Feeling lonely on days of love

Umbrella, rain, alone, solitary, lonely, Romania

Loneliness is a feeling of isolation and disconnection that is cold and miserable, wherever you are. It can be worse at a noisy party than alone in the rain.

In these days running up to Valentine’s Day and its Romanian version Dragobete and Martisor, we are fed images of romance and love, and the whole world seems wrapped in a rosy haze of togetherness. But what about those who don’t feel the love? Who feel disconnected, isolated, and invisible?

Loneliness feels so much worse on these days when you’re supposed to be happy – especially in Romania, where the culture is so family-orientated and open-hearted. The upcoming love-fests can be agonising for those who feel …. Read more…

 

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Valentine schmalentine

It’s round the corner – here’s how to have a great day, regardless.

14th February has become yet another commercial touchstone, turning winter into gold for giftshops, restaurants, florists, perfumiers, jewellers, chocolatiers – anyone who can think up a link to romance, sex, hearts and flowers, Cupid, Eros and the great search for love. Valentine’s Day… hmph.

What about those of us who won’t get a card or a bunch of roses? Who won’t get wined and dined, or be given gifts?

What about those of us who will get a card and maybe a gift and maybe go out to eat somewhere expensive… but only because we sort of have to? Because we’d be in the doodoo if we didn’t?

Next to Christmas and birthdays, Valentine’s Day is the day most likely to make us feel lonely. If we’re already lonely, it can make us feel worse than usual.

But don’t just sit there and let Cupid shoot poisoned arrows at you.

You have options! (read more…)

 

Blog for mental health – no more stigma

mental health, blog for mental health, mental illness, depression, loneliness, isolation, alientation, lonely feelings, full of life, dying of loneliness, bored and lonely, stuck, friendship, connection, well, ill, suicide, suicidal, feelings, emotionsI pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project.  I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others.  By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health.  I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

After five family bereavements in 14 months, I had a melt-down in 2008 which had a serious impact on my business, on friendships and work relationships, on my finances and my whole way of life. It resulted in a huge change – leaving the country and starting a very different life in Europe. The peace and clarity of the mountains gave me back the ability to think, but it took years to reach the point of being able to go back into the ‘real’ world. For many reasons, I wouldn’t turn the clock back as, despite the bad bits, I have learned so much and found so much good in the process. I would only wish to undo the damage I unwillingly caused to others.

This blog is a major route to putting something back, to sharing what I’ve learned and, maybe, giving people some new options to getting out of deep ruts.

Two good ones to read:

Knocked over by a feather

A canvas of the minds

Loneliness, whether chronic or acute, can be wrapped up in the despair that leads to thoughts of suicide. Read this powerful post and keep your eyes and ears open for the tiny clues that might alert you to family or friends’s hidden feelings. If this is you… talk to someone, please. If you feel that no-one you know cares enough to listen, talk to someone whose job it is to listen. You won’t be a burden – exactly the opposite. They’ve trained for years to be able to help you and all of us who need help from time to time, so they are completely focused, ready and more than willing. Please… pick up the phone, send an email, or walk in. Don’t fester on your own. Another perspective really helps to pull you at least part of the way out of your rut. And when you get a better all-round view, you may start to see some solutions. There will be some, but you need to be in a position to spot them. You can’t see anything when you’re in the depths where it’s dark and cold. Let someone give you a hand to reach the light and the warmth…

Attention and intention

Full of life, banish loneliness, be a good listener

Is this the face of a good listener? Would you like to have her as a friend to talk to?

One crucial thing to understand is the way we connect with others. It’s not enough to be in the same place as other people. You can be in a crowded room, a busy station, a park full of people, even in bed with your spouse… and still feel lonely. In fact, it can feel much worse – to be close to others but be shut out, shut off from them, invisible. Sometimes you feel that even if you yelled and screamed, no-one would hear you.

Sometimes even if you’re in the middle of a conversation, you can feel that your companion has drifted off, distracted by something else or just daydreaming. They’re not listening to you any more, and when you prod them, they are startled as they pull their attention back to you.

“Sorry, I was miles away…”

Not very flattering, is it? Is what you were saying so boring?

Who knows what was going on in their head. Maybe they were terribly worried and couldn’t concentrate. Maybe they saw something fascinating over your shoulder. Maybe they’re exhausted after a hellish day. Maybe they’re shallow and selfish and need a slap…

Ignore that last bit – it’s how it makes us feel but it’s almost certainly not fair.

We’ve all had it happen to us… but have you ever been guilty of it? Not listening, not keeping your attention focused on what someone is telling you?

Being a good listener is a great way to connect: here are seven points of a listener.

banish loneliness, be full of life

Are they listening? Are they people you’d want as friends for their kindness and empathy?

1. Keep eye contact as much as possible; keep your eyes on the speaker’s face, at least.

2. Listen with all your senses – more is said with body language and tone of voice than with words.

3. Don’t interrupt. Don’t argue. Ask questions to get clarity, not to interrogate.

4. Stay close but not too close – don’t invade the speaker’s personal space unless invited.

5. Let your body show your interest; lean forward just a little, don’t fidget, but nod your head to indicate you hear them and understand.

6. Listen with empathy. Don’t criticise, and don’t judge – not even in your head.

7. Be kind. The speaker will feel your kind intention.

Do you know how it feels to have a good listener to talk to? 

Are you a good listener?

 

Happy high-flyer hides lethal loneliness

Loneliness does not just affect the elderly and vulnerable. It’s a feeling that can hit anyone, any age, any circumstances – and can be devastating.

A 28-year old woman living in Manchester felt so cut-off from her family that despite being thought happy and successful, she felt acutely lonely to the point of suicide.

The Kenyan online paper The Standard (read the report here) reported the sad death of Sharon Bukokhe, a high-flying business woman living in Britain, with her family scattered around the world. Her sense of disconnection must have agonising, as it lead to her planning and carrying out her own death, presumably to stop the pain of alienation and separation.

On the surface she was happy, busy, intelligent, ambitious and heading for success. But she was disguising profound loneliness, even from her family. She was in her twenties, married, with everything ahead of her.

Loneliness, isolation, disconnection – whatever the feeling’s called – can break strong people and shatter lives.

Don’t let it kill someone you love.

 

All the lonely children

Loneliness can blight the life of a child

Much of the focus on loneliness is aimed at the elderly. Not before time, but they’re not the only group of people who feel lonely much of the time. Too many people begin their lonely lives when they are still children.

Lots of people hide their emotions, disguise how they feel and pretend that everything’s just fine. Truth is that we never know what’s really going on behind the disguise, let alone behind other people’s front doors. Loneliness can lurk behind the smartest doors and the busiest schedules.

Look again at the children around you. They may not say they feel lonely. You may not guess from their behaviour. But more children than you’d think feel lonely most of the time, and it has nothing to do with being alone. Loneliness feels lonelier if you’re around other people.

Chronic feelings of loneliness and isolation are high within these groups, for example:

Bullied children and their bullies; children who look after a sick parent; children of alcoholics; children with disabilities; children who have been scarred or disfigured; children with a parent in prison; children whose parents are focused on an ill or injured sibling; children who are expats or immigrants; children in a bereaved family…

Know kids who behave badly? Some of them maybe yearning for attention and don’t know any other way to get it; ‘attention-seeking” may be another way of saying “lonely”.

Christmas is coming – how will you make sure the kids you know aren’t feeling excluded, invisible or unloved this year?