Loneliness can cause depression and if it lingers for a long time, it can lead to premature death. The need for human connection is a fundamental part of human life. Loneliness is different for everyone. The reason someone feels lonely differs from why the other person feels lonely.
Loneliness is a response to the need to belong. There are two interesting comparisons I want to give here. Just like hunger, when an individual is hungry; it is easy to get food and eat. You might not eat your favourite meal but you eat the food (You are not allergic to) that is available at that moment. This illustration applies when an individual feels lonely.
Unlike food, you can satisfy your hunger at that moment. You cannot satisfy your loneliness easily. Getting away from loneliness requires you to know how to establish and maintain interpersonal relationships, which for some people can be difficult to do. They need time to get used to
people around them and if those people do not fit in your circle, you feel alone despite being surrounded by people.
Being in a group provides a sense of solace. When you feel you’re a member of a particular group, community, organisation or tribe, is comforting. You might not want to be around others all the time, but being identified and noticed with some people is reassuring. It is healthy to spend time alone, but as earlier mentioned being alone and lonely are two different things.
Being alone can be a choice. Being lonely is when surrounded with people, yet they do not fit in your circle; resulting in loneliness.
Loneliness can trigger feelings of depression, and depression can create feelings of isolation.
Depression and loneliness can both be isolating. Loneliness makes you to have the feeling of being isolated and abandoned in a world alone. You feel nobody understands what you are going through and feels totally withdrawn from the world. It is necessary to reach out to someone you trust. Reaching out might seem hard, but it is possible to reach out. Break through the feelings of loneliness and let go of the feeling of hopelessness.
If you felt lonely, it’s important to know that you are not alone and that there are ways to establish healthy relationships and overcome loneliness. First, you need to acknowledge that you feel lonely. Recognise the instances you feel lonely or identify the reason you feel lonely.
Exploring more about your emotions will enable you to address the ways to decrease those feelings of isolation and establish the healthy relationships you crave for. Some lonely people do not recognise they are lonely, and simply have accepted the
feelings they have as normal.
How can you recognise the signs of loneliness? (To be continued in the next post)