I’ve often heard it said that so and so couldn’t possibly be lonely; they’ve got lots of friends and family around them. They are busy, social and active – how could they be lonely?
The answer is simple; feeling lonely and being alone are not the same things.
You can be alone, revel in your solitude, enjoying the space you have to yourself, or you could live with others, have a frantic social life and still not feel strong bonds to people around you. Loneliness, it seems is a complex beast.
I have lived alone for many years. I have experienced periods of loneliness and times where I’ve felt part of a community, connected to others around me. The cause of my loneliness was not about living alone, rather an overpowering sense that I might never have close friends who understood me, never be loved unconditionally by someone other than my parents and would never experience the magic of spending mythical, sunny bank holidays with loved ones.
Now I live happily on my own. I potter around, grateful there is no one to distract me from my “me time”. Fortunately I now feel more connected to my local community, have a supportive partner and a group of friends I wouldn’t trade in for all the gold in the world. My family have been there throughout, keeping me grounded.
Loneliness affects us all differently; some of us are more resilient than others, and there is no one size fits all answer – rather a number of things we can try to feel more connected, engaged and part of our communities.
At Community Network we offer ways to safely connect to others, on the telephone and online. We know it can be scary so our team of staff and volunteers are here to help you take the first steps to reconnect.