I spend much of my time working in the garden, as nature does not waste. It is efficient; it is beautiful without vanity.

Audri, 23, Future Engineer

Regenerating the soul into another

Hubble Space Telescope Photography Courtesy of NASA

I am a young 23 year old Mother of one. I have been diagnosed with a depression disorder at a young age. I have lived a difficult childhood. I have suffered loneliness and rejection many times. What I have gathered from my 23 years of living on Earth is that Life won’t come to you while you’re sitting alone in a corner, trying to understand why fairness isn’t a part of Life. I’ve learned to accept the hardships as they come, however, I feel that if I do or don’t take enough time to grieve either way it’s like putting duct tape over a leaking pipe……eventually it will break.

Throughout my relationships, I have mostly felt alone, not rejected, but in the grand scheme, just simply alone.  It’s me facing the world, no one else can live this life put before me, when I lay down to take my last breath it will be only what I see in my life flash back, some very sad memories and some very good ones but, no one else’s. In a way, it’s led me to many bouts of depression because being me is difficult due to my insecurities, doubts, and disorders. They control me quite often. I believe they control many people in today’s world. The only true way I feel I can escape this agonizing mental disease is to remember that when the time does come, that I will have at least lived a life of many experiences. I loved many, life was fun and I actually EXISTED. While watching all my flashbacks, my Daughter’s life comes into play in the parts I helped her grow: simply regenerating parts of me into her soul. Always and Forever in existence…myself… Audri.

Lou, 69, support specialist

Fishers of Zen


When have I experienced loneliness? Most of the three years since we moved here. I had a robust social life where we lived back east, but since I moved here I have practiced intentional isolation for reasons I cannot fully explain. We moved out west because both our daughters ended up in Seattle, so it was a family decision. My wife and I had never lived in the west so we thought… why not make retirement an adventure? We moved to Eugene for practical reasons. It was affordable, has great cultural for a small city, and the natural attractions of the mountains, coast, and rivers made it a desirable destination in our minds.

I started my career working with the developmentally disabled many years ago, so it seemed like a natural fit to pursue that here at the end of my work career. I never felt like I lost any skill set by retiring, and I wanted to stay engaged in the work force. Work is activity that helps keep you feeling alive, engaged, and valued.

There is a difference between loneliness and solitude. For solitude, I escaped by fly-fishing. That was mostly back east. To deal with loneliness, I engage in home remodeling projects and building small outbuildings. My next project is building a patio out of recycled bricks. After that I will re-side the house. Also have a good size garden started. Also started reading books again and started a fly-fishing blog (early stages).

Rebekah, 20, babysitter

Color in the life cycle


Loneliness has a way of always catching up with me. I have depression and anxiety, but my depression and loneliness tend to come in cycles. So at one point I’ll be at a high (typically lasting 2-5 months) and then out of nowhere I hit a low. Everything just crashes. Currently, I am at a low. I have no motivation for anything and even though I have friends and a boyfriend to talk to, I feel completely and utterly alone and it’s really hard to get out of my head.

What are some helpful ways I’ve discovered in dealing with loneliness? Honestly, I just try to immerse myself in things I love: Reading, writing, music and baking. It’s really important to focus on things you love doing or experiment with new things. I used to try a ton of different pills (natural) to self medicate, however that was a bit destructive for my mentality. I also try to hang out with my family more, they are a goofy and rambunctious group of people, but they do help with getting me out of my loneliness funk.

Michelle, 24, office manager

Eclipse loneliness


Sometimes I think the perfect thing comes into your life at the perfect moment. Oddly enough, this post I’m responding to may be one of those things. I had just gotten back from lunch and I was pacing around my office, contemplating how to escape my head today. I kept pulling up the messages on my phone as if I were going to text someone but ultimately deciding every time that I didn’t want to bring anyone else down with my depressed mood. I finally sat down to get online because social media has been my quick fix for years now. While I was mindlessly scrolling, it occurred to me that one of the best ways to find fulfillment is to help others. I went to craigslist’s volunteer section to see who I could help. This [Lonely Mythos Project seeking participants] was the first post and it’s like it was put there specifically for me.

So I work in a large office alone from 10-5 Monday through Friday. This is for a storage facility. For the first week of the month, I have tenants in and out paying rent. The rest of the month late payers trickle in but not nearly enough to occupy my time. It’s me, the white undecorated walls, and my brain for hours almost every day. I have one moment of solace in an otherwise empty day. I get off at 5 and he [fiance] may get off at 10:00 at night. He actually leaves earlier than me so when I wake up he’s already gone. I’ve always considered myself a lone wolf but to be in my own head for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week can put you in a dark place.

It’s a natural, normal response to feel lonely when you are alone but what happens when you feel alone when you aren’t? Some say they are alone but not lonely, while I may be surrounded by people and still feel completely isolated. There is a point when I feel myself connecting deeply with another human being that my body goes into panic mode. My anxiety has kept me from creating meaningful friendships but my depression deeply craves them. What kind of personal hell is this?

Let’s talk about rejection. My childhood was like this…. Everyone is singing (looks like fun) so I join in. Everyone stops. Everyone is playing basketball so I go in to get my tennis shoes. I come back and everyone is done. Kids are cruel but then they grow up and learn right from wrong. You can know in your head all day long that they were just kids who didn’t realize what they were doing but a part of you will always feel like that outcast. The damage has been done. A growing developing mind is taking everything in like a sponge. What you learn about the world as a child turns into how you feel about the world as an adult.

In my modest 24 years I’ve noticed a few things that help. I highly suggest pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Talk to someone you may not have before or in my case let people get close to you. If you can find something productive to do, that can also help. Help others, cross some stuff off your to-do list. Whatever will lift your spirits, try it. You never know when you could be starting a domino effect. The last thing I would say to anyone struggling with isolation and rejection is to know that you are not alone. Everyone you see is probably dealing with something they don’t talk about. Reach out. You do not have to take on the world alone. I hope that by sharing my struggles,  I’ve been able to help others out there.

Josh, 80, retired economist

Celebrating a life


My wife died 4 1/2 years ago after nearly 49 years of marriage. When my wife died, someone at Hospice told me not to try and grieve alone. That was good advice for me. I’m basically an introvert and tend to internalize things. So I joined a grief support group at Hospice and attended sessions for about a year. That was a very helpful experience because I learned about other people’s problems which helped me deal with my own. The other thing that was beneficial is that my two children helped me put together a “Celebration” of my wife’s life. I rented a tent in the backyard and my son had the event catered. My daughter was the Mistress of Ceremony. Friends and relatives got up and spoke about my wife, including our four grandchildren. It was a very positive experience.

Since then  I’ve learned never to turn down an invitation unless it is a disaster waiting to happen. I tried to learn to cook and entertain friends and relatives. I even joined an online dating service where I met some really interesting women. Losing a soul mate is especially hard. Not only have you lost someone you love, but also the person that you talk with and confide in every day. When they are gone, you can become very lonely. Your life changes. So it takes hard work. A pet also helps. I lost our 17 1/2 year old dog two years after my wife died. Two years later I adopted another doggy, Bianca who has been a real companion and a big help.

Chris, 60+, Retired

The comfort of animals


I grew up in a single parent home; my mother worked all the time and we moved a lot.  Mom had a lot of boy friends.  Some were pedophiles.  Those bad experiences as a child taught me I couldn’t trust anyone.

I attended at least 11 different schools before (barely) graduating from high school.  Moving a lot and being shy, I never made friends.

As I matured and got into the workforce I had a “work personality” that I wore every day.  When I came home from work I retreated into my private world.   I keep my world small.  Intentionally.

I met and married a wonderful man who understood the trauma of my childhood.  He cares for me and loves me as I am.  Besides my husband I have the support of my sister.  I rarely leave the house, and when I do it’s for trips to the grocery store.

For the most part I would say that I “hate” people.  My love for animals is immense.  If I had my way I would rid the world of all the horrible and mean people and provide love and sanctuary for all animals.  I guess that makes me a hermit and an idealist.

I don’t mind being lonely.  I choose not to volunteer for “meals on wheels” or anything else.  I would volunteer at places that help animals, but I’m so soft hearted it would kill me if I couldn’t save them all.

So, I stay at home and play with my Pomeranian.  Wait for my hubby to come home from work and have a quiet evening together.  In the summer, we go camping and look for out of the way places to be – away from other people.  I shudder to think of getting on a plane or going to big cities – not my style.