Why loneliness doesn't mean being alone

by - 5/11/2017 08:00:00 pm

May 8th marked the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week and I decided it was the perfect week to publish a post about a mental health issue that actually effects almost everyone. In a study by the Mental Health Foundation, 53% of 18-34 year olds reported that they've felt depressed because they felt alone.

Think of it this way, if you meet up with a friend it's likely that one of you feels lonely.

Loneliness doesn't necessarily mean being alone, it means feeling isolated. So if you're worried that you can't feel alone because there are so many people around you, it's not true. You can have thousands of friends and family members around you but feel separated from them.

Oxford dictionary has 3 definitions of loneliness:

→Sadness because one has no friends or company.

→The fact of being without companions; solitariness.

→The quality of being unfrequented and remote; isolation. 

I'm going to dispute every single one of these. My definition of loneliness:

A feeling of separation from society either mentally, physically or emotionally. 

To feel lonely is to feel like you are partitioned from society in a way that you can't describe. The other day I was asked why I feel lonely, what possible reason could I have for feeling lonely when I count my work colleagues as friends, I meet up for coffee with at least one person a week and I have a tight knit family? I couldn't really put it in to words. My honest answer is that I feel lonely because sometimes I place myself on an island due to the feeling that people don't understand what is going on in my head. 

Sometimes I place myself on an island due to the feeling that people don't understand what is going on in my head. 

Ever heard that phrase 'You never know what someone else is going through', it's alarmingly accurate for a lot of people. Everyone who can't actually put their feelings into words so therefore can't possibly explain what they're going through. If you've got a broken leg you would say 'My leg is broken and the pain feels like I've been shot by a death star laser' so why can't we say 'I feel isolated and it's like there's a hole inside me that can't ever be filled by anyone or anything', it's because instantly most people would recoil and be like 'woah too deep'. Internal feelings are not accepted in the same way as external feelings.

If you've got a broken leg you would say 'My leg is broken and the pain feels like I've been shot by a death star laser'.

If 50% of this population are feeling lonely, why can't the other 50% be there to help pick them up? Why can't the 50% help each other? Because we don't talk enough about being lonely. The more lonely we are, the more we shut up shop - and that's when loneliness means being alone.

If you're feeling lonely I urge you to tell someone before it becomes being alone. While you've still got a slight crack in that barrier you're putting up, while you're still aware that there are people that love you, while you've still got the strength left because loneliness drains you, it drains everything you are and everything you used to be.
    Loneliness drains you.
  • Where do you feel most lonely? (For me it's at home, even just stepping out of the door for a walk relieves me)
  • Who are you still willing to open the door to? Who's texts do you still respond to?
  • Is it something more than loneliness? Could it be depression or another mental health issue?
  • What do you actually like doing?
That last one is seriously important, the things you like doing can be a distraction from being alone because you occupy your thought processes with something else. Imagine someone being stampeded by a mob of marathon runners - what activities are your marathon runners? Text that person and go for that coffee.

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  1. Mental Health Awareness Week is super important! Im so glad you've wrote this post and I really hope people read and become more aware!

    Darriyan xx

  2. Well done to you for raising awareness lovely, posts like this take a lot of bravery to write and well done on spreading this important message about loneliness.

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog
    My Instagram | Instagram

  3. This is a really well-written post, I completely agree with your definition of loneliness and I know the feeling that no one gets what you're feeling/thinking, it makes you feel so isolated. I also feel most lonely at home, it gets a lot better when I step outside and go get a coffee or just go for a walk. xx


  4. Seriously this is a wonderful post. I suffer from depression (now mild) and anxiety. I always had a feeling of being "alone" and would even confuse myself about the differences and how all these things I think are bad are just all in my head. The truth is not everyone is understanding, there's still a lot of people out there that do; it's just about finding the right people to surround yourself with and to cut out the negative ones out of your life. Anyways again beautiful post!

    Stacey, thebambieyes.com