Feeling lonely while being surrounded by friends and family

How can it be, she wonders. I’m around so many people … my family, my friends, the people from work, the families from church. There are people all around me this time of year. In fact, I almost never have a moment by myself.

And yet, I feel so alone.

How can that be? How can someone who spends her waking hours around the people she loves and the people whose company she enjoys feel so lonely? It’s so hard to explain … it’s like a fog that wraps around me. I can be standing right next to my sisters, and yet I feel that I’m miles away from them. I feel detached. Sometimes I even feel like I’m watching myself from across the room … I just can’t seem to connect…

I used to love the holidays. I couldn’t wait for them to come. Even after I became an adult, it was the highlight of my year. Throughout September and October, I looked for new cookie recipes and wandered through stores thinking about what I could get everyone. Putting up the decorations, heating the holiday potpourri, playing Christmas carols.

I want to feel joyful. And somehow I can’t. Is there something wrong with me?

It’s the story of so many people.

As a therapist, I see the holidays differently. In my personal life, it’s that wonderful time when we get to connect with people we don’t see often enough, and when we allow ourselves to splurge a little more than normal. But in my professional role, I know that the holidays can be difficult for people. Some slide deeper into debt. Others indulge in too much food or drink. Many see the year ending and despair of unmet goals. Couples bicker with each other and children frustrate their parents. It’s probably why suicide rates go up this time of year.

There are any number of factors that affect people negatively during the holiday season. Whether it’s a matter of unrealistic goals, unfulfilled desires, strained relationships, or some combination, they create feelings of inadequacy, of fear or anxiety, of detachment, and of loneliness.  If the holidays stir any of those feelings in you, it’s possible that you might have wondered what’s wrong with you, too.

Nothing’s “wrong” with you. You’re human, and none of us is perfect. But if those feelings are interfering with your sense of joy, of fulfillment, or of wanting to be around others, you’re dealing with something different. That’s when talking to a professional counselor can help. Our role isn’t to “fix” you.  It’s to help you better understand yourself and those around you. It’s to help you peel back the layers to discover why you react the way you do, and to develop new ways of dealing with those things. It’s about helping you rediscover the purpose God has for you and living that life to the fullest.

There’s no need to spend another day feeling bad about feeling bad. Call us and set up a time to meet with us. We’ll help you find a way to make the holidays happier … and a lot less lonely. You are worth making the connection, and we’re here for you.

April Bordeau is one of our co-owners and Therapist at Care to Change. 

For more information about Care to Change, check out our website and previous news articles.