One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made of recent years was when I gave up a supportive housing apartment to go and live in a shared house with roommates, thinking that it would make me feel less lonely. If anything, living with strangers has made me feel even lonelier and I’ve felt like a prisoner trapped in my room while those people were home and using the common areas. Every shared house I’ve lived in with strangers ended in disaster and I ended up feeling the need to constantly avoid those people and I even ended up resenting them. I don’t know how college students can live in shared homes or dorms with strangers, but it’s not something I can do or could have even done when I was in my late teens / early 20’s.
The most difficult experiences I’ve had have been in shared Airbnb homes, where you rent a ‘private room’, such as the one I’m staying in now. In many ways, this is even worse than living with roommates because I don’t know the hosts at all and many of these types of accommodation have multiple private rooms, so there’s the problem of having to share with other guests, totally at random. Such guests and hosts are even more difficult to avoid than regular roommates, because I’m unable to figure out their schedules, so I’m more likely to feel trapped in my room or afraid to use the common areas such as the kitchen and living room.
Spending the last year or so living with roommates and staying at Airbnb shared homes has definitely been highly detrimental to my mental health, my sleep pattern and even my diet. I have not felt able to fully relax and unwind in my own home, I can’t sleep well when I feel trapped inside one room. As for my diet, I am forced to eat during the early hours of the morning and during a 6 hour window during the day, when I know for sure that I won’t run into the host or any other guests staying here.
I will never live with roommates or stay in an Airbnb ‘private room’ ever again. I would rather sleep outside, to be perfectly honest. Such living situations are terrible for introverts and people on the autism spectrum. For me to be able to share my living space with someone, they’d have to be a really good / long time friend or a romantic partner who I felt comfortable around for it to stand any chance of working. The LAST place I want to see strangers or be seen by strangers is in the place where I live. They bring the very things in from the outside world that I do my utmost best to avoid, triggering my anxiety, loneliness, depression and even my envy of others.