What it means to be ‘Lonely’

It isn’t about Physically Being Alone

It is a desire for companionship. A need to have someone else around to quiet the silence and add a voice to the room. It’s about being so anxious that you are stuck – or so depressed that nothing makes sense. and at the end of the day, all anyone wants in this world is to be loved so why are we so quick to misunderstand those who cry or shy for help? Why are we so slow to understand what being lonely means in this country, and more importantly – in this age of social media.

What people don’t understand about loneliness is that it was never about physically being alone. It was a feeling of not being understood, a feeling of solitude in crowded rooms because you couldn’t explain what it was like being trapped in your own head. Feeling like – the only ones who appreciate you are the people who enjoy your twitter feed – being lonely isn’t about being quiet or physically alone, it’s about being heard when we say that a room is full BUT WE FEEL EMPTY.

See when you have anxiety…

You don’t need to be alone to feel lonely. When you have depression – you don’t have to cry to be sad. No matter where you wear your heart – being lonely, being sad, being scared, has absolutely nothing to do with being what someone else thinks defines any set of emotions. It has to do with you, and those like you all around the world.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association in America (ADAA):

  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. (click for more)

And what I find most interesting is that despite these statistics – most people feel alone at one point or more in their lives – but few people actually reach out when they notice it. See truth is – it is hard to admit when we are scared, hard to open up to the crowd to yield to the traffic that comes with admitting we aren’t perfect – and being lonely may not be synonymous with being alone but it also doesn’t mean that the fix lies with throwing us to the wolves and the crowds. Being lonely and being alone are different – and so are the ways of treating those emotions.

At the end of the day, I am 1 of 40 million – and not just because my mom told me I am…

But maybe you are too and while we might not be perfect – we are who we are meant to be and sometimes – that means being perfectly and terribly lonely.

 

 

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