A Conversation I Had To Have: Isolation and Loneliness, and A Really Bad Dress

This morning I was chatting with a dear friend – someone I’ve known since 1992, in fact. So this person KNOWS me, as much as anyone who doesn’t actually live with me 24/7 can, I guess.

And this person expressed concern at the way I have isolated myself.  I realised that I didn’t have a single LOCAL friend I could call up today and just say “hey, let’s hang out.”  Part of this is from being part of a couple, since I do like to spend time with Mr Beloved; a lot of this problem has developed because of my mental illness and my tendency to withdraw from the world (or as Alexander Woollcott once said , “like a sinking ship firing  on all rescuers”. He said it about the British actress Mrs Patrick Campbell, but that’s not important right now.)

So I’m on this new medication and off the anti-depressants, and suddenly the days are really hard to get through.  I need to actually find things to do. But I can’t work and I can’t volunteer for things because I’m too unreliable: on a Bad Day, I really can’t do anything.  And I don’t know when a Bad Day might happen, so I can’t have anyone counting on me to show up.  But I really DESPERATELY need more human contact and more exercise, both physical and mental.

Maybe I’m almost ready to join a gym again?

I feel like I’ve burned a lot of bridges: I had a disagreement with the Quilters Club (long story, involving blogs) so I don’t feel I can go back there; my former BFF (who I had a really DUMB fight with, although we were probably heading in different directions anyway) is one of the main movers and shakers of the local Sewing Guild, so I don’t feel I can go there, either.  The gym I’d LIKE to go to – is where the former BFF goes.  So if I went there I would inevitably end up running into her…

What else is there? How do I get out there and meet kindred spirits? Once upon a time I would have found a church but I lost my faith a long time ago now.  There are lots of people to play with online, but I really need someone or a group of people that I can meet with In Real Life.  And I need to be able to do this in a way that doesn’t cost very much at all – after the week we’ve had, the dog is eating better than we are, since we’d already bought her soup bones before The Day That Went Wrong. (I forgot to mention on that post that the washing machine flooded earlier in the day, too, just to make things even more fun…)

I had been going to Social Cr8te at the local scrapbooking shop, and probably will again, I just haven’t really been feeling well enough after the surgery yet. Maybe next Thursday.  And I know a couple of the girls are probably doing scrapping there tonight, but for once Mr Beloved and I have something we both really want to watch: a special on the Eurovision Song Contest (for which we are utter tragics, it’s so kitsch and wonderful, even if SBS does insist on using their presenters rather than taking the British stream, which even without The Great Woges is generally funnier.)

So, this morning I was quite miserable about how shut in and lonely I have become. I went and woke Mr Beloved (who had not come to bed until about 5 am, as he was doing computer-y stuff, and fair enough, that’s his thang) and tried to explain that I needed to get out of the house but I wasn’t sure where to.

We ended up  going for a walk around Toowoomba’s main shopping strip – or rather, what’s left of it after the big shopping malls have forced the closure of many of the smaller, older  businesses.  Lots of empty shops.

I did get a giggle from the sign for this business:

I think it’s the juxtaposition of yoga and burlesque that makes me laugh – apart from the business name, of course.  From one extreme to the other, all in the one business.  I’m almost tempted to go check them out…

And then there was this dress:

I had to post it to my facebook page as soon as I got home and ask: “WHAT is this dress doing? Anyone want to suggest an appropriate time and place to wear this?”  (You’ll have to go see my facebook page for some answers…) I mean: Gingham with that  – what’s it called – crimplene? finish, topped with plastic/metallic beading around the boobs, with more re-embroidered lace dripping towards the waist; then the border of black lace with another ruffle of tulle and then more black netting over white tulle – omfg, I don’t know WHO designed it, but I’d dearly love to know what was going on in their head.

So: what to do? Dear Friend who got me thinking about this suggested a book club; I’ve looked on the local council’s online guide but there’s not really much there that appeals.  Surely someone else must have faced this – what did YOU do?  Any suggestions gratefully received…

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4 Responses to A Conversation I Had To Have: Isolation and Loneliness, and A Really Bad Dress

  1. Hilary Metcalf says:

    Sorry – second attempt at this – we moved around a lot in our previous life, so I was always having to start from scratch making new friends -got old eventualy, anhe got another job. My children were always a great entree – but I know you do’t have any – but you have a dog- hae you thought about the local kennel club, under the guise of dog obedience classes, or whatever they run? I used to live in Toowoomba – a long time go – 1976 to e exact – sorry to hear that the local businesses are dying out. Good luck Caity.

    • Caitlin says:

      Thanks, Hilary – Dog obedience classes might be a good idea – Little Miss 6 year old poodle thinks she runs the house, so some re-training might well be in order.

      Toowoomba is really suffering from not being the rural drawcard it used to be – I think more people are prepared to travel to Brisbane to get what they want now, and the internet has made a big difference in ordering speciality things that Toowoomba shops might have once stocked. Apparently it’s not as cold and foggy here as it used to be either, long tern residents tell me.

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  3. Marion says:

    Hey sweetie,

    I would love it if we could drop in and catch up like we used to when you were here in Canberra. I really miss you and your incredible creativity!
    Like Hilary said, dog walking/obedience is really good. I get to meet lots of people this way, but still feel lonely. The study is keeping my occupied. It’s good to go out into the fresh air if you are feeling up to it, and Connie would love it.

    Miss you miss you miss you miss you,


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