Chris Powell's Flat Cap

Home » Uncategorized » Loneliness

Loneliness

I had a single motivation when choosing to express the extent of my mental and physical health struggles at the start of December.

The emotions that were expressed in those words were weighing me down to a point where I couldn’t function to any degree. The motivation was to simply express myself. To translate the confusing, overwhelming and overpowering emotions into words.

It was not, in my mind at least, a cry for help. I wasn’t begging and pleading for others to make a difference. More an attempt to help myself.

Help and support, however, arrived in incredible amounts. For a brief period, the emotions that were overwhelming changed from crushing to empowering. A belief that I’m better than the person my situation makes me think I am, and a belief that others believe I’m a better person than I think I am.

For the majority of my life, and certainly from the start of my teenage years onwards, I have been made to feel isolated, excluded and marginalised. I have made myself feel isolated, excluded and marginalised. Never have I felt so appreciated, supported and valued as I did in the evenings that followed writing that post.

Strangers who had made no interaction with me before, providing me with words of care and encouragement. Words that many have probably forgotten sending, but words that I will always treasure and value.

People I knew, going out of their way to offer support they simply didn’t need to, but meant so much. Not just showing that they cared, but showing appreciation for what I do, and for me as an individual.

The handwritten message on a shirt sent by Johnnie Jackson, the invitation from Chris Powell to be a guest at a Derby County game, and the handwritten letter from Bradley Pritchard (which I have chosen not to share). Three people who I idolise offering incredible levels of personal support. I don’t believe I can make anyone truly appreciate just how much those acts mean to me.

This incredible amount of support in general, that I didn’t call for or even expect to a single percent, is something I’ll never truly be able to express my appreciation for. Every word, every act. I truly value.

I feel like the extent of it all means it should be lifechanging. Or at least have provided me with tools to fight against how I feel. I should feel anything but alone, isolated and unwanted.

So it is with extreme guilt that I must admit the previous few months have been unbearable. I feel like my overall position has got worse. I’m certain that I have become even more trapped in a state of isolation and loneliness.

Guilt, because so many people in so many different ways went out of their way to make me feel like I was anything but alone. That I feel even more alone, or at least even more crushed by this sense of loneliness, feels like I’m disregarding everything that was done for me. That I’ve just ignored it all, and not given it the value it warranted.

I don’t know how I prove it, but I want everyone reading this to know and believe that that simply isn’t the case. On countless occasions have I referred back to that support in my mind to control my emotions and make myself believe I don’t deserve to feel like I do.

That Jackson shirt, the tip of this iceberg of support, sitting in the corner of my room, as a reminder that people do care, and I need to keep fighting against how I feel for the people that care. The blunt reality is that Jackson shirt, and everything that goes with it, has quelled suicidal thoughts on more than one occasion.

The support is a motivator as much as it is an arm around the back. I try so hard to use it as a motivator. But since the turn of the year, I’ve been failing.

In other regards too, but it’s the loneliness that is really destroying me. It’s the loneliness that I should be using this support to address, but instead it’s only got worse.

I guess loneliness to most people is the idea of being alone. Something that involves having no company, and can be addressed by finding some company. Loneliness (isolation, marginalisation, worthlessness, self-loathing etc etc) is much more complicated in my mind.

There is, obviously, an aspect of it that reflects the traditional notion of what loneliness is. I’m alone. I don’t really feel like I have any friends, I spend almost all of my time on my own.

I don’t have the social skills, the opportunity, or the mental capability to address the fact I’m always on my own. I can’t communicate with people, I’m struggling more than ever to leave the house unless my dad is with me, and anxiety and depression prevents me from engaging in conversation with any sort of confidence.

I do make attempts to address it. I attempt to converse with people online, but every exchange leaves me fearful and anxious. Constantly scared about how the person I’m talking to perceives me, and most of the time I just retreat.

Something that stops me from talking to people I used to be friends with. A fear that the reason they’ve stopped talking to me is because of their perception of me. Fighting against these perceptions, that are really just perceptions I have of myself that I believe others share, isn’t something I’m good at.

And opportunities to address that loneliness would scare me. I want to hide, and want to be alone, and yet I hate it and want to fight it. The idea of being around others is terrifying. I’m just stuck.

There are times when I do challenge that loneliness. I think the only one that actually makes some sort of difference is when I’m refereeing. I adopt a confident character, that can handle both conversation and being in control, but it is just a character.

A character to the extent that the moment I finish refereeing, a return to the fragile mess I normally am. I begin to fear that the players and coaches involved in the game I’ve refereed despise not just as a referee, but as a person. I feel hated, having felt confident and calm while actually having a whistle in my mouth.

I think that that’s the basis of this loneliness, this isolation, this marginalisation. I can’t help but despise myself. I can’t help but believe everyone else despises me to an even greater extent.

It’s why that support I received a few months ago was so important, and why I do truly value it. And it’s also why it’s incredibly upsetting that that support hasn’t challenged my perception of myself, or how others perceive me. The evidence is there, and yet I can’t accept it.

I know where, in addition to the general state of my mental health, this comes from. This self-loathing, that makes me believe everyone else loathes me in similar ways. That makes me look for the smallest, smallest thing that others a suggestion someone has a negative opinion of me, and turn it into a showing of hatred.

I’ve always been alone. Always isolated. Always bullied.

Bullied throughout school, and the feeling that everyone was against me always there. Sometimes not just a feeling, and actually expressed. So many instances of people, classes even, collectively ganging up against me in words or actions.

Bullying that led to me having to deal with anorexia for the best part of two years. The transformation of my mind into an anorexic one where this sense of loneliness and fear that everyone dislikes me really comes from. Long recovered from anorexia, but never shifting the perception of myself that I believe others have.

Bullied in a similar manner once I went to university, and a huge part of the reason I have worsened to such an extent over the previous three or four years. Locked in my room, knowing those outside of it were all against me. The feeling that everyone is against me just something I haven’t been able to shake.

In those periods, academic success was my saving grace. It doesn’t matter that I’m lonely and disliked because I’m getting As. The amount of times a teacher told me to ignore the bullying because I would have a better life in the future countless.

Now I feel like I’ve wasted that academic success, and feel I have another reason for people to dislike me. Constant panic attacks about being a failure, and a failure in the eyes of others. I certainly don’t have the better life those teachers promised.

Another reason to feel isolated and marginalised.

It’s something I feel when watching Charlton. Nothing to do with the state of the club, and everything to do with me. Believing that people around me dislike me without logical reason.

Maybe it’s the fact people I don’t know might know who I am, or at least know I’m the chap behind this blog and dislike me accordingly. Sometimes I wish I’d never started this blog, and didn’t have this persona. I just want to hide.

Maybe I should just bin off the blog, and attempt to hide. Maybe it’s holding me back in my attempts to get better. But it’s a distraction, a focus, and something I get a sense of enjoyment from.

At the same time, there’s a loneliness that comes from this blog. The fear that people reading it dislike what I’ve produced. That’s not to say that I should be criticised or questioned, it’s more the criticism and questioning that I don’t receive, that I effectively make up and believe exists.

And I guess, on top of all that, is a certain loneliness that comes from being unwell. I can’t do justice to the feeling of detachment and isolation that comes after having a seizure. Seizure provide plenty of physical pain, but the mental impact eclipses that.

It means several days in bed, lacking both the mental stability and energy to engage in life. It’s not just direct pain, but reaffirmation of my loneliness. How restricted I am, or at least how restricted I feel, and how isolated my situation has left me.

A sense of being different, too. The medication, the hospital appointments, the symptoms. I can’t have a normal life, and as such it’s hard to believe everyone sees me as different.

All of this loneliness, all of these aspects that create a sense of loneliness, filtered through a mind that’s crippled by depression and anxiety.

The loneliness increases. The depression and anxiety increase. The loneliness increases. Stuck.

And that’s really what the overall feeling is, I think. One of being stuck or trapped.

Stuck and trapped in this sense of loneliness, despite that support that should have allowed me to break free. Battling against a sense of guilt, that I’ve let people down, and just a simple sense of sadness, that I’ve not been able to make any sort of progress. I have to keep telling myself, and I feel like I have to keep telling everyone else, that I do want to get better despite the fact I’m getting nowhere.

I don’t really know what this is. It’s not a cry for help, or that would make many of the words I’ve said meaningless. Besides, I don’t know what would actually help, and I don’t know how to help myself.

I guess it’s just a consequence of feeling like this, after a time where I briefly believed I no longer would, since the start of the year and needing a way of expressing it. It’s probably a mess and doesn’t make much sense, I’ve just tried to translate my thoughts into words again.

Sorry for posting stuff like this on a Charlton blog. There’ll be a report from Shrewsbury tomorrow, so miserable readings about football will soon replace miserable readings about real life. Thank you for reading.

Advertisements

17 Comments

  1. Hi Kyle.
    I don’t know if you realise how much courage it takes to write something like you have. Most of us would hide away or to have the capacity to write as you do.
    I for one do not dislike you. In fact I have a huge regard for what you do and how you conduct yourself. You have not let anyone down who reads your blog or your articles in VOTV.
    Keep fighting and people will be here to help/listen/be a shoulder to cry on.
    Laura

  2. John Osborne says:

    Kyle, this blog is a very brave thing to do. I haven’t met you but your Charlton match reports are fantastic. Whether I’ve been to a game or not, I always turn to your reports for a proper perspective of the match. Full of detail but also very well crafted. I wish you all the very best in finding a way through. John

  3. parttimeped says:

    KEEP YOUR CHIN UPFOLLOWING CHARLTON DOES NOT HELP AT THE MOMENT BUT YOU WILL TURN THE CORNER AND SO WILL THE TEAM.

  4. ConfidentialRick says:

    Kyle, you don’t need to apologise for writing what you feel. There are plenty of folk these days who feel the same way but are unable to put it into words as well as you do..Keep on blogging..!

  5. Robert Veasey says:

    Dear Kyle.

    My name is Rob and I feel quite guilty that I have not sent you a message sooner.

    My wife Di and myself moved to Cyprus in November 2014 after living in south east London and north west Kent all my life. I am now sixty three and have been a Charlton fan since 1966. Up until we left the U.K. I had followed the Addicks all over the country my wife joining me as a fan in 1982. I reckon that you could count the home games that we missed on one hand and saw the Reds perform on more than seventy away grounds and we were season ticket holders at Selhurst and Upton Park’s until we returned to The Valley in 1992.

    Our last home game was the 0-0 draw with The Spanners in Nov’14 although whenever we go back to the U.K. we always plan it so that we take in a game.
    Strangely the only things I miss about living here is my eighty five year old mum, my friends and of course the Addicks although I think that if we were still in the U.K. we would find it very difficult to go to The Valley with this regime in control and watching from afar it breaks our hearts to see what is happening to our once great and respected club. Oh how I despise these current owners and so want them out of our club before the damage they are doing becomes permanent if it hasn’t already.

    The reason I am writing to you is because you must understand how important you are to me with regards to your blog and as a person that provides such a wonderful service to people like us who can’t attend matches
    I read all the blogs but yours is by far the best. They are so thorough and informative and for me it makes me feel like I have actually attended the game. They pull no punches and I know that if the boys have been awful (Far to often these days!)and you say they have, then I know that I am getting a true reflection on the game. If I haven’t got time to read your reports or match previews then I always book mark them and read them religiously.

    With out your blogs I would be lost
    .
    You must understand Kyle that there are many people out there that have much respect and appreciate what you do for us all.

    It’s so easy for me to type these ramblings and I am sorry that I have gone on a bit but I just had to let you know how I feel.

    Thank you so much for allowing me to write to you.

    Hang on in there mate.

    Love you Kyle and thanks for all you provide an Ex-Pat. A day never goes by without me thinking about my beloved team.

    Cheers Rob.

    P.S. My RAV4 which came with us still sports the Addicks badge in the back window for all to see.

  6. Southlincsaddick says:

    Sorry to hear about how you’re feeling.
    Because of location I don’t see many games at all and your blog is my go to read when it comes to Charlton. To me it’s invaluable! Keep up the great work and hang on in there buddy!

  7. fishface says:

    Hi Kyle
    I recognise what you say about loneliness. My recurrent depression leaves me feeling alone much of the time, whether truly alone or in a crowd. Have you thought about seeking the company of others with similar traits? I live far from The valley now, on the Isle of Wight but attend a centre run by the Richmond Trust a couple of days a week; It allows me to be myself with others having similar difficulties and paint, have acupuncture, use a gym and do some yoga. I’m pretty sure there may be some similar provision in London, maybe check them out, or they may be able to signpost you on. Best wishes and stay strong. Keith

    • Kyle Andrews says:

      I think half my issue at the moment is that even if opportunities were available for me to seek out things like that, where I can interact with people with similar traits, I would fear them. I want to be able to put myself into a position where I can do something like that, but I certainly don’t feel like I can at present.

  8. Kyle,

    I don’t think you realise how good at communicating you really are….

    Many suffer, albeit may be not to the same degree, with insecurities and worries about how people perceive them. You recognise that many of the feelings that you have are within you, and not a true reflection of how others see you. Depression is a strange thing, filling sufferers with very contradictory feelings – feeling lonely, yet imposing self-isolation. And I know, because it happens to me from time to time. You are a very talented writer, with a gift for not only expressing your own feelings, but reflecting how many fans feel about the club. And it’s appreciated and even refreshing to see such honesty.

    You should never feel guilty about not being able to maintain or improve your health because others have offered support to you. But you are appreciated and I hope that you can, at some point, reach out to those that obviously care and realise that although we are all ‘unique’, we all have the same human frailties.

    Karen

    • Kyle Andrews says:

      Thank you Karen, and thank you for expressing that in such a wonderful way. It’s very much appreciated.

  9. Jordan says:

    Kyle, ever since I helped out with one of your blogs a good 3 years ago on the Blades FA Cup run I’ve remained a keen follower of your articles. I have a strong affinity with Charlton through my close friends and regularly keep up to date with your progress through your brilliant blogs. They really are a great read and you should be proud of the amount of people who wait upon your next article for a detailed and well written update on the Addick’s.

    Depression is something until recently I didn’t too much about. My dad went through it when we lost our mum, thankfully coming out the other side, while unfortunately I lost my younger cousin to it over Christmas. This has made me more determined to really understand this illness and do whatever I can to help others suffering with similar anxiety. For you to open up like you have on here is so brave and I really do admire you for it. I would be more than privileged to meet you for for a drink before a Charlton match or the Sheffield United / Chesterfield game! You seem a top lad and deserve happiness in everything you do!

    Cheers Jordan

    • Kyle Andrews says:

      Thanks Jordan. I’m always amazed by how many people have deep understanding of things related to mental health when I often convince myself to feel distant and embarrassed because of my suffering.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: