I'm a left leaning centrist atheist in a town of nothing but bible thumping christian conservatives, the type of people that would Lynch you for a burrnie bumper sticker.
I also suffer from anxiety and depression
My question is this, to anybody in a similar situation how do you deal with the dread of never ending loneliness?
The dread of growing old and dying alone?
I don't know what I'm expecting from asking but yeah...
Welcome to the asylum. Enjoy your stay.
I joined this site strictly for community, and it has FAR exceeded my expectations.
I've made wonderful friends through this site. Those friendships have helped to sustain me through some difficult times.
Living surrounded by bible-thumpers is not the most enjoyable experience, but I've managed to survive it. Some aren't nearly as bad as others.
On the other hand, I really have no problem challenging those who decide they want to be more aggressive with their beliefs.
When people know they won't get away with their bullshit with you, they tend to back off.
For some, I know that's easier said than done, but sometimes, we have to be bold and stand our ground.
I have straight-up told people that I don't believe in their god and really don't care what they think it wants.
I have also found that the direct approach works best for me. I know that doesn't apply to everyone, but I sure wish it did. I think it would be really helpful to some folks if they actively stopped worrying about what other people think.
As far as anxiety and depression go, I deal with both to varying degrees.
Medication is helpful. Managing anxiety has become easier because of it.
Depression is a whole other thing.
It comes and goes. I've gotten to where I can reason myself out of it, most times.
When that fails, medication is helpful there, too.
I am not above asking for help when I need it.
Through therapy, I've been able to identify my motivations and where most of my triggers lie. It helps with understanding why I may feel the way I do, and allows for reasoning.
I don't dread growing old and dying alone. I'm already 60, so there's that, and none of us know what our future holds.
I had pretty much accepted that I would be alone for the rest of my life, and had no problem with it. I value my privacy, and didn't care if I shared my space with another man again. I was good.
Then, as life likes to prove that we never know what's coming our way, love showed up.
After cultivating a really great friendship with a former member of this site, things changed, and now there is a relationship.
Don't believe that things as they appear now are how they are always going to be.
You simply do not know that.
Cut yourself some slack.
If you're unhappy where you are, think about the steps you can take to change things.
Always be open to the fact that you do have options. Even if it doesn't feel like it today. Tomorrow has the potential for being different.
Good luck to you going forward.
The first and most important thing to do, is to understand that problems often do solve themselves in the most surprising ways. Human lives are long and things change, frequently in ways you can not even begin to guess. But the second thing to understand, is that, to give yourself the best chance of seeing things change, you have to be active and willing to adventure. The only people for whom nothing ever changes, is those who sit on their hands.
The first thing to try, if trying to find a way out of aloneness is. If you want society, then make a contribution to society. Since the churches are closed to you, find a secular charity or two and become a worker for them, be it raising funds for cancer research, helping run the local museum, a wildlife sanctuary, taking old people out, the list is endless and there is something for every taste. You will soon find lots of sub-communities you can become a part of without going to church. And you never know, as you build a place for yourself in that world, you may get really lucky, and one day one of your co-workers may say. "There is someone you really should meet, you have so much in common."
The second thing is understand there is a big world out there beyond the limits of Carolina. Travel and learn about it, then even move house, if you have to. Why should you not choose where you live for yourself, rather than leaving it to the accident of birth or the company you work for, to choose it for you ? Would you choose a marriage partner, by picking a name out of a hat ? Therefore why let your home and travel limits be chosen for you, just by chance ?
And lastly understand that you are not alone, even if it sometimes seems that you are, there are a lot of connections to a lot of people, that you have made already, just count the comments below. And this is just one strand of life.
You are YOUNG!!!! Stand up and look the big picture, you are currently looking at a chess board on the same angle as the pieces. That makes life complicated and with short pathways full of obstacles.
We are here for you!!! There are some grumpy and rude ones around, but there are amazing ones too. I made great friends here.
First up, talk to your doctor. There are multiple causes for the symptoms you describe.
Different medications have different success rates for different people. Depending on the underlying cause or causes, any medication may be for life or until the symptoms dissipate. Relapse is possible in the latter case.
Fear of loneliness is a real possibility, however you are the person best placed to answer that implicit question. A counselor will be of assistance here. There may be other issues as well.
If you have the option of moving to another part of the country then do your homework in advance. Things to look for: same-sex marriages, public toplessness permitted, low attendance figures at churches, history of voting Democrat.
Online friendships might appeal to you, in which case "the world is your oyster".
Please let us know how you get on - thanks.
I'm 50 and alone and I've accepted the fact that I will almost certainly be alone for the rest of my life. I'm not happy about that but I've always been pretty good at being alone. I'm introverted and enjoy many solitary things like reading and watching movies and TV. I go out to restaurants alone and take a book to read. I do have some social life as well as interact with people online. It all helps but its not a substitute for intimacy.
So, I guess I've simply grown used to being alone. Most of the time I'm okay with it, sometimes I even prefer it. And when loneliness starts to overwhelm me I somehow manage to get through it.
Though not frequently I do get depressed. Very rarely is it severe and usually is only for a short while.
For me, the loneliness has just become a part of me that I try and push into a corner of my mind and forget about as much as I can.
As for growing old... it doesn't thrill me but I only know one way to prevent it and I've never been willing to do that.
So, if there's an answer to your question I sure don't know what it is and I doubt I ever will. My best advice is to find things that you do enjoy. These things won't negate the loneliness but they might distract you enough that you forget about it for a while.
I'm sad that you feel so depressed and anxious. I hope you will contact the doctor and try some medication for those feelings.
I also hope nicer weather and a lessening if the covid plague will encourage you to get outside for the most strenuous exercise that is possible for you. If I had not been able to take walks in the country during the isolation of the initial covid plague, I would have needed medication for depression. I might have needed it anyway because I did gain some weight that I'm having a hard time getting rid of.
Oklahoma occasionally is listed as the reddest state in the nation, yet I have a liberal coffee group that I have joined. I promise you, you will not find any liberal friends in your house.
A counselor can help. Prescription medication can be a surprisingly simple answer for some people.
This may not be your cup of tea, but some UU congregations have a sizable number of atheist, Humanist, and agnostic members. (One of the ministers in the local one here is an atheist, the other is drawn mostly to Buddhism. But it varies with the congregation.) You can even skip the churchy services and go for social and other activities or small, special interest groups.
UUC of Fayetteville
You have identified a problem and you are reaching out for help. Those are two very big steps. The third move would be to find a qualified mental health professional that you are comfortable with.
You are two thirds of the way there, so the question is...Are you ready?
You have an interest in photography. May I ask what kind?
Please let us know how you are doing. You are not alone.
It took me quite a while to get in terms with being alone and, instead of complaining, I do the best I can and try to be self-sufficient. I became extremely independent. It's also my way of saying, especially to people with bad intentions: "I don't need you, I can do very well by myself ".I have also realised that I'm not really built to be in a relationship so I just accept it and carry on. Of course there are better days than others. About your depression and anxiety, are you being medicated? Does it help? As you are naturally a different person than I am, from a different environment and culture, that will affect us straight away and that will mean you have to find your own way. By talking about it, I think it was wise, you let it out and hopefully helped a bit. Take care and I wish you all the best, hopefully you'll find a way that works for you.
I have a bit of experience with some of these issues. First, and this is most important, seek medical help for your anxiety and depression. There’s no shame in taking appropriate drugs. It might take a few tries to find the one(s) that work.
As to friends, I can only tell you what I did to meet new people. joined three running clubs, joined a community gym, joined a number of Meetup groups including a Humanist and Atheist group, volunteered, and attended trivia nights (pre-COVID).
Eventually, I found people I liked and became more active in those few groups. Good luck
As a reclusive misanthrope I can identify with all this. My situation is similar in my area and I have anxiety and depression. I have never ending loneliness. Where my situation starts being different is that I have no "dread of growing old and dying alone." I am very much aware that this might be my lot as my life comes to a close but I am not wanting others all around me or sharing things I find personal to me. I cannot imagine dying with my family all around me, nor do I like birthday parties, etc. To entertain children birthdays are OK, but my life is all about me. Depressed but never bored, I'm not into taking my grandson fishing. I have my own agenda but I admit being around my great granddaughter (she's 6) for an afternoon is challenging. Quinny's attention turns to me after her little friends disappear but I'm not sure I could go through this daily. LOL I regret physical limitations and when death finally catches me I prefer no pain. In the meantime, I have lots of self centered unfinished business.
Take heart Friend, trust me with effort it does get better, slowly and steadily better.
I was on Antidepressants, a daily dose of 30mgms per day from 2001 have now been Antidepressants FREE since mid-February this year, do NOT try to rush things or yourself, just stick to the medications as per prescribed, when it come to venturing outside of your "safety zone" try it in little steps each time, it took me 20 attempts before I could actually go to the mailbox in daylight, they were always night/evening trips prior to that, then after that small but significant success I started testing myself even further and harder until my first ever attempt at Solo Grocery shopping, nerve-racking and terrifying to say the least, but I forced myself to do it and scored another win.
So, if an OLD Fart like me can do it I'll lay Odds on bets that you can as well.
And, imo, while you allow YOURSELF to remain shut away those God-mobsters will be having a field-day congratulation each other because they WILL think that you are SCARED of them, so PLEASE try your utmost NOT to let them win.
I hear and feel your pain. I am living a similar situation. All I can suggest is what I try my best to do, which is, keep as busy as possible and hang on as tight as possible with my local friends. I try to call them and talk to them as frequently as I can reach them. On top of that, I try to get together with them as well as often as they have time for. Our lives are not easy when we have no partner and live in an alienating environment. It's enough to depress anybody.