Loneliness in expat-land is a feeling that can unfortunately be constant – what I mean is that it will can come and go with every transition. Sometimes it creeps in during the holidays or when visiting friends and family. Other times it pounces on you after the big move and the husband is off to work and the kids are off to school – your alone and would love to get a coffee with a friend, a friend that you don’t have in the new place ~yet.
One of my dear friends just wrote me this week. She’s been in her new country for almost six months. She has two very active toddlers with her, and she left two step children back “home” for college. Her husband is gone this week and she is feeling very lonely and homesick. Can you relate? I know I can.
Or how about the parent of a child with special needs? What I’m about to share is not meant to point fingers or start a pity party club for me. It is just a fact of life, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that has felt this way. So here it goes *deep breath* ~ I have felt at times lonely in the middle of a party. All the adults are gathered in the living room or around the snack table chatting, laughing, and relaxing. The children are outside playing basketball, riding bikes, or in one of the rooms playing legos or dolls. I’m wherever Jie Jie is ~ I’m sitting at a table feeding her a snack or outside helping her “ride” a bike. I’m usually by myself feeling uncomfortable and fighting the big bad bully: Loneliness. Please note that this is only at times, not every time and it is just a fact of my life.
What did I tell my friend? What do I do in those times when I want to run to my room and cry like a teenager?
I run to my room and cry on my bed like a teenager. Yes, I do. I’ve learned that it’s okay to cry, to be sad. Crying is healthy to do in doses. The key to not letting my tears turn into something worse like depression is that once the tears stop, I immediately begin praising God for who He is and what He has done in my life. I turn on some praise music and sing really loud. I begin a list or look at a list that I’ve made of all the things I have to be thankful for: a home, food, therapy for Jie Jie, school for all my kids, a great husband, sunshine, chocolate, etc.
Then when my mind is starting to lighten up a bit, I call a friend and make a “date” for coffee.
Your Turn: What do you do to fight the battle of loneliness? Please share in the comments below.
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