Cameron has always been a fun-loving, social guy. When he would hang out with his friends, he was always cracking jokes and was the life of the party. His friends and family loved him and missed him when he couldn’t attend special events.
Then the pandemic hit. At first, he was adjusting fine. He enjoyed his time for his solo hobbies and had more time to do things with his wife. But as the pandemic wore on, he started to miss his other relationships. It became especially painful when he would see his friends hanging out together during the lockdown, on social media. He wondered about his invitation. Did they forget about me? Do they care about me? Are they even my friends? These were the questions that crossed his mind. And these weighed heavily on top of other struggles he faced.
He didn’t want to come home from work anymore, was becoming irritated by family, and starting to feel depressed.
A confident, strong individual, he decided to find support digitally. That didn’t quite work for him, so he sought out a counsellor he could speak to in person. Cameron is taking his loneliness and isolation seriously by talking to an unbiased stranger and learning strategies to overcome his issues.
Here are some steps he took to reduce the burden:
- He came out to his wife about his feelings. Sharing your struggles with a loved one can immediately ease the tension you’re feeling – especially in men who tend to hide their feelings completely. This led to easing the loneliness because he no longer had to face the problems alone. This was no easy feat and took immense courage. Remember, anything worth doing is going to be a challenge.
- He is actively and consistently challenging his thoughts. Particularly the negative ones. He used to dwell on intrusive thoughts that his friends are excluding him on purpose or that they were upset with him. Now when these thoughts happen, he asks himself “what proof do I have that this is happening?” This helps him become more present and understand the reality of the situation.
- He realized he can’t put all his eggs in one relationship. After talking to a councillor, Cameron realized he cannot and should not expect his wife to be his everything. She can’t be his wife, best friend, confidante, and go-to person to do things with. Those are high expectations of one person. And what happens when he needs a break from her? This realization helped him learn the importance of putting as much effort into his other relationships.
- He is starting to ask for what he needs. Cameron was browsing through social media one day and saw his friends hanging out together. He was feeling extremely low at that point, but he let the feeling sink in. The next day, he decided he was tired of feeling so awful and he was ready to move forward. When he asked to hang out with his friends, he was met with a resounding welcome.
It’s important to remember that though Cameron is making small steps to improve his well-being by addressing his loneliness, this is not a one-and-done process. Personal development is a journey and it will take Cameron a lot of practice and a lot of effort to build and maintain his relationships. That’s why it can be helpful to work with a counsellor through programs such as MindBeacon’s Therapist Guided Program. This program is available at no cost to members of our plan. Learn more about MindBeacon’s program and get started.