The loneliness of the mainland

The feeling had been stirring for a few weeks. Not a crippling emotional pain but a nagging sense of discontent. Nothing was quite going to plan. Cancelled work, stretched finances. Tired children, nagging doubts. And above all else, the dawning realisation that nobody really cared.

Trying to speak

It was the ongoing battle that tipped the scales of doubt. Countless attempts to tell somebody. Subconsciously willing them to stop what they were doing. Wishing with every fibre that one of them would rouse from the preoccupation with their own problems and listen.

Just a few minutes, maybe an hour. Long enough to talk it through. To share the problem, gain perspective. Perhaps even some advice or suggestions. But above all, reassurance that this was not insurmountable. A gentle reminder from a friendly voice that this too shall pass.

Children played loudly. Interrupting. Jumping up and down and making themselves heard in the inimitable way that only children can. When do adults lose that ability to speak up? To tell someone, “Please stop. It’s time to listen.”

From person to person, the conversation was the same. A faltering start, an attempt to explain. Something didn’t feel right. Things were mounting up. Tired. Then, the familiar blank face would appear. Distracted by their own problems or external factors. The moment was gone. Conversation moved on, steered away onto a topic more important to them.

The realisation

The point of no return, a moment of clarity. Nobody listens, do they? Not really. Other people’s problems are for them to contend with. The nature of human relationships dictates that we seek out people who can benefit us. Because altruism carries its own baggage.

And so, from the depths of despair rises strength. A realisation that something deep down can keep going. Devoid of help or support, forced to go it alone. To find the answers within, where they have been all along.

And like a phoenix from the ashes rises courage. Daring to get back up, put one foot in front of the other and keep going. With a new resolve, and an unwelcome awareness that would prove essential. This battle would be won or lost without an army. The war was far from over, but a new rallying call would sound. Because help isn’t always at hand, and waiting for it masks an understanding that each of us can be our own protector.

No man is an island. But the mainland can be a lonely place.

Kielder Forest Northumberland UK | Kielder is the most remote village in England. From here, you have easy access to Kielder forest and Kielder Water manmade lake. The forest is the perfect place for mountain biking even with young children. The area is dog friendly and a great place to see wildlife and get back in touch with nature. But look out for the rain and the midges!

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  1. Well expressed. It’s part of the reason I got into volunteering, to be the help and the listening ear that I had rarely found. I don’t volunteer any more but at least a couple of times a week there’s one of my mum friends getting coffee and an ear from me. Be the change you want to see and all that. Still can get lonely and overwhelmed, but that’s my anxiety bobbing up rather than the fault of my flakey friends. It took me a long time to understand that.

  2. Nat this is so beautifully written. I can completely identify with this. I feel completely overwhelmed with it all at times and I hide it so well but sometimes I long for someone to sit me down and ask me what’s wrong (although knowing me I would just say I’m fine!). Life is just busy all of the time. Sending love. x

  3. Hi Nat, I can so identify with this beautifully written post right now. I’ll say no more than I’m not coping too well with a few things right now and feel totally alone. I’m guessing from your post that you may be too? Everyone does have their own problems and by nature, we tend to keep our own struggles close to our heart for fear of worrying others. I’ve always thought train stations to be the loneliest places, busy, but lonely, with everyone wrapped up in their own lives.


  4. Oh my goodness I can relate to this. I’ve got really good at putting my mask on and I also think people don’t ask me because they are worried what the answer is. Unless they are confident the reply ‘I’m ok’, they don’t x

  5. Wow, so beautifully written and eloquently put. I can certainly relate at times. It can be hard to ask for help, I’ve realised recently that I don’t do it enough and think I’m exhausting my internal reserves trying to take on too much by myself. I hope you find your way out the other side #BlogCrush

  6. I feel so bad for that to be so true. I have been struggling so much recently that I hadn’t even had time to pop over here. Hope you are okay – and you are always there for me so honestly even if I am wrapped up in my own world do talk to me. I would love to give back even a fraction of what you give xx