Dear Dr. Beal:
I am not sure if this is a real problem or not but I am feeling so lonely right now. I moved here to Houston to be with my boyfriend because we were going to get married. He made me so happy, now I don’t feel that way anymore. We broke up three months ago and I am devastated. I cannot go home for the holidays because of COVID-19. My parents are elderly and I don’t want to put them at risk. I really feel so lonely and betrayed.
Never discount your feelings. If you are feeling a certain level of incompleteness it is valid because that is how you are feeling. Loneliness reflects one of the universal yet unique human emotions, and is different for each individual. Sometimes people experience loneliness and they are married or in a committed relationship. Loneliness is a state of mind, a state of solitude of feeling alone. It is described by psychologists as social pain- a psychological mechanism that motivates individuals to seek social connections. Your recent breakup with your boyfriend and being in a new city may be the reason for your current feelings. Once you are past the grieving process for your relationship you will be able to look for happiness. At any age loneliness can have detrimental effects on our overall health. It is a risk factor for depression and various forms of anxiety, as well as cognitive defect. Remember that happiness comes from within, not from others. If you are looking for a person to make you happy and appreciate you, the search will be very long and tireless. You first have to love you and be happy with yourself. Once that happens, when you find the right mate, the two of you will make each other very happy. Being alone may give you the opportunity to rediscover who you are. Decide what you like !
- Start to develop new relationships.
- Exercise and eat healthy.
- Join a gym, get a massage.
- Journal ! Write a book of poems !
- Take care of you !!!
Even though you are not able to travel home during the holidays ZOOM in with your parents. Watch your parents open gifts, and cook the same meal and eat together. It will not be the same but next year you can have a major celebration with two healthy adults. This has been a year of discovery and newness ! Enjoy YOU!!!
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“Good Mental Health Equals Mental Wealth”