TA Barnhart
a progressive voice from the Pacific Northwest

carpe bucko

unlonely, unhappy

2018-04-16 unlonely.png

I am not lonely. I am not happy.

Let’s go from there.

When I was little, I was lonely a lot. I am sure that did tremendous damage to my mental health, damage that was exacerbated by two things: bullying in elementary and junior high school, and the breakdown of my parents’ marriage. By the time I was a teenager, I had friends but I was still lonely.

(Which, of course, means I was horny and unsatisfied. I was a teenager and, in a healthy society, I’d have been having sex. Instead, I had guilt and masturbation and a dysfunctional relationship to sexuality that continues to this day.)

Today, I have years of living and all through all that I’ve experienced, I find I prefer living alone. Part of that is selfishness: I can do what I want, how I want, when I want. I do not need to share my life with a partner right now. I haven’t found such a partner, anyway, so it’s kind of moot. But my satisfaction at living alone is genuine.

I just want a few more people to hang out with now and then.

My unhappiness may have its roots in childhood loneliness, but that’s not my problem with happiness as an adult. My unhappiness is a symptom of my mental unhealthiness. I am unhappy because I know what my life could be and, instead, it is tremendously unfulfilling. I feel like Tantallus, with the cool water of what I know I am capable of forever receding from my reaching fingers.

How’s that for dramatic?

I had my first visit with my new mental health counselor, and we have the next six sessions planned. For the first time in my life, I am going to receive regular, weekly mental health treatment. I am so excited for the possibilities. I don’t know how things will go because I’ve been coming to understand the depth of my problems: a lifetime of anger, the pain of being publicly backstabbed by a friend three years ago, the buried traumas, and all that other good stuff.

But at least I can look at how I’m living my life and know that, to a certain degree, I’m good with it. Living alone is not a problem.

Living in pain is.

T.A. Barnhart