Never getting alone time?

I don't know if anyone else is like this, but I'm the type of person who likes to be alone sometimes, so I can think, relax, decompress, cry, smile, whatever.

Since getting sick, neither of my parents leave the house almost ever. They're both retired early, and I never ever..ever..have the house to myself. If one parent leaves to go grocery shopping, the other is still here.

I know I can go up to my room and be alone there, but it's not the same as having the whole house to myself and knowing no one will come bugging me. They're probably trying to help by never leaving me alone, but it's not a help. When I encourage them to go somewhere, do something, anything, they tell me they don't have anywhere to go...which they really don't, their friends don't live near here and their friends are all still working. And I'm really tired of listening to them fight all the time, it's a lot to be around constantly.

Long story short, there is always someone here. And it's driving me a little bit crazy. I'm too sick to go out or I would. Sometimes I just...want to be alone.

Is it weird to want to be alone? Or weird that them being here all the time drives me crazy?

PS: I'm 21, and I'm so thankful they're willing to take care of me but... I assume it's a need for normal independence, but I don't really know.


  • 9 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • It's independence screaming it's face off!! I can totally relate and understand both you and your parents. As a parent, I'm not sure I would be able to leave my kids alone either. However, you're an adult. If you need time alone, you have to demand it. Are your parents hanging around because they're "helping" or because you need the care. That's something else to consider.

    Good Luck!
  • I think they think they're "helping." Most of the time I'm ok. I only ask for someone to make me a meal when I'm so exhausted I feel like I literally cannot do it, like I have to feel like I can't hardly hold my head up to ask them to do something for me, and that's once a month or so. The rest of the time I do everything.

    I've tried hinting pretty clearly. I've told them they need to get out, do something, go somewhere, don't stay in just because I"m in, and the answer I get is "I don't have anywhere to go." I've tried suggesting things to do too, hobbies, clubs, a day out. The answer to that is that they're cleaning out the house and garage, they have things to do here. When they do both leave the house to run an errand, it's like 2 hours, and then they're home again, and that happens maybe..once every 1-2 months.

    Being in my room with them downstairs just doesn't cut it. I don't know exactly why, but it doesn't.
    I feel so grumpy today because I just can't stand it.
    I hope I'm not mean for feeling like this, I know they mean well and they're doing a lot for me.
  • When I was sick and going through treatment, I had the exact opposite problem. I was alone all the time. Most days I didn't eat anything because I was too exhausted to make anything. If it weren't for ensure, I would have starved I think... The only time I had anyone to see or talk to, was when my dad came to take me to the Dr.

    I do understand the independence thing though. I felt like every bit of my independence was stripped away. After my surgery, I even had to have my mom help me shower. It was embarrassing and humbling, to say the least.
  • I know that feeling all too well. When I got diagnosed, I spent about 18 days in a coma. And so when I came back to the land of the conscious, I really COULDN'T do anything on my own. I absolutely needed someone there all the time to wait on me 24/7. And for a time, both of my parents AND both of my wife's parents stayed with me. When you've got four extra people staying with you in a house with only 1500 square feet of space, you never get a single moment alone. Thankfully, their own obligations sent them back home in time. My father in law and my mother had to go back to work first. My father went back home a few weeks after that for some physical therapy work. My mother-in-law was the last to leave, and I was ready for it at that time. I was regaining my independence and so I was able to work around the house a little bit, and at least get things on my own. It really was necessary for me to start doing those things on my own, too, as part of my own physical therapy.

    Unfortunately, the only reason my MIL left was because she had a mental health breakdown (unrelated to my condition, her mental health history predated my cancer diagnosis) and my wife and I were not equipped to deal with that on top of my problems. I think if it was not for that, she would have stayed around for MUCH longer, and I'd have been absolutely in your shoes.

    Here's what I propose:
    Explain your need for occasional independence (a stated interval would help, like once a week or something, when you're feeling best). Explain that they need a break from working hard taking care of you, too. Convince them to take a day from time to time and go DO something. An afternoon on the town with dinner, movie, walk in the park, etc.
  • I know it's tough but I would be honest with whoever is not leaving you alone. As long as it's safe for you, it shouldn't be that big of a deal. You are ok to think of yourself and not them :)
  • I recently had this same problem. I live in a one bedroom apartment by myself and when I was diagnosed my mom came to live with me for about a month, we even slept in the same bed. I was never alone and felt like my apartment was slowly becoming hers and I was slowly reverting back to the age of 15. We fought from being around each other so much and I felt like I couldn't hang out with my friends because she was always there. The fighting and isolation took a toll on me emotionally (I felt like a "bad person") so I sat mom down and gently told her how I was feeling. She was very understanding and lives at her own house 11 out of every 14 days now. She makes me soup and freezes it so when I don't feel like making dinner I can just heat the soup up. I feel much better after telling my mom that I may have cancer but I am 22 and need my independence.

    Try talking to them about it, if they get heated stop the conversation and try again when things calm down. Since my parents are stressed and worried about me they overreact so I have to make sure I set the tone of the conversation. Best of luck with getting some alone time!
  • I always need alone time, my whole life. You're not weird!
  • I moved back in with my parents for my transplant and part of my recovery. I had never felt so smothered in my life. But it ultimately worked out for the best because if I had been on my own I would have died from complications from my transplant. It was a mixed blessing. Now I seem to have the opposite problem. When I'm up for hanging out, my friends are at work and when they're free I'm often too tired to hang out.

    You need some space and independence and I think having a day or two a week that's just you rocking out alone in the house sounds like a good solution. The biggest problem is convincing parents that this is necessary. I had a hard time with it, especially after I got out of the hospital. I found that when I was blunt about my need for absolute alone time i had the best results. But my Mom especially can be very dense and often will pretnd not to hear important things that she doesnt want to hear, so being blunt was the best strategy for me. When I had true alone time, I found it very therapeutic.
  • I'm in the same position as many of you. Since undergoing a stem cell transplant in September, I can count the times I've been left alone for more than an hour on one hand.

    For me, it's the principle of feeling lonelier when you're in a crowd; the presence of others only highlights the separation you feel from them. Having some true solitude can actually be distracting because your every action isn't examined in a social context. By that I mean that sometimes I dread simple acts -- like walking to the bathroom or getting a glass of water -- because that simple change in my behavior triggers questions that remind me that I'm unwell: Would I like some tea instead? Have I pooped today [a favorite topic of discussion]? Would I like the heating pad?

    If I was alone, I would just be a person walking to the bathroom, but with those simple, well-intended questions, I'm suddenly the sick child or the sick baby sister. Even when it's clear that I'm in the mood to be left alone and their questions go unvoiced, the awareness and concern of my family is palpable, and that naturally piques my own awareness and concern.

    And that's really the rub: you can't force them to ignore you, even if it would actually be doing you a favor. But what you can do is gently ask them to leave the house for a while. Remind them of the adage "out of sight, out of mind": when they take a mental vacation from your illness, so can you.

    If all else fails, make them dinner reservations and buy them some movie tickets online. Tell them to have a lovely evening and push them out the door.