• Ian Sparkman

Alone


WARNING: This article contains discussion of depression self-harm/suicide. If this makes you uncomfortable, we recommend you sit this article out.


This article is more or less documentation of my mental state following a move in which I was separated from my parents. I am telling you this personal story not because I need pity or that I need to vent, but because I want to help people like me. When you live a life that involves the Armed Forces, you will face change that you despise and cannot control. Our lifestyle is one that we should be extraordinarily proud of, but that we will also most likely resent at one point or another. This is normal, and we deserve to feel these emotions from time to time. The important thing is how we deal with these feelings and cope with the changes, which are the root of the feelings. Some folks handle this better than others, and that's okay, it’s what makes us individual, and it always helps us to experience our lives. Always remember that…..


"One of the most rewarding and important moments in life is the moment you finally find the courage to let go of what you can't change." - Marc & Angel

Monophobia is defined as the fear of being alone, either from a specific person(s) or just in general. Monophobia can often be caused by an assortment of childhood trauma, a bad relationship, or another sort of socially damaging experience.


I don't have Monophobia, or at least I don't think so. But I'm about a year removed from a move which sent my parents overseas and me to Texas, effectively ripping us apart for the foreseeable future. I often find myself feeling unequivocally and dreadfully alone. I would have never thought it to be a situation I would be in nor a scenario which would change my personality so drastically. I miss having my Mom there to hug me and tell me I’m growing up fast, and that she loves me, and my Dad to tell me he can’t imagine how I’ve turned out and he’s proud of the man I’ve become to my face and not a cheap app.


If you knew me before the move, you would probably note me as joyful, easygoing, an extrovert (perhaps), and quite optimistic. If you've met me following the move, however, I've become stagnant. I'm pretty stubborn and very introverted. When I'm at home I feel alone. While I still live with family (Aunt and Uncle), I feel as if I have no one, and that reoccurring thought scares me. I've discovered that the most degrading feeling in the world is the feeling of having no one, at least no one of significance to you. It's a feeling I had never experienced before and I would have never been able to grasp until now.


Feeling completely alone is not necessarily a sharp pain. It's dull, like a burn that never heals or a cut that doesn't stop bleeding. It feels like a void, one that's impossible to fill by conventional means. I can tell you by experience you can't hide the void to heal it. I tried to drape a veil over it, act happy for those around me, I try to level my emotion over texts. Lord knows some of my old friends don't need my troubles on their conscience, I continually remind myself. Besides, a void this large can’t be filled by a conversation; that can only ease the pain momentarily like a dull medication or ice on a shattered bone. My mind tortures me with these ideas, the fact that I’ll be alone forever, and I know for a fact that my mind is right when it tells me that the feeling of Loneliness has given me the greatest emotional lows I’ve ever experienced. Never in my life have I felt so insignificant, so meaningless, like such a waste of space. What brings it lower are the nights when you feel like it’s your fault, and maybe in some ways, it is.


The change caused by military life is what’s causing this feeling for me. The change in your attitude, the change from extrovert to introvert. You ask yourself, "How is it possible? How do things change like this? Why do things change like this?" It makes it worse. You're aware of the change, but you can’t fix it. In many ways life is a double entendre in that it is heavily influenced by the eyes of the beholder and often takes you in multiple directions both physically and emotionally. In our way of life, this thought is exacerbated.


Change comes fast and hits hard, harder than we can handle sometimes. Change, for most, acts as life's agent of chaos. The device that creates your life's turbulence. You become Sad and Happy, Frustrated and Achieving, Wanted and Unwanted, Loved or Alone. We cannot control these changes, no matter how hard we try, out of hope, anger, or plain desperation. The mind seldom likes to accept this fact. It is human nature to seek control over one's own life, and because of this, many of us hate the feeling of powerlessness that these changes bring to our existence; it drives us mad.


In many ways, change can hurt us in ways we didn’t imagine. When my unorthodox move came out of nowhere, it ultimately hurt me in ways I didn’t even imagine at the time I got the news. I still have yet to recover socially, I feel as though I will never make a genuine friend at school again and that I can’t hold a conversation anymore, that I’m outwardly boring, insensitive, needlessly confrontational and intolerable, even, without any sort of support to help me cope or at least avoid my own senseless, detrimental self-loathing. That every monophobic fear I have is based on my own shortcomings of personhood.


New social anxieties within myself that I didn’t even know existed started popping up left and right and I have no idea how to deal with them or if it’s even possible. These types of emotions are not undocumented, and at this point in our society are hardly even rare, especially in folks my age, OUR age.


The point is, if you're experiencing this type of emotional drain, know that you're not alone. I have and still am experiencing it along with thousands of other teens, including military teens. Remind yourself that these feelings are natural and have causation.


I remember a time when things were simpler and didn’t feel so frightening, so alone, so slow, so unfulfilling, so empty. Something I’ve discovered over the past year is that these feelings typically have variables, near causations but not quite. What I mean by that is not the big one, not whatever event you thought of during my story, that one that is out of your control typically. What I mean is like a bad interaction with someone, or a bad grade, or just dropping into a bad mood.


Something that is under your control is that way you choose to live your life removed from your event. I’ve found the simple things are the best therapy: just having a hobby or playing videos games, whatever reminds you of the good times or even just stimulates your mind. One strange thing I’ve done to keep my mind healthy is to beef up my class load a bit so I always have something to work on when I feel myself drifting.


There’s also always the option to find someone to talk to. Even I, the kid that can’t make friends anymore, can still find a teacher or old friend from the good ole days to talk to, especially in this age of technology in which you can contact someone in a snap of the fingers. I'm the type of person that almost never shares my personal emotions with people close to me (it’s just the way I’m wired, I suppose), but it’s important to remember that talking to someone, anyone, about anything can drastically improve your mood when you need it. Especially early on, it’s important to make those moments of difference happen, because trust me, they can make the difference between being here and being gone.


I’ve gone through my fair share of terrible coping methods, and trust me, you wanna work through it right or it’ll just make it worse, and make you more lost. For me it was a relationship that I sought out because I thought I needed a new favorite person, someone who could make up for those I had lost. I needed someone to cure my monophobia. It was a relationship based on a foundation of sand, one in which my expectation was that I would heal based on the way my partner could fill my emotional void. It wasn’t fair to her, obviously, and at the end of the day, it only made my mental state worse.


When the relationship inevitably went downhill, I felt as if I was losing my parents again. I had the first thoughts of self harm I had ever experienced in my life during that time period. I felt my mind genuinely start to slip. I strongly encourage you to seek wiser counsel if you get to that point where you're slipping. There aren't many worse feelings than when you feel yourself start to slip, and when you completely fall, there’s no telling what might happen. So please, if you reach that point, please let someone know. Trust me, as someone who can unfortunately say they've been there, it’s not the road you want to go down.


After now over a year of this presence living in my mind, I feel as though I can confidently say that my feelings have improved. I think living in that day to day mentality in a lot of ways has helped me focus on the now rather than disdain in my own nonsensical pities. In many ways I still often feel monophobic, and I obviously still dreadfully miss my parents, but I also feel as though I now better enjoy the moments I have with other people.


I think I’ve learned an important God-given lesson within myself that I’m not always in control of my circumstances, and that’s ok. Life is precious, and the moments we have in this life are to be cherished and natural, not forced and insignificant.


But most importantly, it’s okay to feel sad. Everyone feels sad and everyone gets affected by circumstances differently. To be sad is to mean that you were happy, and that you can be happy again.


If this article made you feel better about whatever your circumstances may be, that’s great, but even if it didn’t, I hope that it helped you to realize that you're not alone. Many of us today suffer from depression, anxiety, even monophobia. But the great thing about it is that these things make us stronger. Stronger-willed, stronger emotionally, stronger together. We will prevail.


While the team at Bloom certainly understands the struggles of being a military teen, we are by no means equipped or qualified to offer assistance or counsel. If you or a loved one is in need of mental help or is suffering from trauma or abuse, we encourage you to talk to a parent, teacher, counselor, or other trusted adult. Additionally, you can check out our Resources page for different places you can go to seek mental health help. Remember, you are not alone.

Bloom takes pride in being a safe, nonpartisan platform for military kids to share their stories and be empowered. All of the opinions expressed in articles belong solely to the author and are not a reflection of the views of the founders and editors of Bloom. Additionally, we understand the struggles and emotions of being a military child, but are not a mental health resource and are therefore unequipped to administer advice and assistance in that area. If you or a loved one are suffering from depression, abuse, or trauma, please visit our Resources page to find help.

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