Are You Lonely?

We purchased a gazebo and some new garden furniture over the weekend. I am useless at all things practical (I just do the words) so largely left it to Fionnuala and Adam to assemble all the tricky bits. I provided unskilled labour where required. When completed it looked a fine sight. We are hoping we can have a decent summer and spend as much time as possible outside under its canopy. We were outside until almost 10 p.m. last night enjoying the warm evening. In the end we reluctantly packed up and went inside.

It is not often the six of us (Charlie the border terrier included) are all in the one room. This is a rare event in our busy lives as usually one or more of us is off doing something. We also have two teenagers who spend a lot of time in their rooms as teenagers do. The sunshine and novelty of the gazebo lured them out last night, however. We hope it is not a one-off occurrence. I happily tapped away at my laptop surrounded by loved ones. I felt safe and loved.

It hasn’t always been this way. When my OCD and binge drinking were at their worst I felt quite the opposite; haunted by loneliness, depression and shame. My family loved me just as much as they do today and I loved them. It was just that I was incapable of expressing that love back. I was emotionally stunted and too wrapped up in my own fears and insecurities to notice that those around me were struggling as well.

I cut myself off from the real world and retreated into a twilight existence of alcohol and social media. Even when I kicked the former and replaced it with running I still struggled massively with the latter. It is only really through starting this blog that I have found a healthy way of expressing myself and maintaining an online presence. WordPress has been a blessing. It offers reality and truth whereas other platforms deceived me with fantasy and lies.

Loneliness is a silent killer. It is a creeping death. I have been watching the images of the volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and the deadly lava inching down the mountain side destroying all in its path while local residents have looked on, powerless to do anything about it. That is loneliness. It shows no mercy and is indiscriminate as it destroys all in its path. Once it has you in its clutches it is nigh on impossible to escape. It owns you, it takes residence in your soul and you become its plaything.

I have experienced extreme loneliness. A lot of this has been a self imposed exile. Occasionally it has been necessary for me to be alone, an act of self preservation from unhealthy and toxic friendships. I have also, through my actions, inflicted great loneliness on loved ones. I recognise this now and spend every day seeking to make amends. Some days are more successful than others. But every day I try.

The novel I am currently writing touches upon the theme of loneliness. My principal characters all experience it to various degrees before fate and circumstances throw them together. Today I choose not to be lonely. I am fortunate to have that choice as I know not everyone does. I choose to spend time with my family in the gazebo rather than prisoner in my own mind. I choose to run, but not to drink. I choose to take my medication and stifle the voices of condemnation in my head.

Are you lonely today? Is there anything you can do about it? Spend time with your family? Talk to a friend? If nothing else, leave a comment below and talk to us. We are a community and need to reach out to each other more. Life is hard enough without having to live it on your own. Where we can, we need to take a stand and confront it. Loneliness can be overcome. One step at at time. Let’s start today?

Are you lonely? How does it affect you?

Is your loneliness a self imposed exile? Or has it been thrust upon you?

Have you overcome loneliness in the past? How did you go about that?

34 thoughts on “Are You Lonely?

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  1. Thanks for this honest post brother. Loneliness is indeed a silent killer and not seen or recognised by many. I lost my wife some 10 years ago, and still today, I feel lonely in spite of having family and many good friends around me. There are many in the same situation, but my saving grace (literally) is that she is with her Saviour and I will meet her one day along with my own Lord.

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  2. A feeling of loneliness and lack of self worth had me contemplating my own demise only a year and a half ago. Going back to school for writing, following a dream, and support from family in this endeavour has kept me alive.

    I must agree with your statement about WordPress as a platform. It has allowed me to express my thoughts and feelings, and not be judged with hateful and ignorant comments. I am also grateful that the few that do follow me, do so for my writing acumen, not because of attractive pictures and/or false realities.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for sharing about loneliness. Sometimes mine is self-imposed, to protect me from the having anxiety attacks in groups of people. That’s okay, as I have been an independent, loner type my whole life. But the loneliness that hurts occurs when I feel like a flawed social freak, or when it seems like everyone has gone on vacation and left me behind. Not that I’d be comfortable joining them! We’re having a holiday today, Memorial Day, and I always feel lonely on days like this because my usual routine gets messed up. I’ve always hated holidays cause they shine a light on my loneliness.
    I agree with you about having a blog to help process our feelings. It works for me too.
    So, instead of feeling down about the holiday I chose to reply to your post and thank you for reminding me that we are not alone.
    My husband stopped working a few weeks ago and we’ve been taking walks together, with the dogs, of course, which we had not done in more than 15 years. His job ending scared me at first because I was worried about finances, but it has brought us closer together, and I feel much less lonely. What a blessing! Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The answer is yes and no. You made some good points which has me waking up to my participation in loneliness. I can’t use any of my usual excuses because you hit those marks as well. Also helps to realize I’m not on this journey alone. Thank you for sharing. It makes a difference. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is interesting that sometimes loneliness can occur most acutely when surrounded by other people. I actually feel less lonely sometimes when I am actually alone, because as I have come to accept myself, I enjoy my own company. That’s not to say I do not enjoy time with my husband or other loved ones. But there is an existential loneliness that sometimes arises when we are searching for purpose and meaning, and sense that others are not as interested or seem consumed by shallower pursuits. I enjoy your reflections. Thanks for prompting us to think about this.

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  6. I think distance from yourself and from loved ones is important. It’s part of that coming back together again and sometimes even stronger than before. The problem is that society doesn’t value that private time we have with ourselves – we are not taught to reflect and meditate. Instead when we are alone we are bombarded by thoughts and feelings stimulated by being made to feel not good enough in order to drive us to consume. Watch less tv. Turn off the news. Spend more time in the sun and doing good things for others. That is what I tell myself when I start feeling lonely. Of course there is also addiction but addiction is also a self denial. We need to learn to listen to and honor ourselves and each other.

    Liked by 1 person

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