How do I cope with living alone?
September 10, 2013 3:56 PM Subscribe
Every period in my adult life where I've lived alone has coincided with moderate-severe depressive episodes. I'm being laid off and am facing 6 more months of living alone... how do I cope? More questions and more details inside.
posted by stubbehtail to human relations (16 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a guy who, despite being a bit of an introvert, has never been able to cope too well with living alone. Each time I've had to live alone, it's coincided with depression. Incidentally, I currently live alone and am being treated for depression (meds + therapist). To make matters worse, I recently discovered that I'll be laid off; I was given an estimate of 2-6 weeks until my last day. The lay off isn't entirely unexpected and I do not plan on searching for a new job right away (travel is planned). Understandably, this has made me very anxious about all of the time I'll be spending alone.
Right now, my partner spends a great deal of time with me so I'm rarely alone, but this will not be possible in the near future (due to his own traveling plans). I also have a strong network of friends, but I only see them every other week or so as it requires advanced planning to hang out. This means I'll be spending the majority of my time alone. That said, how can I prepare for and cope with the new physical loneliness I will undoubtedly encounter?
Another concern is the vast amounts of time I'll suddenly find myself with. Currently, I spend my time reading, drawing, going on walks or hikes, cooking, and watching tv (documentaries, anime, ect.), but I could really use some more budget-friendly suggestions, as these don't really seem like enough. I'm worried that I won't keep myself busy enough to prevent negative rumination, which is a huge problem for me. What are some budget-friendly solo hobbies that can help me pass the time? I've already taken some free online college courses and plan to take more, but I'd like something to do outside of academia. Some additional resources at my disposal include a reliable car and proximity to a major city.
Finally, a subject that concerns both of the aforementioned subjects has also weighed heavily on my mind. My doctor has suggested I acquire a (psychiatric service) dog. I love pets and have been wanting one for years. However, I haven't really 'owned' a dog since childhood and the thought of being responsible for another being for 12+ years is completely overwhelming to me. I am worried I am not strong enough or prepared enough to have the equivalent of a toddler following me around. My partner suggested adopting an older cat, but I feel it would encourage me to stay indoors (negative), whereas a dog would encourage me to go outdoors (positive). I also feel like being laid off would be the perfect time to acquire and train a dog. But I can't tell if my fear of being alone is coloring my judgement there. I'm worried whatever choice I make will end up being the wrong one. Is there anything I can do to better help me make this kind of decision?