“You’re my rubber duck.”
This is what a client said to me recently.
What she was talking about is those little yellow rubber duckies. You know, the one Ernie loved in Sesame Street?
We were talking about how it helps to talk things out with someone. She has a good friend who talks to her about her daily problems and my client said, “I’m her rubber duckie…. And you’re mine.”
I mentioned to her that I’ve been seeing more of those rubber ducks in stores lately.
She, very knowledgeably, explained to me why I’m seeing more of them these days…
“Oh, that’s because of Rubber Duck Debugging”
“Yeah. Coders use rubber ducks to help them work out problems. Like, if they get stuck. They talk it through to a rubber duck. It helps them to verbalize the problem out loud. They’re processing it out loud. It helps them to see the problem…..”
I tell you, I learn something new from my clients almost daily.
The point of this conversation was how we need each other. How we all go through periods of loneliness. And, how, sometimes we forget how helpful it is to have someone to go to. Someone who can listen, without judgement, to what’s bothering us. Someone who can “be there” for us.
Loneliness and aloneness are tough states to be in. We can be surrounded by people on a daily basis…..at work, at school. But still feel so alone. And no one would necessarily know that you were feeling alone. Or we may be living alone. Stuck in our homes.
We often feel lonely when we go through a big life change. Like moving. Changing jobs. The birth of a child. A once-happy-marriage-turned-bad.
Or it could be you’re feeling depressed. Anxious. Insecure. Just shitty.
What are some ways to deal with loneliness?
A way to start is to find a way to get out what is on the inside. Getting out what you are feeling helps detoxify the feelings of loneliness. Maybe start with writing. Go buy a journal. You can buy them anywhere. Or just use a spiral notebook. Just start writing. Write your thoughts. Write what you’re feeling.
Or maybe think about joining a group. There are many online support groups for loneliness. I like www.dailystrEngth.org They have some great resources for support. Also, I think www.lonely-people-champion.com does a good job of helping to combat loneliness.
But, I also think that it’s important to try and get real face-to-face time with people. Maybe that’s going to a live support group. You can Google support groups in your area and see what’s around. I don’t even think it has to necessarily be a “Loneliness” support group. How about an Addiction Support group or a Self-Esteem support group? You might not relate to everything being discussed, but I bet there will be a lot that will resonate with you. These groups have, what they call, open meetings, where the meeting is open to the public. You can go and just sit and observe. Or you can, if you feel up to it, say something. Start by just introducing yourself. That can be it. But you will be there.
This is a small step towards moving you away from isolation. Think about calling a family member or friend. Sometimes we just have to make that first move. Even if you get their voicemail; you will have reached out. And that’s something to acknowledge.
When I had my first child I went through a funky depression and loneliness. I had no idea what hit me. I felt so isolated and alone. Here I was, with a newborn and family around me. Excited and happy people. But I was miserable.
You know what helped me? First of all, getting sleep. I had no idea, at that time in my life, how important sleep would be to my sense of not feeling lonely. But the second most important thing? Talking to someone. But….. it took me many months to start talking about it. I felt weird and a little freakish that I would be feeling so alone. So what did I do? Not talk about it. Which, looking back, was the worse thing I could have done.
I finally mentioned to a friend that I might be feeling a little “closed in”. She “got it” and wow.
That really, really helped.
So, reach out. In some way. Start a journal. Write down how you feel. Go online and find like-feeling people. Call someone. Text. Then get out of your home. Go for a walk. If you can. Look up local support groups. Go to one. Call a counselor. Someone who will understand you and where you’re coming from.
And remember, you are not alone. There are people out there who feel the same way. You just haven’t met them yet.
*Of course, if you ever feel suicidal, it’s of the utmost importance that you reach out. Immediately. Call the suicide prevention hotline. (1-800-273-8255). Or, call 911.
Anna is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Highland Park, Il.