Lauren Aitchison

High functioning loneliness

Lauren Aitchison
High functioning loneliness

When I moved to London four years ago, the only person I knew was my mum's cousin Rosemary. She had a husband and a baby and a proper adult life. Everything I owned (including a slow cooker from my granny) fit into the back of my friend Aarron's Corsa. I remember standing in my bare room in Brockley, feeling totally fine. I had a nap then went to John Lewis to buy a fancy duvet cover. A couple of weeks later, a blogger I'd met once at an event took me to the cinema to see Filth and I laughed twice as loudly as everyone else (y'know, 'cause I'm Scottish). Four years later, Hannah and I are still friends.

Moving house is nothing to me now; I can get along pretty much anywhere. I moved schools at seven and 100 miles away to Aberdeen University at 17. I sat my Higher English at evening classes with middle aged women and studied journalism in a town I'd never set foot in until my first day. Then I moved to London. 

Within the space of a year, I went from my friend-filled (but skint) London life to the north coast of Scotland. When Mike and I moved in together four months to the day after our first date, I didn't think much of it. I can get along pretty much anywhere.

Except here, apparently.

I've never considered making friends a skill. I've always been the heart-on-my sleeve, extroverted oversharer of any group I'm in. I have set stories I tell women to break the ice so I'm the butt of the joke and it makes them feel comfortable. I'm not good at small talk, so I don't even try; I go straight for the hard stuff. I'll admit making friends (or not) didn't factor much in my decision to move north of the wall. I just assumed I'd find some.

It's been two years and I have no friends.

Without going into too much high school-style detail, I've been blacklisted by a girl in the village, so I'm now unable to socialise with anyone. The few friends I thought I had made have started hanging out without me. I don't know how to play this game. I've never not been liked before.

And God, what a moaner it makes me. I'm so bitter these days, complaining to anyone who'll listen ("I've become really close with my dog recently!"). I have plenty of friends in my life, they just don't live any further north than Edinburgh. Visiting people drains my bank account dry, but if I didn't, I wouldn't see anyone but Mike for months on end. My best friend has moved to Australia and my sister will too, tomorrow morning in fact. 

My mental health is the best it's ever been. I'm writing every day. Work is fine. I love where I live. I'm just lonely.