The loneliness of a single mother 

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I tweeted a while ago that I have been trying to write a blog post about the loneliness that comes from being a single parent. It was rather touching that so many women tweeted back with a ‘me too’. 
This isn’t going to be a social analysis of why single mothers feel so isolated as I don’t have the intellect or the energy so apologises for the lack of facts! This is simply my account of how it feels. 
To cut a long story short, I’m a single parent for the second time. I have three children and in the last 9 years we have moved house 5 times – 4 times were in 4 of those years. This has meant upheaval of all kinds, from the changing of schools to the loss of friendships. When I left my ex husband in 2012, I found that after a few months, a lot of my friends just disappeared off the radar. Since then, I’ve struggled to meet any new people. 
I no longer have to do the school run as all three have a school bus and I now live in an area that is far from the people I mixed with. In short, I feel like a bit lost and rather sorry for myself. People that I thought would stand by me, buggered off when my life took such a different path to theirs. I was no longer a married mother with a mortgage etc like them. Maybe it scared them, maybe they thought I might bring them bad luck or maybe I changed and they no longer liked me. I’m not sure that I need to know why though! 
The impact on my self esteem has been huge. Where is my place in society now? It hurts when people tell me to ‘get a life’ or make stupid comments on Twitter like ‘I bet they have no friends’ as it’s true. I’m a total loser! I feel trapped in a life that I didn’t sign up for and no, I’m not moaning about being a mum. I’m moaning that I’ve lost myself and my life along the path that I have been forced to take. The path has turned into a massive rut that’s pretty impossible to get out of.
My ME/CFS, lack of money, inability to drive a car, shyness and so many other little things prevent me from climbing out of this hole that I’ve found myself in. I’m also terrified that people don’t like me or won’t like me. Maybe the reason why I have hardly any friends is that I’m not very likeable. I know people who really do lighten up a room when they walk in and their energy really is infectious, the same cannot be said for me! My social anxiety and lack of people skills can make me seem cold and negative *sigh* 
The odd thing is, I never thought that my life would be like this. I’ve been delusional enough to believe that I was put on this earth to be so much more than hum drum beige. Yes, being a single mother and looking after three kids is a very valid thing to do – I’m talking about having something in my life that is separate from my identity as a mother. I wasn’t born a mother after all. And yes, I do have a boyfriend but that doesn’t change my social isolation from needing (and I do mean needing) women in my life. 
When I’ve attended support groups, they have this wonderful ability to bring back the spring in your step. Surrounding yourself with like minded or even life minded women is a truly uplifting experience. For whatever reason, I’ve not been able to keep those friendships going once those groups finish. I’m convinced that lack of transport has a huge affect on my ability to socialise – so if you don’t have a driving licence and have the money to get one, get one! I wish I had when I was younger and had the cash to do so. 
As the rain pours down outside, I know I face another week of sitting in the house on my own. I go to my art class once a week but I don’t see it a social time, it’s my art time. There are other groups that I could do to but I can’t afford the bus fare or the risk to my energy levels. 
As a single mother, no one is there to cook, clean, wash and so forth apart from me. I have to balance my limited social life with my limited energy levels. There’s no way I can just not cook dinner or not make sure everyone has clean clothes. I hear women say that they wouldn’t know what to do without their partner, I can tell you what you will do – bloody everything and then have no one to gripe about it to last thing at night! 
I was hoping that writing this all down would help me feel better, I think that I feel worse! I’m so sick of being invisible and worthless to the world. My teenage self was so wrong to think that I was somehow special and destined to do something extraordinary. At the same time, I don’t wish to just roll over and accept my lot in life. I guess I need to patient and let my life evolve a little more. 
Love, tea and crochet

Exxx 

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My Christmas Message to You

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Ok …. My second attempt at writing about Christmas ….. Last time it was thwarted by a man but I’m not going to use this post to tell you what an utter arsehole he is … No, I’m better than that.

This is my Christmas message to those who aren’t having such a wonderful time right now.

Christmas and New Year’s are one of the worst times of the year. Let’s face it, it is the time of year when you are reminded of everything that is wrong about your life. Why else do New Year’s resolution exist?! To make us feel we are not good enough and we need to change.

Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, doing something that improves your physical or mental health is actually a pretty good thing. Anyway, I’m getting distracted already!

Whilst we all know that everyone isn’t having a jolly old time, it doesn’t take away how low we might be feeling. If, like me, you suffer from depression (and ptsd and Mecfs) there’s no logic involved in why you feel so so low. When you hear of other’s grief or suffering it just compounds the feelings of despair. Please don’t lose your compassion though.

You may not even be alone for Christmas. I have my children and my cat with me. I’m doing all that I can to focus on that fact and yet I have this awful burning in my chest. Us depressed people are an awkward bunch; we feel sad at being alone, we feel alone when we’re not and sometimes we just want to be alone. Right now, I’m sat with my children and desperately want to curl up into a ball and hide for about three months.

How do we endure it? By remembering that we are ok and life changes. There may be people out there having a wonderful time and feeling all loved up and cosy … It’s not their fault. Clichés aplenty I’m afraid but we can’t give up on hope.

Try not to fight Christmas, it’s here and soon it will be gone. Maybe next year will be better, maybe it won’t however, hope will always be there. Cling on to that if you have nothing else to hold on to. Cling on to those who are near you even if you’d rather push them all away and if you don’t have anyone then reach out to those who don’t have anyone either ….. If all of that is too much then find a safe place and just be.

So here it is …..

My Christmas message to you is to hold on to hope. Yep, simple and as complicated as that.

Love, tea and hugs
Exxx

And here is rather awful poem I wrote a few years ago ….

Christmas in the UK

It’s mild, wet and windy
No snow on the ground
The kids are running riot
And the Christmas tree’s turned brown
The Silver Band are tipsy
As they play carols on the street
No one wants breakfast
They’re all full of sweets!
Turkey in the oven
But I’m having nut roast
I need special gravy
Such a pain for the host
Presents are opened and everyone’s full
Time to relax now and and watch Dr Who
Children in bed now, the clocks ticks past two
Another Christmas is over, another Christmas is through.

2012

The loneliness of being a single parent

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How do you cope with loneliness when you’re not really alone?

Being a single parent, with a cat, extended family and friends I shouldn’t feel that alone. It’s not like I’m an isolated elderly woman, forgotten in a council flat somewhere. I guess I’m just a terribly needy people.

I find my neediness to be quite an ugly trait of mine. When I first meet people, I do a pretty good job of pretending to be a strong, independent woman. That mask slips quite quickly and all my insecurities come flowing out like a river that’s been dredged. Awful.

Just to confuse you, I have been in relationships where I have felt utterly alone too. The more I think about it, the more I realise how long I have spent feeling alone.

Right now, having three youngish children to care for and CFS etc, it is difficult to get out there and meet new people. My social life – what social life!! I know when I’ve tried internet dating,people have asked why on earth am I single?! I’m thinking it’s all me – I give off vibes that suggest I’ll be a pain in the arse to date!

I think I’m quite simple really. I need attention and hugs. Shower me with gifts by all means but that doesn’t make me feel loved or cared for.

Due to this loneliness affliction, I have ended up in relationships that have not been good – as you probably already know….. I have been swept off my feet and made to feel amazing. I really thought I had it all and all those fears of dying alone vanished. Sadly, it was all a massive lie and this wonderful, charming man turned out to be something from a horror film.

My loneliness makes me more vulnerable to abuse. My need for love and affection and human contact is actually quite harmful. Yes, people can chose not to be abusive but I also need to find a way to be happy on my own.

When I’m in this awful state of mind, it feels like everyone has someone to hug at night, to talk to about their day, to share the day with, eat meals with, have sex with, have someone who is on your side ……. I know that isn’t the case, just how I feel. My life is my kids and my house and that’s it. When they are asleep I just sit in the living room, I rarely bother to watch the TV these days. When my kids are at school I sleep and when they are off school, I just do my best to survive the day.

Now I’m in my mid thirties, I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that there is no special person out there for me. I will need to struggle on in life alone. No one’s going to hold my hand at night or offer to cook dinner because I’ve had a shite day. I say, I’m coming to terms with it …. That’s actually a complete lie. All it does is make me want to end it all. Life is too painful for me right now.

Experiencing domestic abuse has left me so wounded I’m not sure anyone could cope to live with me. I think my only option is to struggle on until the kids are grown up and then jump off a bridge or something. I can’t do this anymore, I really can’t. No amount of medication or counselling is going to remedy this. As a psychiatric nurse told me years ago, anti depressants won’t help you, it’s your life that’s getting you down. I’m worn out with fighting against it, I’ve had enough of the battle and I’m too impatient to wait for things to improve ( they haven’t improved for over 20 yrs so can’t see it changing anytime soon).

Sometimes when I write a post, I feel slightly lifted. You know, like you’ve off loaded a burden that’s been heavy on your shoulders. Not this time. Not this time.