Tag Archive | tolerance

Opposite of Lonely

I don’t often feel lonely, not the way I hear others describe it. I looked it up in a dictionary and thesaurus, and curiously, could not find an opposite for lonely that makes sense to me.

Lonely is defined as the one of the most terrible things in the world: Sad because one has no friends or company, isolated, alone, lonesome, friendless, with no one to turn to, forsaken, abandoned, rejected, unloved, unwanted, outcast, deserted, uninhabited, unfrequented, unpopulated, desolate, isolated, remote, out of the way, secluded, off the beaten track/path, in the back of beyond, godforsaken; in

the middle of nowhere.

Opposite? Populous. Crowded.

I do have a longing for meaningful connections in my life. Love and acceptance from people you can trust. I have a deep, dark, pain, an emptiness much greater than loneliness, because I know it will never be filled. I’ve looked into the depths of this chasm, and it is seemingly bottomless. It seems I’m safe as long as I only glance at it, no jumping in.

For me, acquaintance people are nearly always a nuisance, a stressor. Hell even the current people in my life that are supposed to be loving, supportive, combat loneliness, like my husband and in-laws cause stress and conflict. My kids are the only people I enjoy time with, and even then after a bit , I still feel crowded, smothered, like I can’t think or breathe. When I am alone, I feel peaceful. When I am with others, the tolerance clock starts clicking and I have limited time before I bolt, hide, isolate myself and recover from the constant scrutiny, questions, confusion, misunderstandings, obligations, words…so many endless words attacking my system.

It wears me out to nod, smile, be polite, figure out how to respond, sense danger, protect myself. Talking is my least favorite activity. I’d rather go to the dentist than have to chitchat with some random person. Is it my turn to talk? What did they just say? Are they lying right now? What time is it? Is that a TV show they’re talking about? Is this something I’m supposed to know snd recall or are they telling me something new? Ugh. Too stressful

Add multiple people and this feeling is exponentially heightened, to being the opposite of lonely, I get a strong need to be alone, to escape.

I’m not heartless. I do wish all these people well. I just don’t want to hear about it, sorry. Most things people tell me I can’t do anything about and I feel uncomfortable having to express sympathy or advice. Most people I start diagnosing their personality disorders, recognize cognitive distortions popping up, and of course I must remain silent. People don’t want to know this. They don’t actually want to change their own behavior or think about their thoughts. And they would be insulted or embarrassed, even though they are the one oversharing to me. It is only socially acceptable to offer support like, oh you poor thing that sounds difficult for you. They just want to hear it sucks, for validation.

I’ve found when I interact online, I can control the pace and intensity and don’t get overwhelmed. Each time I venture out to a real life Meetup, it is not a positive experience.

I’m not sure that’s bad or unhealthy. At this point in my life, if I feel satisfied by this level of connection, than maybe I need to stop trying to force myself into a more social, extroverted role just because I’m supposed to be lonely this way.

I’ve been reading “Quiet” by Susan Cain and embracing my introverted self. I don’t think I need fixed. When I socialize it is to complete a task, or because others want me there. I get nothing but stress from most gatherings otherwise.

I watched the Netflix series “Atypical” which was fantastic. I’m not an expert on autism to know if they portrayed this accurately at all. It was entertaining, but also I indentified strongly with his social struggles. I don’t think I’m autistic. But I do think I’m atypical and that my brain can’t be changed much at this point. I don’t connect and form bonds or relationships like most others do. I’m highly sensitive, tuned into emotions, which is the autistic difference. My hyperactive neurons though gives me high scores on tests for autism, overwhelmed by sensory input, can’t look people in the eye, don’t make friends, can’t work in groups, hate loud noises and bright lights, take things too literally at times, repetitive soothing behaviors, trouble following conversation, it goes on and on. Fascinating really. So it seems that autism may be caused by too many neural connections, a lack of pruning, is one theory. I’ve read similar theories for anxiety and PTSD, our connections stay strong reinforcing past memories to keep us vigilant and safe.

This is me rambling and I hope not being stupid or offensive with these curious thoughts. I only look for similarities to figure out the puzzle of me. I don’t claim to be right, ever.

Living Life With a Big Heart

English: The Red Arrows visit Bournemouth: big...

A big heart for everyone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My daughter is learning about life, love, acceptance, and intolerance. She is in the third grade, but acting with a gentle wisdom and constant big-hearted love for all that makes my own heart grow.

My girl is super smart, reads several years above her grade level, and learns everything quite easily. She is not bored in school though, as her active imagination keeps her going. No bestest friend ever yet. She is very busy, in clubs, sports, and extracurriculars and talks easily with anyone and everyone. I love watching her flit about from a young group of boys, where she acts like a monkey to make them laugh, then off to a group of moms where she impresses them with some reminder of a forgotten task, and then over to a group of girls and “oohs” at their necklaces and new shoes. She is happy where ever she is. And she is herself where ever she is. And she spreads happiness where ever she is. I love all that.

When school started this year, she told me about a new friend she made in class, and was so happy that he sat next to her. She said she thought he was cute and funny and they laugh together every day. I was happy for her but thought nothing of it. She also told me that some of the other kids aren’t nice to him, and she didn’t understand why. I asked what they did that wasn’t nice, and she explained that they call him names, laugh at him, and avoid him, like make a big deal that they don’t accidentally touch him in the hall. I said wow, that sure isn’t nice, and I bet he’s happy to have you as a friend. I asked if the teachers know how he is being mistreated? She said the teachers see it, and try to get the kids to be nice, but they just aren’t nice, especially in the hall walking to lunch. Aww, poor guy. I asked who, and she said a group of girls mostly run and scream, and the boys laugh and won’t let him play. But he doesn’t care Mom, he’s always so happy and nice.

As school got going, my daughter told me more about her friend. She said he can’t read very well, and does work she did in kindergarten. And he’s happy about it Mom. She was astonished that he was proud of himself for mastering such “baby-ish” tasks.  Then she looked at me and said, “I guess we should all be proud of what we can do, since we can all do different things. Just because this work is easy for me, doesn’t mean it is EASY.” And like the Grinch’s heart, I saw hers growing that day, as she learned her own life lesson in acceptance. Wow. (Not that she was overly grinchy before, but just young and self-centered as children tend to be)

Now this story gets even better. I took my girl shopping and we bumped in

to her new friend and his mom at the store. She ran up to him, and they exchanged high-fives and grins, and “See ya tomorrow’s”.  Her new friend has Down Syndrome. “Isn’t he cute mom?” Yes. yes he was adorable, and I could tell he liked my girl too. Such a warm and genuine smile on both their faces.

Her friend’s mom had teary eyes from my daughter’s warm greeting and obvious acceptance.

So. I never exactly told my daughter to value and accept every person, no matter what. But somehow she got that message. And somehow those not so nice students did not get that message. Were they given another one? Did I give this message without knowing it? I don’t know.

And the best part, to me, is that my daughter never thought it was important to tell me her new friend had Down’s. I found out she did know, and actually had asked me about it, but out of context and I never connected the dots. Just a quick, “Mom, what is Down Syndro-something? What does it mean if someone has Down’s? Our teacher said someone at school has it.” I explained that they were born with a different chromosome, (a what?) their DNA, their body’s roadmap. Like you have a gene that gives you brown eyes, makes it easy for you to learn new things, and your lungs get asthma. Some people have a gene for Down Syndrome. “Does it make it hard to learn?” Yes. “Does it make you look different?” Yes. “Like your gene made your back and leg hurt?” Yes.

“Mom, will he be ok? Is he sick?” Ummm, I searched for an answer here. I have limited understanding of Down, and I didn’t want to worry her too much or get too complicated for her age. I didn’t even know she was asking about her new friend, just thought it was someone she heard about at school.  So I said, “He’s OK for him, and he’s not sick, and can’t get anyone sick, his body just works a bit different. He can get sick with a cold, just like you can, but he isn’t sick with Down. You can’t really compare him to anyone else. He’s very special. And very lucky to have a friend like you. And I’m so happy you got to meet him.” She said “Yes, me too”.

I looked up Down’s info after talking with her.


Health Issues

Many children with Down syndrome have health complications beyond the usual childhood illnesses. Approximately 40% of the children have congenital heart defects. It is very important that an echocardiogram be performed on all newborns with Down syndrome in order to identify any serious cardiac problems that might be present. Some of the heart conditions require surgery while others only require careful monitoring. Children with Down syndrome have a higher incidence of infection, respiratory, vision and hearing problems as well as thyroid and other medical conditions. However, with appropriate medical care most children and adults with Down syndrome can lead healthy lives. The average life expectancy of individuals with Down syndrome is 55 years, with many living into their sixties and seventies.