Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Nicola Griffiths BACP Dip in Counselling BA Hons in Social Studies
10th July, 20170 Comments
Loneliness is a common occurrence within the human experience. Commonly the elderly are thought to be at risk of feeling lonely. As true as this is, people can feel lonely no matter what their age. For example, the child who is left out of a game or worse, not invited to a party. The student who goes to university, leaving the area they were brought up in and their friends there. The new mother whose husband goes to work whilst she is left home to look after the baby. The man who works all the time and has no friends to socialise with. A person grieving the loss of a parent, loved one or child. There are of course loads of examples to cite. In a nutshell, where a change results in the person feeling disconnected from others the feeling of loneliness is common.
Often people mistake a person being alone as feeling lonely. Choosing to be alone is a positive decision and can be restorative for people. Reenergising is essential for people and some people gain energy from people, others gain energy from being alone. There is a scale which different people become low in energy and reconnecting with others may be one way some people gain energy.
The feeling of loneliness comes from a feeling of being disconnected from others. Humans are sociable animals, from birth we attach to our caregiver. At six weeks we learn to smile, a key skill in making friends and engaging with others. We use this skill throughout our lives and continue to be able to make friends, although often we become complacent and stop making an effort to do this. When you are in a position where you want to tell someone about what is happening and you find you have no one to tell. You may realise no one will understand your situation or they will be very opinionated and tell you what to do. Depression can start here, the negative thoughts can go through your mind, for example, "no one understands me", " I have no friends", I'm unlovable". If you feel unable to rationalise these thoughts you can step into a cycle of negativity. Your energy levels lower and being able to reach out to others becomes harder.
Social media can exacerbate the isolation felt, as you can compare your life to others and believe you are missing out or not achieving the way others are. A superficial connection is made on sites like Facebook, but nothing benefits you as much as meeting a person face to face.
If you are feeling lonely, speaking to a counsellor can really help you to connect with someone. By talking to a counsellor you can experience validation. Through the therapeutic relationship, you can build up self-confidence which will enable you to feel stronger and enable you to transfer those skills into your life. A counsellor is non-judgemental and objective they can listen and provide support. Find a professional counsellor through a website like Counselling Directory.
About the author
My background is with people who have experienced trauma, childhood abuse, domestic violence, depression and anxiety. I have an interest in dissociative identity disorder. I was a children and families social worker and I worked on the leaving care team. Dip in therapeutic counselling, BA Hons in applied social studies, Dip in social work, NNEB.
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