Saturday, 9 January 2016

Loneliness and Me

Konnichiwa,

I have just caught up on a BBC1 documentary called The Age of Loneliness, a devastatingly sad film about how in such a supposedly connected world there are a surprisingly high number of people who live a lonely existence.  The UK has been voted the Lonely capital of Europe and there are some 6.6 million single person households, with millions who considered themselves lonely.

I am one them.

If you were asked to describe a typical lonely person, I would hazard a guess that the first thought that will come to mind for you would be an elderly widow/widower/single person.  You would be correct, however, they are just a proportion of people who feel alone.  It may surprise and shock you that loneliness affects anyone from 18 years old upwards.  This isn't to say that these are permanent situations, but it can happen at various periods in a persons life, whether through losing a partner or just separation, being isolated through health issues, something I experienced during my years of agoraphobia or even when you move to a new area, again situation I find myself experiencing now.  I have started to make good friends at uni, but as yet have not made a social circle outside uni, so much of my week is spent alone.  I know this will change and I just have to get through this period of time.

If you have an elderly neighbour living alone, please go and see if they are ok, but don't just do this once, make an effort to do this regularly, because you will not just help with their mental health, but also their physical health, because loneliness does affect both in very profound ways.  Also if a stranger tries to strike up a conversation with you, don't automatically think "Why is this weirdo bothering me, stop for a moment and think that this is most likely a person who feels alone and is just wanting to have some sort connection, no matter how fleeting.

Do what you can to make those millions of fellow citizens less lonely, because at some point in the future this is more than like;y something you will experience, well hopefully not if we as fellow human beings do something to quell this increasing epidemic.

6 comments:

  1. One thing social workers could help with is if they have a number of older service users that live in an an area they could start a coffee morning or a lunch group I belong to one and it is one of the highlights of our month it has not spawned a weekly coffee morning and people are starting to do thing with friends they have made there

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah that was mentioned in the programme and something I will propose when back at uni when me and fellow students take over the running of our social work society.

      Delete
  2. A great post Paul. I didn't see the programme but couldn't agree more with what you said above :).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Casey. It's really worth watching if you get the time.

      Delete
  3. One thing to remember is that being lonely doesn't just happen to people who are isolated. I have a very active life but I often feel lonely. I have lots of people to do things with but no one to do nothing with. If I'm not going out there is no one who phones or pops round for a chat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I know and that's something I will continue to experience too for a couple of years at least until I make some really good local friends or be in relationship where I can just do nothing with others. It's daft, as we both have lots of friends around the country who we could spend time doing nothing with, we just don't live near them.

      Delete