Shhh…do you hear that? It’s loneliness, your quietest friend. He’s come to visit again. Loneliness comes to visit me often, less than he used too, but still too much. He typically visits me at night when I’m in bed trying to quiet my mind. He used to visit me when I was with friends, when I was in class, when I was at work, pretty much whenever he felt like it. That is until I met a newer, nicer friend called medication that I take each morning. Medication didn’t replace loneliness though, it just made him visit less frequently. Going through the foster care system growing up made me believe that loneliness was my only friend, I found comfort in him. I became a shadow of who I was, who I was supposed to be. As an introvert it can be hard to distinguish between needing alone time to recharge, and the black hole of just loneliness. With hard work and lots (and I mean LOTS) of patience, I’m peeling off the shadow that holds onto my back and letting the sun shine on it for a change. I’ve felt good for a while now. I’m in college with roommates and friends that I can’t imagine not having around. People that make me feel safe, heard, and respected. Even when they might not always understand, they always respect what I need and that’s all I can ask for. Some days are better than others and I’ve been warned that loneliness can reattach himself at any time, but I’m not scared anymore because I know I can shake him back off.