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It’s not that I’ve been having a streak of bad luck generally, but when it comes to trying to do anything social I feel like something goes wrong every time. This evening, I found myself sitting alone in a diner pushing a bit of chicken salad around my plate trying to fight back tears and only partly succeeding in so far as I didn’t make a total spectacle of myself. I’ve asked myself this several times over the past few years, but how did it ever come to this? I used to be a normal person. Sure, I didn’t have loads of friends, but I wasn’t friendless either.

I know moving around one too many times in a large part of the problem. I’m far from anti-social, but I’m not gregarious enough to make a new set of friends every three to five years, and it gets harder as you get older. I’m just prickly enough and contentious enough that I don’t hit it off with just anyone, or even most people. Still, although it feels like bad luck, there might be a more general societal problem going on. Every once in a while, I see an article about how there’s an epidemic of loneliness. It might be true because I don’t think there’s any especially unique about me. A few months ago, when I was recently returned to New York, I tried searching on the internet for ideas about how to meet people, not sexual or romantic partners, just people. Most of the ideas weren’t appropriate to someone my age, or I might be the oldest person in the room if I went. Other ideas people have suggested, like taking a class, are not inherently bad ideas, but they’re both expensive and time-consuming. I’ve tried them in the past. You might sign up for a class that runs over several weeks. There might be about a dozen or two people in the class most of whom you don’t wind up getting along with well enough to see again after the class is over. At that rate, it could take years to make a friend.

So, I belong to a social club. Every Friday they get together for dinner, or so I thought. They also have other things like trivia night, but I thought dinner might be less threatening. Now, the newsletter comes irregularly. After all, it’s a volunteer operation, so it’s really hard to complain about that. They also have a website and the website seemed to indicate that the Friday night dinners were still a thing. This was the first event I was going to attend since returning to New York. So, I just went to the place they have been meeting for the past several months. There was a phone number in the old newsletter, so I wrote it down just in case.

When I got to the diner, there was no one there. Since the time had been for 5:30 and it was now past 6:00 I figured that it wasn’t because I was too early. I phoned the number and the voice on the other end confirmed the time and the place and said, “I guess it just sort of petered out.”

I’ve been on a really strict diet the past week and hadn’t eaten much today, so I stayed and had dinner anyway, which is how I wound up sitting alone picking at a plate of chicken salad and fighting back tears. It’s a smallish thing to cry over in and of itself, but I’ve been trying to chip away at this loneliness problem for several years now and I’m starting to get discouraged.

I’m some level, I guess it’s just bad luck.

It’s Friday night and I’m sure there are other things to do, but I’m not sure I have the emotional elasticity to try them tonight.

Today, I thought I would try to do something fun to cheer myself up. For a little over a month now, I’ve been looking forward to the opening of a new exhibition at the Museum of Natural History. They were having a members only preview starting at 4:00 today, with a little reception afterwards. Since I moved to New York, I’ve tried to join lots of little things partly in hopes of meeting people. Now, you sort of know that you might not, actually, you probably will not, meet anyone, and by anyone I mean platonic, romantic or otherwise, at any given event. However, you certainly won’t meet anyone sitting at home and if you keep putting yourself out there and you keep going to events, you might actually make a friend or two.

So, this is the first even that’s come up anywhere this year, and I was looking forward to it. At least, I had been looking forward to it until the depression got triggered again a day or two ago. I went to the gym and brought with me a change of clothes into something casual/nice. I didn’t do my full work out because was running late. The women’s locker room at the gym is very nice with big mirrors and lights. In the afternoon, when it’s not crowded, it’s better than my own bathroom. I showered and took my time getting dressed and putting on makeup. I walked over to the Museum and was probably there shortly before five.

I can’t say that I was feeling light-hearted, but I wasn’t aware of being especially depressed. Someone at the gym smiled at me and gave me a thumbs up for some reason I don’t understand, but it made me feel good. Little things can make a huge difference sometimes. So, I went, checked my bag and got my ticket at the reception desk. The exhibit was on the fourth floor and there was a long line for the elevator. They explained that there was a little bottleneck in the exhibition and we’d have to wait. We waited about twenty minutes, maybe a half-an-hour at most. It wasn’t really that long. One of my experiences of depression has been that I can act like a normal person in public as long as there is enough distraction. However, just standing in line left me with my thoughts. I noticed all the people with other people, in couples or in families and I started to feel incredibly lonely. Then I starting crying. I couldn’t help it. I just felt so sad. I had to leave to save myself from embarrassment. So, I never got to see the exhibit or go to the reception.

It’s very difficult when you get to the point that you don’t have the strength to do exactly the things you need to do to feel better.

I’ve turned off comments on the last post because people don’t really get what’s useful to say and what’s not. I’ll probably turn off the comments on this as well.

I’m lonely. That’s it. That’s all. I want company. A psychiatrist can only do so much. We live in a society that values only beauty, money, youth, power. When you don’t have any of that, you wind up alone. You’d think that you’d be able to meet another broken person, but for some reason it doesn’t work that way. Men a couple of years older than I, with a slight pot belly and a balding head, are holding out for a young beauty. I don’t even have platonic friends these days. Once upon a time I did, but then I moved. Most of them had moved out of New York by that time anyway. You get past a certain age, and it’s not only hard to meet lovers, but it’s hard to meet platonic friends, too. Add to that having all the characteristics of a loser….

I have sought out professional help. In fact, two years ago, I put myself in the hospital because I was having a hard time getting the help I needed outside. It shouldn’t have come to that, but it’s harder to find help than you’d think. It has a lot to do with what insurance companies will offer. They’re geared up for emergency situations. Once you’re stabilized, then you’re sent back out, forty-eight hours and fare-thee-well.

Anyway, I do see a psychiatrist and I take medication. I think some talk therapy along with that would be useful, or could be, but finding a therapist to talk to you is tough, especially when all your talk is a perseverative, self-pitying mess.

A few years ago I tried online dating. In fact, I did it several times and did meet a several boyfriends that lasted about a year each. However, that was back before I moved to Baltimore and became depressed. Online dating is emotionally grueling. You have to be willing to subject yourself to massive amounts of negative comments in the hopes of meeting one person who isn’t a total jerk. There are plenty of nice people out there, but they’re hidden among people who range from neutral to mean. It was one thing to do that way back when, before I was depressed and when I had a reasonable level of self-esteem. Even then, the criticisms could have a temporary negative impact, but I was emotionally healthy enough to bounce back quickly. Now, I feel like it would be setting myself up for a potentially dangerous situation.

I’ve compiled a list of organizations and clubs to join, although so far I’ve only joined one. Meeting platonic friends can be even harder than meeting a boyfriend. How do you meet people? I just have to join a whole lot of things and hope for the best. I haven’t heard from my supposed best friend since January. He lives in another state. He never calls or writes anymore. I could email him, but why am I bothering? Why do I even still consider him a friend?

Complicating things a little bit is that I have a little social anxiety. That’s perhaps the only emotional problem I can remember having prior to going to college. It won’t keep me from going to any social events, but I find them very draining, so I won’t be able to load up a several week period with a whole lot of different things.

I feel like I have so many areas that need improvement, it’s like a juggling act and I’m trying to keep multiple balls in the air.

A boyfriend with whom I lived for a little while once observed that I don’t have a lot of “fun.” That was back when I was doing reasonably well. He was right, in a way. Everyone needs a little pleasure, enjoyment and fun in life. Back then, I was getting enough, at least for me even if it seemed paltry to him. But now, I really don’t have much enjoyment. Only part of that is the depression. A large part of that is reality. I really do live in a place where I know no one except my sister. These days, I wish I enjoyed television or movies, but I never really have. Just not a movie person.

I used to like dancing and I used to like going to hear live music, usually in a bar type of setting, not a big “rock concert” type of thing. However, those are past times for young people. I could probably go out and listen to music, but the sociable part of it might not be there because after a certain age you just become invisible. I don’t mean even flirting or picking up men, just interacting with people.

Humanity is brutal. When you’re weak, no one wants to know you.