edited December 1969 in Personal Issues
Hello everyone,

I am really suffering from loneliness. It is extremely painful. Occasionally there are people that I am able to socialise with - mostly from church - but I don't feel that I am particularly close to anyone.

I may have high expectations of the definition of a "friend".  But I truly feel that the people around me can't understand me. I am also worried that I am too self absorbed and that's the reason why I fail to see anything good around me.

Other info:
I have been suffering from depression on and off for a while. I chose not to take medication because I wanted to avoid being dependant on drugs. I have tried counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy. The counselling was not helpful at all. The CBT was slightly helpful but not massively.

However, I am very good at putting on a "happy" face and people that I have told about my low mood said they could not tell at all at first, and only when we are discussing deep matters is when my pessimistic opinions show through, so I don't think my low mood is the main reason I can't connect with people.

How common is my experience amongst you guys? Anybody feels the same?


  • many people go through this. did u speak to your confession father?
    feel free to send p.m. no need to put details on the public forum.
    keep up with yr spiritual life and may God bless u.
  • when I am with the Lord then I am not alone
    People can't ever Fulfill my Loneliness
    I Speak to myself not you, Dear Sis
    Jesus Bless You & Us
  • Dear Mnc_Hnn,

    I do share your pain. Because I also feel deeply lonely at times. Yes, I always know that the Lord is with me and He satisfies all my needs. But in my weakness I tell myself I am a social animal and need human company.

    I have talked to many people. People who are outgoing and extrovert. I am always surprised to find out that they also feel lonely at times. This has lead me to the conclusion that we all have an unquenchable need to be with others.

    In my understanding, loneliness is not simply being home by yourself but not finding people who are like minded. Not finding people who share your thoughts, your happiness, your worries and your sorrow. In this regard we are usually lonely as the Bible tells us: “The heart knows its own bitterness,
and a stranger does not share its joy.” Proverbs 14:10

    When I feel lonely I sometimes think of our Lord Jesus Christ: how crowds surrounded him when he was teaching by the sea side. Actually there were so many of them that he had to step on a boat. How people crowded Him that they have to break the roof of a house and lower the paralytic man. And Zacchaeus had to climb the tree to see him. And the woman who was bleeding touched his cloth but His disciples told him “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”. So, we see that Jesus was never physically lonely. But no one shared his thoughts, not even his disciples. And on the cross everyone left him except His mother and St. John. On the cross not only was He lonely in his thoughts but also physically. And as Bishop Kallistos Ware wrote Christ felt even separated from the Father and he cried “My Lord, My Lord, why have you forsaken me?”.

    If I am calm enough to remember the above I feel less lonely. Because God have blessed me with two or three people that truly share my thoughts. Yes, they don’t live or work with me and I don’t see them everyday. But I know they are only a phone call away. That is all a man can ask for in life; not a multitude of companions but one or two people that shares your thoughts. If you don’t have such people in your life yet it is only a matter of time until you meet them.

    Mnc_Hnn, let me tell you something. There is no place as convenient as the church to meet such people. Actually, let me change that to church service. If you are active in the church service it is bound that you will run into other servants who share your passion for service. Based on this common area you can build a flourishing friendship with many people. You will still feel lonely at times but you will be lonely not in the world but the Garden of Gethsemane.

    In Christ
  • Thank you so much theophilus for your reply. I think I agree with everything you said here!

    The verse from proverbs literally describes all I feel in one sentence.

    It is also very insightful when you talked about Jesus; it has never occurred to me that Jesus suffered the same way I am now. When I think of Jesus, I just think of a strong strong man who coped with everything.

    I also agree with you very much that I would be happy enough if I find the few, or one person who can be a true friend/ companion in this life, to share my thoughts with. I definitely am not the kind of person who thinks quality is quantity :)

    Also I totally understand what you mean about the service. The only problem is, my local coptic church isn't really for me, let me explain:

    I do not want to sound like I discriminate, but the congregation is from a different country and treat me differently. They have a different culture to my family and I often find them intimidating and too much "in my face".

    Secondly, the church has too many conflicts and problems that their service had no leader and I would be scared (not exaggerating) to be part of this tension.

    But I would have loved to join a choir or serve in Sunday school. I just can't be in that place. Maybe I am just abnormal - but these people are vicious, even the priests always shout and scream all the time, that I force myself to attend church just so I can have communion.

    All in all, this is not how I imagined what my life will be at my age. I grew up in a church in Egypt and looked up to the servants and thought that this is what I will do when I reach their age. Disappointed slightly but also feel that my life is empty. Maybe I am naive or something, but within a year of being in my current church, people had already hurt me emotionally. I was too innocent thinking that people in church are all good people.

    So there you go, I cannot connect with anyone because I feel a stranger everywhere I go. Even when I was young, I had the same feeling that I do not "belong" anywhere. I have a huge family on both of my parents' sides and I still felt that I was not part of them (I live in a different country to where the rest of the family is now).

    I keep worrying that there might be something wrong with me as a social being?
  • Hi Mnc,

    I doubt it if you have anything wrong with you. However, it might be beneficial to seek medical care. Most people have a stigma against medical care in such cases but it might just give you the bump you need to get over the hump. Most of us have some kind of “baggage” we cary from childhood. A thought that obsess us since childhood or something that happened early on. I believe you can lead quite a normal life despite such experiences.

    It is unfortunate that your church has so many problems. I can’t fully understand your situation but I can share with you some parts of my life which I think you can relate with. During my time in the U.S. I have become quite familiar with a few Orthodox Churches. I have gone to a Coptic church for almost five years because a terrible canonical schism that happened in my Eritrean Orthodox Church. Our patriarch was deposed by the government and we were asked to follow a false shepherd. I can’t tell you the pain this schism had caused in our local church but suffice it to say that some of us had to leave the church and join the Coptic church. During my time at the Coptic church I have experienced great love. This is not to say that I never felt a cultural disconnect or struggled to fit in. There were also a few incidents that made me cringe but looking back everyone was trying their best. At the end it was all worth it!!!

    I have also attended an OCA and an Ethiopian church in my city and visited Orthodox Churches from different traditions whenever I travel.

    Oh did I talk about cultural shock - living in the U.S. as an immigrant. Well there is that too.   

    As an Eritrean who grow up in Ethiopia and living in the U.S. it is not always clear where I fit it in. Talk about identity crisis :-\. I simply made a choice and stick with it. Maybe not as simple as that but you get the picture.   

    We all have a mission in life. I strongly believe we came into the world for a specific reason - to answer a specific call. If you can find your calling then your realize everything else that worries you in life is background noise. Serve in your local church despite all the challenges. This will build your character and you will be surprised how much you can withstand. The righteous Abba Paul said: "He who flees from tribulation has fled from God". I know it is easy said than done but may God give you His strength.

    Coming to your second point regarding not having friends I wish I had a simple answer. In my opinion, and I might be wrong, it will be beneficial if you work on other areas of your life for now. For example, exercising regularly, your prayer life, volunteering, concentrating on your education/career, serving in your church, having a hobby, etc. This will help you in many ways:

    1. Help you to be a well rounded person.
    2. Have less free time on your hand to be alone with your thoughts thinking about loneliness or other things that worry you.
    3. Be prepared to receive God’s blessing whether it is having a friend or something else.
    4. other reasons I can't think of now.

    In addition, don’t look for deep relationships right off the bat but welcome superficial ones also. Greet people when you see them and have small chats with them. It takes years for acquaintances to morph into a life-long friendships.

    P.S. Please run whatever I say by you father confessor since he can give you more personalized suggestions. And I don’t want to be guilty of misleading you. 

    With Love
  • No longer have close friends, been single for the past 4 years. So, I feel your pain.

    Talking to my Spiritual Father helped me a lot! Though it’s hard, try to pray about it. May God heal us!!!
  • [quote author=Ortho link=topic=14584.msg165783#msg165783 date=1377806169]

    Talking to my Spiritual Father helped me a lot! Though it’s hard, try to pray about it. May God heal us!!!

    How did it help?
    So, are you used to being lonely? I don't know if I'll ever get used to it. Are we supposed to get used t it?
    Life just has no taste, no feel. If only suicide wasn't a sin (sorry, had to say it).
  • David had feelings of loneliness he said his close friends and relatives forsook him but because he was close to God he said it is better to be a door keeper in the house of God than dwell in the tents of wickedness
    Christians are not lone rangers they belong to a body seek out those who call on the LORD out of a pure heart
    You are not supposed to be lonely if you can not endure it
    New wine in old wine skins will break it
    Take my yoke upon you for my yoke is easy and my burden is light
    But loneliness is sometimes required if sin is involved
    Yes all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution
    The way is narrow and difficult

    Psalm 4:7
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    7 You have put gladness in my heart,
    More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.

    This is a fruit of the spirit

    If anyone is suffering let him pray

    O daughter of Babylon who is to be destroyed happy is he who takes your little ones and dashes them against the Rock and that rock is the Christ

    Being a Christian does not mean you have to be out of the world but you are there to sanctify it and give it salt I guess a fruit bearing monk may also give salt but Jesus said let your light shine before all men one must be called to be a monk and that was because God made him a eunuch
    Maybe monks are more successful but there is a great danger for the soul of the one who chooses to be a monk when it is not Gods will and he is harmful to the world perhaps

    You are allowed to be in the world but not get caught up in its luxuries or glories and neglect connecting with the Holy Spirit
    St Paul says to pray always

    I however am not mature enough to be in the world and not let its errors affect me I would rather leave it for a time to give myself to fasting and prayer assuming I am in error as the church thinks but I am not in error God does not require me to be worried
    But even though there is an eternal damnation for sin must have consequences if it can not be preached with love it is not done the way the Spirit would do it which instructs us to preach it with meekness and fear and showing humility to all men we must show love and comfort to all and the only way I know how to do it in the world is to assume universal salvation otherwise I would seem repulsive and put burdens too hard to bear
    Satan already has made people have too much despair

    Maybe I am not worthy of being in the world as I don't spend much time with God
  • [quote author=mnc_hnn link=topic=14584.msg165784#msg165784 date=1377822632]
    Life just has no taste, no feel. If only suicide wasn't a sin (sorry, had to say it).

    Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life." -John 14:6

    "Taste and see that the Lord is good;
        blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." -Psalm 34:8

    I know I'm not addressing your topic itself - I really am in no position to do so, but I thought I'd share the first thing that came to my mind when you said "Life has no taste". Just a small input..
  • edited May 2014
    I've gotten used to loneliness... loneliness sucks at first but once you get used to it, it doesnt suck and everything else starts to suck.
  • may God guide all of you.
    some people are lonely because they have a form of autism (probably a mild form or you would not understand how to use the computer).
    don't confuse this with a mental health problem or sin, it is different.
    if you have this, you just need a lot of patience in your life because people find it harder to understand you or to get to know you.
    they can't help that. it is a bit like they are disabled because they are not autistic enough to understand you.

    so you see that if you are a bit autistic, you have the gift of understanding autistic people and (with a lot of effort) understanding non autistic people too. so it can be a gift coz you can form a link between the 2 types of people. ( i mean in small numbers. just don't invite a lot of autistic friends with a lot of non autistic friends together in one room as they will have trouble understanding each other).

    if you have a mental health problem, the doctor can help you and if you have a sin problem, the priest can help you.
    if you don't know what it is, a good priest or an older spiritual person in the church can often help.

    don't give up trying to get help, because once you have started to feel better, you can help others in ways that no one else can.
    i have had a lot of loneliness in my past (especially in childhood) and it is lots, lots better now and so now i can help people because i didn't give up in my search to get better. (i won't give more details on a public forum).

    so if you all just keep looking for the answer (which can be found in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His church), you will be soon helping others as well.
    so don't give up, or you will prevent lots of people from getting help (from you) in the future and that would be sad.
    (esp. mnc_hnn who has written some really brilliant posts on other threads)

    with love from auntie mabsoota
  • thanks for using your qualifications to address my psychological issues and diagnose me with a mild form of autism which is just mild enough for me to be using a computer :)

  • [quote author=sodr2 link=topic=14584.msg165818#msg165818 date=1378149255]
    thanks for using your qualifications to address my psychological issues and diagnose me with a mild form of autism which is just mild enough for me to be using a computer :)

    This is funny.

    I diagnosed myself with too many things that I'm beginning to think "erm, maybe I should be admitted to a mental hospital"

    The autism one is a bit extreme though? For me, I thought social anxiety suited me fine

    I have a question:

    I find it hard to take people (they are ones i know in real life) seriously when they write to me and they make spelling mistakes. Like, I lose respect for them and think that I should be trying to find different people to communicate with. Am I just a bad person?

    I worry that if I talk to people who are for instance, less intelligent, that I will eventually become like them
  • One knows ones own state before God if He gave Him His heart truly or only His mouth
    If He listens to God or tradition
    Many say good things but they don't do them you may think you know someone by their words but when you spend time with them you realise they never really loved God or men

    Better not to spend time with weird people if you are afraid of being one and then you blame them if people think you are one just love them in your heart but you can't ignore them or despise them unless they are trying to embarrass you and make you appear stupid and somehow stop you from standing with the upperclass to succeed decrease your self esteem but you can make your own selfesteem better
    One can not reject the least of Christs brethren

    Sorry if I was offensive probably I am being judgemental
    I thought I would make this site more active but probably you as a church know better than me and maybe we are not supposed to flatter sinners if that's what I do here and give them too much kindness which blocks out their feeling of the need to repent
    I just want to say I am proud of you and will not give opportunity of the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme
    I trust that many of you try to do Gods will and are loving to each other
    I trust that you are not wilfully rejecting the scriptures but you try to obey it
    and you try to obey your consciences when the church tells you to do something

    Be encouraged that yours is a true faith and apostolic and preserving biblical commandments which was never to be destroyed or cast away
    Those who wilfully reject orthodoxy are behind you if you are following Jesus but they must do what God shows them to do I believe they will be saved if they are faithful to Jesus and love others but I also believe they may be saved in another world because God does not force people to convert who have not been evangelised it seems unless they gave been evangelised to follow God within their capabilities to obey Gods laws and honor their parents when they do not force them to sin they need not judge them and allow themselves to be persecuted for something they do not believe in
    It seems many of us are all guilty of not fully believing the gospel will damn others and we are not unashamed of it and have no revelation of it maybe because we won't obey it so God does not reveal it
    But those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit have no forgiveness neither in this world or the world to come and are subject to eternal damnation  who reject repentance and the easy yoke and reject God Himself by refusing to desire to repent when there is no reason to hate Him
  • guys, i'm not saying u r all autistic!
    i just said that maybe some people who can't make friends are.
    but it came out wrong.
  • My dad sometimes thought he thinks I have autism or aspergers syndrome that is not fair to give me that label I think I may have some of the symptoms or suffer similar things. I had searched several times about it and said no way I have it but sometimes like today I think maybe. My tutor could expect from me more than I am able because I am sick but I think I am indeed not trying hard enough for many with different disorders have overcame

    I use the same route every day when driving to places I am comfortable with so I thought maybe I have autism or asperger

    But people who reached conclusions quickly about me and misunderstand my posts may more likely fit the description of autism

    "A person with Asperger syndrome often experiences difficulties when trying to understand the emotions of other people. Subtle messages that are sent by facial expression, eye contact and body language are often missed."

    I never thought this could apply to me. I don't think it does. No one has ever said it applied to me. But I can imagine I do not like helping with chores or doing work which could be a symptom of autism who forces my friends to be caregivers

    It is important not to let labels disable you. If God gave it to you then it is not outside of His plan for your abundant life
  • [quote author=mnc_hnn link=topic=14584.msg165784#msg165784 date=1377822632]
    [quote author=Ortho link=topic=14584.msg165783#msg165783 date=1377806169]

    Talking to my Spiritual Father helped me a lot! Though it’s hard, try to pray about it. May God heal us!!!

    How did it help?
    So, are you used to being lonely? I don't know if I'll ever get used to it. Are we supposed to get used t it?
    Life just has no taste, no feel. If only suicide wasn't a sin (sorry, had to say it).

    He gave me a book to read. The book had many temptations/situations the devil provide to us human to capture and make us feel; ungrateful, lonely, dissatisfied, unworthy, faithless...while reading, I realized what I have been feeling wasn't from my Savior, but the enemy. Honestly, I feel much better now. I felt what you are feeling. I thought of suicide more than 5 years ago, but like u said it, I knew it was a sin and didn't wanna go to hell. Life felt like hell. To top it, I had no friend (who cared) to talk to.

    I don't think anyone can get used to being lonely, but i'm managing the thoughts of feeling lonely by reminding myself 'if God was't with me during my painful past, i wouldn't be here today.' It's a phase you're going through and keep on believing that "this too, shall pass".

    Find a good inspirational book/s.
    In Christ, you are my sister/ brother. Because of that, I love you! I truly meant it.
  • this may help:

    may God bless u all
  • I had the same things, depression, loneliness, inability to socialize, those things came to me through a sexual sin, masturbation and porn to be accurate, now that i started to stop that habit, I find myself more social, of course it puts emotional weight on me and a burden to socialize because every person is different, some people can't stand being without people, some people can't stand being around people for too long, I advice you to start making acquaintances, good ones will turn into friends, I advice you to choose them based on your likes and dislikes like they should like architecture, chess, languages and church's praises for example if you like those and don't like football or shouting and high sounds or something if you hate them (those are my likes and dislikes but you get my idea  :D )  so that's it, start baby steps and you're gonna be OK.

    And about the unordered church and priests shouting, see, our God is a God of order (I don't know the exact text of the verse but here you go) I think you should find another church if the people in your current church are not good people (of course no one is good everybody has a sin) but if they are that bad and hurting you, they will _even if you're resisting_ eventually pull you to fall into many sins judging, hating, anger, not having peace of mind, and probably hating the church, so you should find another church if talking to them is ineffective,

    God be with you, praying for you.
  • Thank you so much Bishoy, I agree with everything you said.
  • You're welcome mnc_hnn, God be with you. if you needed anything or just wanted to talk message me here or e-mail me, I will be glad to talk to you, I just want to tell you that you're very dear to Jesus, he loves you, and even if you have some problems now, he definitely has the solution to them, and he will reveal it to you at the right time.
  • my friend
    stuff couselling
    stuff pills
    stuff therapy
    find God love Him
    Done its that simple
    a few good ways to find God
    i say it meaningfully, and this loneliness u speak of will disappear without u realising. the hermits lived int he deserts for 40+ years and never experienced loneliness because they had God and i know i sound cliché but nevertheless you must hear this from somewhere, there is no use in any other way just find God ask your confession father how he recommends you become closer to God or ask him Wat service to do and he will guide you
    "Seek first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness and all of these things shall be added to you" 
    and "these things" include companionship and everything you will ever need and want.
  • To all with loneliness and depression:
    I've had these problems for many decades.
    First, suicide is NOT an option whether it is a sin or not. You were made in the image of The Holy Creator for a purpose. That purpose is to love our Savior Jesus and love others. Anyone can do that regardless of intellect, talent, wealth, whatever. You have been created to partake in that special relationship with God. It is very difficult to find close friends in modern society. Realize this: loneliness is a chance for you to develop genuine empathy for others who are lonely, depressed, and suffering. Our Savior was "despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" according to the prophet. So now you have the ability to gain empathy for others. You couldn't do that without suffering as they do. This may seem like a bitter gift, but ultimately you can grow spiritually from it.
    You have been given great advice by everyone here and should do as they suggest. Every night before you go to sleep ask our Lord to comfort you and all the other people who are lonely and suffering. Tell the Lord how much you love and need His love. Receive the comfort that only the Lord can give. Ask the Lord to help you--and me--and so many others--to find inner healing and practical solutions to our loneliness and depression. Thank you and God bless you richly.
  • kahraba13, I don't have an opportunity to serve. Not one that I can see anyways.

    Totally4God, it is a good way of looking at how Jesus suffered. I am just not sure how long I can bear this for.

    The occasional times when I do talk to people, I feel even more alone. I wish I was someone else. People tend to dislike me. And I dislike myself!

    I can vividly imagine how lonely I will be for the rest of my life. and I would rather hope to die young than live this way. If I was living by myself, I think I may have killed myself already, it's just because there are other 'people' there.

    What am I?
  • hi, i am sending p.m.
    may God give u strength.
    i found praying consistently (even if only 1 or 2 prayers from agpeya / day plus personal prayers) got me much closer to God and then i found it easier to pray to Him about the things that really hurt.
    i have experienced life (as a child) with someone with mental health problems, so i know it stresses you out if you missed out on some of the good experiences and unconditional love that people should have in their early life.
    but God really does heal people, our bit is to get close to Him and keep praying. this helps us to benefit from the healing.
    i pray for you sister, may God give you peace and courage so that you can share all your good blessings with others (like your posts, which have been helpful to many people on this site).
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