I have a lot of mental issues. Aside from my depression, I also have a problem with agoraphobia. It’s been a lot easier to manage in recent years, but ten years ago I’d have a panic attack whenever I left the house. So I didn’t leave. I found comfort and companionship in the internet.
I LOVE the internet. You can find anything and everything you want somewhere online, and probably things you don’t want to find too. There was a time when even if I didn’t see or speak to a person in weeks, I was never lonely, because I had a whole community of friends online. From all over the world. So at any time of day or night, whatever was on my mind, I always had someone to talk to.
Things have changed a lot since then. I moved, and my agoraphobia subsided. I went to university, I met people IRL. I became a little more normal. But then I had my big breakdown, and dropped out of university, and had major money issues, and stopped getting regular bus tickets, and stopped going out and…
I deny it. Whenever anyone mentions that I don’t go out, I tell them that it’s just because I have nowhere to go. But it’s more than that. I don’t WANT to go out. I don’t have anywhere to go, but I could go for a walk. I started to, when I was activating the Puppy Plan. Then I broke up with Neil and didn’t go out for walks anymore. A part of me wants to go out for a walk, but a bigger part of me really, REALLY doesn’t want to leave the house. There are lots of things I could do. I could use £3 on a payday to get a dayrider and ride the buses around randomly… I enjoy that. Or I could go for a walk. I could just go and sit on the grass across the road and read a damn book. But I don’t want to. I’m lonely, but Inside is safe, and Outside is not. I don’t know what I think will happen. I just want to stay indoors where I’m safe. And yes, I’m fully aware that this is a problem that needs dealing with, but it’s not actually why I’m writing.
I’ve lived in solitude before, and wasn’t lonely. But I’m lonely now. In the past I’ve had “text harems”. A dozen people I could text when I was feeling blue, or just bored. Now there are 41 contacts on my phone and only 9 of them are actual people as opposed to businesses. Most of those are family. There are precisely three people I can talk to when I’m bored or miserable. One is too busy with work. One is my exboyfriend who I’m still in love with and probably shouldn’t even be talking to. One currently has enough problems of his own.
Aside from missing the text harem, the internet is starting to feel like a lonely place too. I talk to dozens of people, but mostly on the Ravelry swaps I run, and people there are usually annoyed with me being so OCD and persistent about my listkeeping and checks. My MSN contacts list has only a few people on it, and most of them are never online (or have me blocked). I have 37 friends on Facebook, and nearly all of them are family. Social networking is HUGE at the moment… so how come I don’t have any friends? Am I really that repulsive that even my online persona isn’t worth talking to?