The Loneliness Pandemic

What is the deal with loneliness? How can we, especially the younger generations, feel lonely in a world so connected? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, Snapchat… we have never had more ways to connect yet levels of loneliness are increasing. My counsellor told me that every second young adult to walk into her practice complains about loneliness.

More than two in ten adults in the United States (22%) and the United Kingdom (23%) say they always or often feel lonely, lack companionship, or feel left out or isolated.

Neil Howe – Forbes
I'm surrounded by people - but I feel so lonely' - BBC News

I am no stranger to loneliness. I have felt the deprivation it creates – of family, love, intimacy, company, conversation and connection. But my god… the Covid-19 lockdown has raised the bar. I am a big advocate of self-reflection and introspection, but too much of it is unhealthy.

When you’re a deep thinker, life is already a struggle – but when you have no one around, physically around, to provide some relief from that, it’s a killer, a self-sabotaging cesspool of anxiety and overthinking.

So why is no one talking about this?

It comes down to shame. Why is there so much shame around loneliness? Probably the same reason why there is so much shame around certain mental illnesses. Because not enough people are talking about it.

There is an embarrassment that is ingrained in it, that because we feel lonely, it means there’s something wrong with us. that we are bad company, social outcasts, weirdos, different.

But we never stop to think about why. What is lying under the surface? What has caused that loneliness? Sometimes it’s self-inflicted, a coping mechanism. Sometimes it’s a lack of confidence.

What experience has he/she had? What is hurting him/her? What has their journey been like? These are the questions we should be asking.

God knows I have felt this shame about myself! But then I remind myself that there is nothing wrong with me, I have just had some pretty nasty shit happen to me over the past few years. I have beautiful people around me and in my life who I love more than anything on earth, but this chapter of my life has just been a little more inwards, for obvious and necessary reasons.

Please, people. Don’t be so quick to judge. I challenge you to be curious and kind instead. Show some empathy, open up a dialogue, you never know what you might find out.

2 thoughts on “The Loneliness Pandemic

Add yours

  1. Hi Mike,
    I hear you mate. I have been skirting around the edges of Dudes and Dogs for a while, for various reasons and have read many of your posts.
    I truly admire you ability to open up and discuss your issues.
    Am I lonely? Often. Self-inflicted? Yes. Self-imposed? Yes. Lack of confidence? Situationally. But at the same time I am very at peace in my own company. I moved to Bristol 3 years ago, and for complex reasons I have made very few friends. My main, small group of friends are on the south coast of England.
    I am an naturally an introvert, and find social situations very difficult to navigate at times. Especially when it is a situation that is outside of my “comfort zones”.
    Any way. Thanks for writing this. It resonated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow mate, thank you so much for your comment and for opening up. I know it isn’t easy, so well done man. I really thin this is something experienced by so many… my reasons for having not made many friends here either (I moved to Bath just over 2 years ago) are complex too. My friends are in South Africa! You are doing your best mate. And I trust that your reasons are important and valid to you, and that’s all that matters. Thanks brother 🙂

      Like

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