Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Loneliness Recedes

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on August 15, 2011

Rosie,    is happy today. The loneliness of the previous week receded, replaced by a feeling that life is full and interesting. “What happened?” I asked, trying to weave a narrative which is more integrative, rather than fragmented. “I met some new people over the weekend, and they were really fun. I had good times with some old friends. I just felt better and more excited about things. I am still distracted by my thoughts about Ryan, but they did not dominate my mental existence like they have in the past. I saw Ryan and that was nice too. I just don’t feel so obsessed. What you said last week made sense to me. I can’t let Ryan rule my thoughts. I need to expand my head to think about other people.” Rosie explains this to me with the enthusiasm, so characteristic of young adulthood. Hearing her excited tone, I think back to just a few short days ago when she felt so isolated, so alone. “Wow, your mood is so much better. I can really feel it.” I say, wanting to point out to her that although she has low times, she also has excited times, and it is hard for her to keep in mind these ebbs and flows. “I am just proud of myself about the way I arranged my weekend. Everything worked out exactly as I had hoped. It was really nice. I tried new activities and I was scared at first, but in the end I was glad I went.” Rosie continues with her upbeat tone and enthusiasm, along with a self-congratulatory experience which feels to me like the beginning of her building self-esteem. “Maybe facing your loneliness propelled you forward to taking some social risks.” I said, appreciating her courage in the last session where she spoke about her obsession with Ryan. “Maybe,” Rosie says. “All I know is that I feel really good right now.”

2 Responses to “Loneliness Recedes”

  1. Shelly said

    So what Rosie felt all along was solitary, not loneliness, right? Based on your past blogs, loneliness means feeling not understood; solitary means feeling alone and not with people (i.e. out with a social group)? And this can happen at any age, and not in particular with young adults, correct?

  2. shirah said

    No, Rosie felt lonely. She felt that no one loved her. She turned around quickly, as so many young people seem to do. Loneliness means feeling unloved and maybe also unloveable. Young adults seem to me to be more labile, more changeable, in their state of minds. Like everything else about aging, moods become more ossified as one ages.

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