The Loneliness of the Long-distance Runner

I may have mentioned that I’ve been receiving counselling recently. (Well, I thought I was receiving counselling, but at my last session the ‘counsellor’ said she felt I could do with some counselling…) I thought now was the time I tried to outline what I thought the problem might be.

I’ve been somewhat unhappy for 25 years, but it’s only recently that it’s started to get on top of me a little. The three main problem areas, as far as the consensus between me and the various health professionals, are that I lack self-confidence, have very little self-esteem, and that I’m lonely.

I’m not sure if one informs the others, or they co-exist quite happily, but the upshot is that all my avenues to address my malaise are under-mined by the other two, in what feels like an inescapable catch-22 situation. My attempts to fend off the loneliness by maintaining current relationships and building new ones are hampered by the fact I’m sure no-one finds me interesting enough to talk to, and so on. I’m worried I lack empathy, and I’m concerned that I’m so generally miserable with this lack of human contact, that it breeds a horrible destructive envy of people that do seem happy, which generates a feedback loop.

Perhaps I do need to seek further counselling; I’ve convinced myself that I don’t understand, and don’t have the ability to talk to, other human beings, that there’s another strata of communication hidden between the lines of everyday conversation. I feel that I don’t have anyone I can confide again, but again that might be a perception issue. Perhaps there are trust issues at play.

I’m not sure what I can do. My self-esteem is like is a removed limb or organ I’ve learned to get by without. It’s been thoroughly resistant to any previous treatment. Maybe someone can suggest something, someday.