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 living alone, rather it was an overpowering fear that I might never have close friends who understood me, never be loved unconditionally by someone other than my parents, and never experience the magic of spending mythical, sunny bank holidays with loved ones eating brunches and having picnics.
Still I live on my own but am happier to do so. I know that it nearly always rains on public holidays. 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. I am alone but not lonely.
Loneliness affects us all in different ways; some of us are more resilient than others, and there is no one size fits all fix for loneliness. Instead there are 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 people take the first steps to reconnect.
To find out more about our work:
Visit our website: www.commmunitynetworkprojects.org
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone us for a chat: 020 7923 5250