When Loneliness Gets The Best of You

It has been a long day of classes, and I take the usual Tozai subway route home; I am back in my room once again. The concept of loneliness has always lingered and existed within me, which gradually developed into an enigma that I’ve never fully understood. I used to be an extreme introvert and simply thought of socializing and getting to make new friends as meaningless and too difficult. Is it necessarily true that making more friends makes you happier? Eating lunch and watching videos on my Mac all by myself at a SILS lounge table basically sums up my first year uni life. I was really disappointed with myself, which made me constantly re-examine why I like to be alone instead of trying to know new people.

Perhaps one of the main reasons regarding why I always lack energy when it comes to mingling with others is the fact that I have stayed in multiple countries throughout my different stages of education. I’m just a temporary newcomer; why would anyone care? While I eventually figure out my surroundings, I will have to embark on a new journey once again. Due to my sudden departure from middle school in Taiwan, my classmates would ridicule and call me hurtful nicknames; there was no way in which I could defend myself. This experience happened similarly when I was in my first year of international high school in Tokyo. All of these thoughts were most likely implanted in my brain, which gradually turned into this mindset of “It’s ok to enjoy loneliness because I don’t have to bother others”. Who knew that these self-encouraging slogans would consequently develop into larger, darker holes of desperation and depression.

Sitting right outside of the Waseda Central Library, I thought: "Do I really like solitude? Am I too used to being alone, or am I just too afraid to breakthrough?"

(Photo credit: Angela Chung)

During times of periodic relocations, the issue of my self-identity crisis occasionally looms in my mind. There is no doubt that I like to travel around and explore the distinct cultures and lives in the world; I definitely appreciate the multicultural education experience that I possess. Yet it is also this experience that makes me feel even more isolated from everyone else. When I attended a Waseda music circle, I did not make the effort to start conversations with others. When I am planning to eat at a restaurant near campus for lunch the day, I am not able to go on my own since I cannot overcome myself. I am enrolled in the International Liberal Studies program, but I would much prefer staying indoors rather than hanging out with other international classmates and friends.

It is true that I still scroll through my friends’ Facebook pages and envy their interesting social lives from time to time. However, it is also true that I have made efforts to open my long-shut door in my heart and accept the people surrounding me in university. Depression still hits me once every semester - I feel quite hopeless and extremely lonely throughout those times. But then, I have also realized that I have to at least try and make my uni life more interesting by stepping outside more and feeling more sense of relief. Everyone experiences lonely times, and it is ultimately up to yourself to take your next step, whether it be positive or not.