The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:
I’m a male medical technician in my 40s.
I was overwhelmed with loneliness when I was attending my child’s graduation ceremony this spring. The participants were crying, but I wasn’t moved by their emotions at all.
I was bullied during my school days, making me almost a recluse. I kept my distance from society and seldom interacted with my family. I can’t remember a single moment of happiness from those days.
I did try to shed the ugly, depressed side of me. I found a job, got married and participated in as many community activities as possible.
Nevertheless, whenever I hear somebody mention how happy they were during their youth, I feel isolated. I feel so miserable because I know I’ve lived an empty life.
I want something to depend on. Though I love my dear family, I can’t keep from concluding I have nobody to rely upon.
I’m starting to give in to the idea that we all are fated to live in loneliness. Now I can’t help myself from thinking about my former classmate who committed suicide.
A, Hyogo Prefecture
Dear Mr. A:
I see you have had difficulties coping with others.
But you overcame the hardship, started a family and attended your child’s graduation ceremony.
You love your family and participate in community activities. You are a person who can give affection to others. Those who know you, including your family, are well aware of it. But I imagine you sometimes get so exhausted of giving, that you end up recalling your hard days and the people you knew back then.
As we all show affection in different ways, we all receive it in different ways. I have a feeling that you are not that good at receiving. But you don’t have to force yourself to become good at it.
If you sometimes feel like you want to depend on something, it must be because you are kind and strong, and capable of achieving things without the help of others. And you must have acquired your strength through your tough experiences and efforts.
Stay involved with your family, colleagues and community, as you always have been. And when you have the chance, say to yourself that you’re doing fine. It’s not a phrase only for the people around you.
As you do this, you’ll have more opportunities to realize you are loved.
Masahiro Yamada, professor