Transforming profound loneliness into indispensable time spent in solitude is a crucial life skill for moms of children with special needs. We are no strangers to loneliness, and we need to learn how to live with it.
At some point in our journey with our child, we have all experienced feeling alone, removed, unable to relate, and out of place.
We have all mourned parts of our lives, dreams for our family, dreams for our child, and dreams for ourselves. (And if we are honest with ourselves, this process comes and goes in waves throughout our lives).
To varying degrees, some of us might have felt some form of social exclusion or rejection within our own families and circle of friends (even if it was not intentional-most times it is not).
Even in the strongest of marriages, we can feel unable to be fully present when weighed down by responsibilities of being the main caregiver.
All of it can lead to feelings of loneliness: a deep awareness that despite being surrounded by people (often with great intentions), you feel alone in what you are living.
So what can we do about it? Most of us will try to connect with a friend. But did you know that this can often be counterproductive?
Spending time with others, when you are feeling disconnected, can sometimes make you feel lonelier. The secret is to actually force yourself to spend time in solitude so you can reconnect with yourself first before socializing with others in a healthy way. It works!
Spending time in solitude means to engage in an activity that is truly something you love doing alone. The activity must be something you engage in actively (not passively like watching tv), ideally have a component to it that gets you out of your usual environment, and finally, creates mental space for you to put your thoughts into perspective.
I consider myself to be a social extravert, so seeking solitude during bouts of loneliness seems incredibly counter-intuitive to me, every single time. I know though, that the time spent in intentional meaningful solitude always allows me to re-centre myself, alter my thoughts, and process my emotions more efficiently, and in a quicker way. I cannot deny this. I am then better able to re-integrate myself socially in a way that allows me to be fully clear and present. I am also in a better place to let myself receive support if needed.
I spend time in solitude in a variety of ways, with one of my main ways obviously being spending time with my horses. I cherish this time alone.
Have you found ways to transform your loneliness into indispensible time in solitude? Let me know by sharing in the comments below or emailing me at email@example.com. It might just help another mom….