Alone, not lonely used to be my favorite catchphrase. Appreciating solitude, taking out me-time, and connecting with friends and family when not spending time alone used to be my pass time. The time I moved to a different country for better professional opportunity, my personal life took a setback. Soon alone became lonely, screen time on phone and laptop became mere distractions from the void I was experiencing. I felt lonely among my 800 friends on facebook, 600 WhatsApp contacts. It felt unnerving to not being able to live by myself, at the same time secluded from the rest of the world. There seems to be a stretch of emptiness outside and hollowness inside me.
Loneliness is a complex phenomenon. It is a feeling of unusual unpleasant emotional response to isolation. From Mental health perspective loneliness can be dealt in clinical and non-clinical way. Loneliness typically can be monitored in the context of anxiety or depression continuum. In simple words loneliness is lack of contact with people due to varied reasons.
Loneliness often unfolds itself into:
This happens because we keep replying unhealthy, unpleasant or stressful event consciously with our unconscious biases and beliefs, believing it to be true or in many instance ineffectively dealing with those unpleasant event. In other words, falling prey to unhealthy coping mechanism like remaining aloof, self-doubt, withdrawal, emotional or binge eating, over-thinking, increased caffeine intake, dependency on alcohol, nicotine or other drugs and so on. In some cases the emotional and behavioral state remains depressive or anxious but in many cases it can also lead to other mental health concerns.
In many cases Loneliness is a cause of personality traits but over the time we need to explore which traits of our personality help us to accomplish goals and progress in life.
Causes of Loneliness:-
A life changing event (death of a closed member, break up, divorce etc) or a transitional event ( moving out to a new city, moving into a new job, college etc); such event can also make us feel lonely as one can find oneself to be disconnected from others.
As ironical it may sound, a tool that was meant to bring people closer to their loved ones is leading one to feel lonely. Researches suggest that an increase in social media engagement has lead people in modern era to move farther from real human interaction.
Loneliness can be attributed to internal factors like low self esteem, introvert personality type and anxious temperament.
One of the most common symptom or indicator that someone is experiencing depression is constant feeling of loneliness and disconnect from social interactions. Someone suffering from depression, experiences a lack of motivation in interacting with people, this further leads to loneliness.
The advantages of seeking professional help are,
Loneliness is a consequence to a certain stimuli or event. The initial session helps the counselor to understand the triggers of loneliness, how a significant event or experience might have contributed to this feeling. This allows the counselor and client build rapport and understand the situation better.
Loneliness affects a person emotionally and physically. Understanding the consequences of loneliness in one’s life, helps the client gain insight and helps them to bring about the required changes. Here, the counselor facilitates the client to think and acknowledge the cause and consequence of loneliness for self awareness.
Loneliness can be a result of a faulty pattern of thinking based on our past events like interactions with parents; confidence and bullying etc. When one undergoes a stressful event this leads to one form a negative perception around that event, for example, a person who saw his or her parents fighting while growing up would unknowingly or knowingly pick up that this how people interact and may choose to avoid interactions further in life. The counselor here, makes the client aware of this and helps them achieve more rationalized thinking.
Both the counselor and client decide common goals to work through to bring about a positive change in lifestyle and thinking of the client
In addition to therapy, certain changes in lifestyle help in building positive coping mechanisms and bring about sustainable results.
To check through the progress and reinforcing the desired changes in long run post termination of therapy.
Disclaimer: Please note that we are not a crisis intervention helpline. Should you have severe symptoms or have thought about harming yourself, please seek immediate medical help or call suicide prevention helplines such as
Aasra 24x7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669