Words by Suzanne Wilson
Image by Shaun Butler
Sometimes, no matter how many people you are surrounded by, you still feel misunderstood, isolated and alone. You can feel separated from everyone, and it may appear that everyone is happier and leading more content and fulfilling lives than you – but this is not the case.
Loneliness can often be a side effect of the defences you put up to protect yourself from the world, following the logic of “the less people I open up and show my vulnerabilities to, the less likely I am to get hurt”. Everyone, no matter who they are, what they do or where they live, is prone to sadness and loneliness.
Causes of loneliness can vary, from lack of companionship, loss of friends, or a break up, but much of the time we can’t pin point exactly what is making us feel this rotten emotion.
Perhaps there has been a major event in your life that makes you feel distant from everyone. You have to remember that there is nothing wrong with you, as we are all more prone to loneliness during major life changes. It’s true that people may not understand your exact feelings, as everyone is unique, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be helped.
It hits me most when I lie down and try to go to sleep at night. My mind becomes less busy and I have nothing to distract me. It usually happens for no particular reason, from what I can tell, as I am very happy and love my life. My point here is: everyone gets lonely.
There are many ways to help ease the feeling of loneliness, these being only a few:
- Crying when we are lonely isn’t always a bad thing. It’s an outlet for sadness and a release of built-up emotion that can often help us feel better afterwards. However, it’s important not to wallow; once you know you cannot cry anymore, pick yourself up and do something to refresh and comfort yourself.
- Calling a friend or family member to talk will often help you feel wanted and loved, especially if you are living somewhere far from home, as you will be reminded that you’re missed. You don’t even have to talk about how you are feeling; you can talk about whatever you want, as long as it makes you feel better.
- Arrange some quality time with one or two close friends. Spending time with people you know and trust can give you a chance to talk about whatever problems you’ve been having, as well as catching up and having a laugh. Doing this with one or two friends is often better than with a big crowd of mates, because being in a large group can often make you feel worse.
Whenever I feel lonely, I keep myself distracted by doing things I love, such as reading, writing or watching films. Sometimes I use it as an opportunity to learn a new skill or find a new interest. Whatever hobbies or passions you have, use them to remind yourself that you are a talented and interesting person – it can often take your mind off any feelings of loneliness or sadness you have.
Remember, there is a difference between loneliness and choosing to be alone. There is nothing wrong with choosing to be alone and enjoying your own company. Solitude can be very comforting and can be a good time for self-reflection, or just to organise your thoughts.
The important thing to remember is that feelings of loneliness will come and go, but no matter how bad you feel, it will get better because you are the one in control.