I just really need a cuddle

It may not feel this way, but you clearly have good self-knowledge and a keen ability to share your core distress. That’s a great thing and a credit to you.

That your son is, as you say, your world… and that the depression and loneliness sink in when he goes to sleep… that’s when your mind has time to focus on you and not relay all that loving support to him.

I’m just supposing here but even if I’m missing marks, know that someone is trying now to offer you the cold comfort of typed huggery.

Being a single parent can be a thankless task. Not because the child is ungrateful but because every responsibility falls on you and can’t be delegated. It’s a lot of pressure and can be depleting. At the end of the day you have room to process it all — the good and the bad — but all that feeling has nowhere to go right now. Of course you need comfort. It’s how we recharge.

And right now that seems impossible. You are needed and — I assume even if you have support from some friends, neighbors or family — you are your own safety net. That’s a lot more pressure.

It’s amazing for your child to be your world but it can also feel like it narrows your world and consumes your identity as you think it would be perceived by anyone who may enter your life. Even if not, you have done a lot of emotional math and know that your completely understandable need for comfort and support would feel like a burden to someone if (or when!) someone enters your life.

As someone who has no kids, I’m in no place to offer suggestions. Anything I can think of is made a little more difficult for you because it might mean babysitters or other “outsourced” support. It does sound like you could really use a little “me time” to reset. It’s a cliché to say “treat yourself” and to reference “self-care” but that won’t stop me from suggesting the clichés!

Whether it’s going to a spa, attending a favorite sport game, joining a meetup related to a hobby, or just going to The library, cracking open a book and sitting in a comfortable chair among other people (and NOT in your home), you might benefit from a few hours. The first time might feel like it isn’t helping because you’re self-aware and you still have the internal checklist of all your responsibilities.

But if you do it with some regularity for a few weeks, you may feel your internal world opening up a little. And that’s not to diminish your son in ANY WAY! It’s to say you’re reconnecting with yourself and feeding yourself. You’re giving yourself the opportunity to breathe. You will benefit, he will benefit, and with any luck you’ll begin to feel a little more emotionally diverse while you’re simultaneously “out there” where maybe there’s a chance to find that someone who will get to know you despite your understandable feeling that you are needy. Adults understand this and you are looking for an adult. They’re out there (or so I’m assured!).

So in the despairing hours, try to think of a place you can go just to be and think of how you can make it happen. Call it a tiny, attainable late night daydream. Give yourself time to sell yourself on it.

We all need some sunshine and water and that can feel too much to ask in a kind of drought.

In the meantime, keep being there for your world and hug him and be there for him in ways that feed you both. Try to take a little of that emotional sustenance as reminder you are not just in need; you’re a whole person.

/r/depression Thread