01 Sep
All By Myself (Don’t Wanna Be) All By Myself

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I am 22-years-old and currently living and working in Holland with my Dutch boyfriend. In September, I am moving to Scotland to go to university. My boyfriend has been desperately trying to get a job in Edinburgh so we can live together, but hasn’t had any luck. This means I’m now facing the prospect of living alone.

My parents are paying the rent so that they can come up and stay in the spare room on the weekends (meaning, no option of a roommate). My problem is that I am so, so scared! I hate being by myself when I’m at home and the prospect of living alone makes me hyperventilate. How will I be able to get up in the dark in the middle of the night?! I am considering buying a nightlight and a TV for every room in the house to stop me being afraid. Please help.


Scaredy Cat


Dear Scaredy Cat,

After reading your question as a 40-something mother who hasn’t had even a single moment to herself all freaking summer, I have one question for you: Wanna trade? Because you sound like someone who’d actually enjoy having people stand outside the bathroom door yelling your name while you pee, so maybe we could—crap. Excuse me just a sec, will you?


Sorry about that. Let’s go back to your problem of living all alone in a beautiful, clean Scottish apartment, shall we? It sounds so SCARY.

But all kidding aside, it’s perfectly normal to be a bit nervous about living alone for the first time. However, you’re living in Edinburgh, which my (Wikipedia) research tells me is a fairly safe city. Seriously, per the crime statistics, the most common offense is “Dishonesty.” You’re not exactly living in Hell’s Kitchen here, baby. Your biggest risk is getting hurt by a fib.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still use common sense, so always keep your doors and windows locked and never, ever open the door for anyone you don’t know. Maybe even have your dad install a motion detection light on your porch, too. Open eyes and ears are key.

Other thoughts are a self defense class, a dog who likes to bark and/or a baseball bat and some pepper spray near your side of the bed. (But beware of pepper spray in your nightstand. Let’s just say it’s easy to grab it at the wrong moment.) Also, get to know your neighbors and trust that you’ll all look out for each other.

But most of all, try to relax. Paranoia can be your best friend, but it can also drive you crazy so don’t let it. Living alone is a great, freeing experience and one you should try to enjoy while you still can.


Good luck,

Wendi, TMH










29 Responses to “All By Myself (Don’t Wanna Be) All By Myself”


Comment by Abby.

Are you kidding me? First off I live just north of Hell’s Kirchen and the entire area is totally safe . But onto the OP-if at 22 years of age if it seriously scares you to live alone then either get sone therapy, don’t depend on your parents to always live with you, or instead Of your parents staying there maybe the can pay for the unemployed BF. In any case grow up and learn how to have and enjoy some alone time!

Marie Reply:

I suffer from panic attacks as well. Anxiety is a real, and scary thing to deal with. It’s hard to understand if you haven’t been through it. Please stop with the judgemental “grow up” rant. Do some research and stop being so critical. I sincerely hope that you never have to deal with this.


I'm a big ol' b with a captial B! Reply:

Abby, I believe that you’re the one who needs to ‘grow up’ and understand that just because people are different than you, it does not make their feelings and opinions less valid than yours. So knock it off with the judgments.


Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

Dear Scaredy Cat, from what you wrote I think you suffer from panic attacks, a nasty and severely impairing condition that can however be cured (it has been cured ever since the 50s).
A very dear friend of mine used to suffer from them and presented the same symptoms: hyperventilation and uncontrolled panic when certain situations occurred; this situation for you seems being alone in the house.
My friend was very effectively cured by a psichiatrist, a doctor she long hesitated to consult because she said she was not crazy, but when the cure proved effective she repented not going there sooner.
I would advise you to see a psichiatrist, too (or a neurologist, if you don’t like the idea of a psichiatrist), he could really solve your problem.

Meanwhile, buy a night light and a TV set for every room of your house, if it helps you feeling comfortable, but don’t deny yourself the precious experience of living by yourself.

Also consider that you’ll be going to University, which means that you won’t be alone for long and can have some study mate over for the afternoon, if not for the night.


Good luck! πŸ™‚

Aubrey Anne Reply:

Perfect response! I have lived with anxiety all my life as well, and I completely agree with this plan. Fear can feel so real, but it is manageable with some help. You shouldn’t be afraid to seek help, because it really is much more common than you think! And absolutely, do not deny yourself the experience. Do what it takes to feel safer there, and go anyway! Courage, my friend, and you’ll be just fine. xo


Comment by Amy W.

I too was afraid of living alone for the first time. I wasn’t afraid of my safety, having grown up in a huge metropolitan city & knowing that I always had to be cautious about my surroundings. That said, I hated the thought of being alone. Once I actually did it, it was amazing. I read a lot, I sat in the local coffee shop taking in and enjoying my new home. I wrote a lot in a journal about all of the new discoveries. I really feel that living alone taught me a lot about myself, and how to be independent. Since you will be going to school, you’ll make friends & likely have a social life. So though you may not be sharing your home with someone else, you won’t spend your existence in a solitary fashion. Please take this opportunity to discover who you are & take in the beauty of your new environment. Being “alone” is very liberating in so many ways. Try to relax & look forward to the wonderful experience that is ahead of you. I think everyone should live alone at least once.
Good luck!

Desperate Dietwives Reply:

The same happened to me: when I went to live on my own I was first afraid I would feel lonely, and was very pleasantly surprised to find out that I enjoy my company very much. And if you are really comfortable with your self, you are twice as comfortable with others. Trust me, it’s a wonderful experience! πŸ˜€


Comment by Alice.


Im the scardy cat! thank you for your advice (especially yours abby thanks for that!!), i dont actually suffer from panic attacks i have just never lived alone and don’t want to be lonely! But i agree with all other comments and advice that i should learn to enjoy it! I am sure it will be fine when i move in its just the fear up until that point!! Thank you!

Padded Cell Princess Reply:

I lived in Edinburgh for a year and half. I only left at the beginning of January this year. Edinburgh is a great city but there are certain areas you don’t want to be at alone, especially at night. Have you found your flat yet? If you haven’t then I’d be more than happy to go over areas that you definitely don’t want to live in (despite the tempting cheaper rent costs) and areas that are safe and quiet. I am married so I didn’t live there alone but living in a flat in a nice part of town is very safe feeling. You most likely will live in a block of flats, above ground level so if anyone tried to break in, they would have to get in through the locked front door that would only let them into the stairway. (which is usually very echoey and loud so it would give them away instantly). Then they would have to attempt to choose which locked flat door to get into but as I say, it would make so much noise that all of your neighbors would hear and be peeking their heads out of their own doors. Get to know your neighbors, this will help you feel safer as well. As I mentioned already, if you want any info and advice on living in Edinburgh then please feel free to email me and I’d be happy to give you any help that I can.
paddecellconfessions@live.com and I’m Maggie πŸ™‚

Alice Reply:

thank you maggie!! Im living in stockbridge – from what im aware its a pretty nice part of town i think!!
I just needed to hear that i was being silly and that other people successfully live alone!
but i cant wait to live in edinburgh because it is so big and beautiful! I suppose if i am feeling lonely in my flat i can just go out for a lovely walk about!!

Padded Cell Princess Reply:

Stockbridge is lovely! You will be right by the Royal Botanical Gardens which are fabulous (and free!). Just be sure to never go to Leith, Holyrood Park and Calton Hill at night (Calton Hill is one of the biggest areas for people having sex in the bushes and in the cemetery nearby!) Edinburgh is an amazing city and you will fall in love with it! Especially their wonderful German and Highland Christmas market that will start in November…dang, now I’m jealous!

Alice Reply:

will ONE HUNDRED PERCENT being staying away from Calton Hill at all times then!!

Padded Cell Princess Reply:

Hahaha! You don’t have to stay away from Calton Hill during the day as it is a very amazing tourist place with lots of great things to see. I noticed you are doing your MSc. My husband did an MSc in Gender History and loved the University of Edinburgh. It’s a great University with so many resources available. You are going to have a great experience living there!


Comment by Rach W.

Hey there,

I can say I totally sympathise with your problem. I’ll tell you a little bit about my situation.

I’m now 24, but at age 18 I moved 5 hours drive away from home to go to university in Lancaster (England). This was the first time I’d ever tried living away from home and it was freakin’ scary.

Ok, I was living in halls of residence, but my flatmates were VERY unfreindly, so I was living in my room all alone, with no one to talk to, miles away from home. I can tell you honestly that for the first few weeks I would be phoning home sobbing at all times of day. I didn’t go to my grandfathers funeral because I thought if I left uni then I would never go back. I was miserable. HOWEVER that fear and sadness was VERY temporary and only lasted a few short weeks. I made lifelong friends and it was the happiest time of my life.

My advice to you – don’t let your fear of living alone stop you from going. at very least tell yourself that you’ll give it a bloody good go.

People will tell you in your first few weeks – you will most likely only use your room for sleeping in. It’s TRUE. Uni is so busy that you will constantly be out at lectures or the library. and when you find a good friend or too you will basically LIVE around thier house/flat. Or they will live around yours. It’s lovely, you create your own new family!

As for at night – If it makes you feel safer, lock all your doors and windows. Put on the tv/radio (even to fall asleep to) and leave the light on if it makes you feel safe. whatever makes you feel better, do it! the fear will fade. whatever it take you to get through the initial fear. it WILL fade.

I don’t know if this has been any help at all, but I really feel for you and your situation.

Good luck, and go for it!

Alice Reply:

you have really helped thanks!! It is so nice to know that im not the only person who has felt like this! Everyone else i have spoken to about it doesn’t seem to get the problem! I will now feel no shame in buying night lights! Im doing an MSc so youre right i will be constantly busy!! Feel so much better now!!


Comment by Tinne from T and T.

Yup, I now exactly what you mean. When I went to live alone in Brussels during college I felt terribly alone in the beginning. But it got better, when I started to get to know my fellow students and now I think fondly of those days when I at least didn’t have to share my shower with a toddler.


Comment by Plano Mom.

I do believe you have an immediate circle of friends, all fantasizing about coming to Scotland to keep you company.

This is such an amazing and exciting time of your life you will soon forget any loneliness you may have. Please start a blog and let us live vicariously the single unencumbered life!

Tonya Reply:

That an awesome idea!! Yes, start a blog so we can live through you!

Wendi Reply:

I third that emotion. “A Lass on the Loch.” See? I have your blog title already!

annie Reply:

I’m going to 4th that motion.

I was drooling over your post just imagining a few minutes alone in Scotland by myself!! Then my mind wandered to the scottish soccer coaches that taught my daughters camp this summer and i got up to find my suitcase.

Then I remembered I’m happily married with 3 kids, 2 dogs and a hamster and I have to stay here. So please blog your experience and give me something to read over coffee πŸ™‚

Alice Reply:

Thanks guys! I will be moving up next week and will then decide if my life is going to be interesting enough to blog about!!


Comment by Sophie.

Don’t feel embarassed about being scared. When I was young I backpacked round the world by myself and was generally fearless. But the minute I was by myself in a house or flat everything got shadowy and scary. In my case, I discovered I just had to pull the curtains to “keep out the dark” and then leave a lamp on in the hallway… Good luck! I just know you are going to have a great year!


Comment by Danielle.

I second the getting a dog thing. Someone tried to break into our house 2 weeks ago. The Great Pyrenees put a stop to that foolishness. We weren’t even afraid as we fell into a restful nights sleep that night. We’ve never once locked our doors. Between 4 dogs the size of shetland ponies no one is going to threaten our castle.


Comment by rojopaul.

I can’t relate. I’m with Wendi. I just want 5 minutes to myself with NO ONE pulling at me. (The rest of ya’ll covered it nicely anyway.)

Good luck, Alice!


Comment by I'm a big ol' b with a captial B!.

In the process of trying to read this blog I was interrupted twice by my daughter and once by my son. I’ll gladly come live with you. Heck, I’ll pay your part of the rent! As long as you promise not to knock on the bathroom door and yell, “MAMA!”

(Good luck in your endeavors. You’ll do fabulously. πŸ™‚


Comment by Meredith L..

I highly recommend living in a big ol’ apartment building, as opposed to a house or even a duplex, if you are going to be by yourself. There’s a certain safety to a big building: you need keys or codes to get into the buildings, the public areas are (almost) always well-lit, you know (at least by sight) the other people on your floor, your closest neighbor is just a few feet away and probably shares a wall with you, and, generally speaking, if something bad is going to happen you lessen the odds that it will happen to YOU.

Believe me. I moved to NYC by myself when I was a stupid 20-year old and lived alone for a while until I got a roommate. Then I lived alone again for a while in different pads. Nothing made me feel safer than those brightly-lit lobbies and double-locked building doors. (Plus, a lot of buildings have security cameras.)


Comment by seana.

When I first moved out on my very own I was 18. For the first week or two, when I went to bed I kept myself up for hours worrying about break-ins or rapists or other things that go bump in the night. I had to finally tell myself that if it was my night to go, then it was my turn. I accepted that there might be a problem later on, so that I could get to sleep in-the-now. Totally worked, and I became much less afraid. You’ll get used to it, and you will find what works for you. At least you are thinking about it now and trying to be proactive.


Comment by AlGalMom.

You might look into reading the book “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker. It gives very practical ways to evaluate your personal safety and how to use your fear to keep you safe (without becoming paranoid).

Before I became a mother I had a very difficult time staying home alone without getting panicky. A story that helped me a lot was “The Wise Woman” by George MacDonald (a Scot! πŸ™‚ One of the themes in the story is doing the day’s work faithfully so our minds and bodies can rest at the end of the day. You should be able to find the etext pretty easily–all of his stuff is public domain now.

I feel so sympathetic! Peace be with you!


Comment by Jtpearce.

You will look back on this time and say, “what was I thing. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa,”

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