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This sounds like a super tough experience.

 

An experience like this would be something great to work on with a therapist, possibly doing some gradual exposure work; However, if therapy is not an option for you, I would reflect on what your mind is telling you the worst case scenario would be if you interacted with others in a social situation, then i would challenge that and check into all the other likely possibilities.

 

Usually when we are feeling anxious in social situations it's because we are fearing being judged/ not liked/ not good enough/ worried about how we will come across and be perceived.

This would then lend to the idea that as much as we try to, we cannot control peoples perception of us and if we allow what we think that THEY think about us to dictate our actions, we may end up making ourselves and our lives very small and find it difficult to live out a life that we value, enjoy and love. 

 

 

I love this quote 

 

"we cannot control peoples perception of us and if we allow what we think that THEY think about us to dictate our actions, we may end up making ourselves and our lives very small and find it difficult to live out a life that we value, enjoy and love." 

 

Social anxiety is so rough. You're so right though @PsychologistRashida - we all deserve to take up space in this world. I hope this community member can chat to someone about this some more. As someone who deals with social anxiety, I know how hard it is, but I know that it can get more manageable with the right support. 

100 percent yes - We all definitely deserve to take up that space. 

Rainbow Gay GIF by FOLX Health

Bre-RO
Uber contributor

This is such an honest question. Keen to get your thoughts on this @PsychologistRashida 

 

What do you do if you have no motivation to meet new people?

Ah such a vulnerable question. Thank you to the contributor!

 

Low motivation + Loneliness can be a real match made in heaven.

It is super hard, not going to pretend motivation doesn't take a hit when feeling lonely which can then cause a vicious cycle of wanting to withdraw even further. 

 

Research actually shows that when we withrdaw we become more and more wary of others, causing us to want to withdraw even more which takes a toll on the motivation it takes to start to change that behaviour.

 

I would start realllly slowly and with small, incremental steps.

Again, like my video suggests - I would start by just engaging in some micro interactions with those around you, even just looking at the people you might come across in a day and smiling at them can break through the de-motivation. 

Then building off of that to start saying hi to people in your life like the barista or someone walking past.

 

Eventually through these steps, you will become more practiced, and hopefully have some positive experiences from these interactions which could then lend to finding more motivation to meet new people.

 

 

@PsychologistRashida it really is a vulnerable question and such a tricky spot to find yourself in. 

 

I love the concept of micro-interactions. It's incredible how energising a simple chat with a stranger can be. 

 

Small steps are key 😊 

 

Bre-RO
Uber contributor

We're certainly asking the big questions tonight πŸ‘‡

 

Is it normal to feel lonely even though you have friends and people who care about you?

Sometimes the feeling of loneliness can come about through a changing of values between yourself and your friends, a distance or drifting apart due to varying interests and passions. This may make you feel isolated.

Another experience could be cultural differences or differences in how you're going with your mental health, amongst you and the people you are close to could cause a feeling of internal loneliness and a feeling that nobody 'gets' your experiences.

Yes!! @PsychologistRashida it feels so weird when you're suddenly not connecting with friends the way you did before. 

 

Growing up, I didn't mind that my friends didn't understand my cultural background/family dynamics. But, as I got older, it became important for me to have people around me who "get it." 

 

That in-between phase of letting go of people and finding your new people is a really painful transition 

Yes! It is so normal. You may have friends and recognise that there are loads of people in your life who care about you and still feel lonely. If you are physically distant from people in your support networks this could be a time when we can acknowledge those people are there, but not having them close can be difficult. We can also feel loneliness when disconnected from our values and purpose in life - something I talk about in the video I did above. Loneliness doesn't have to just occur in relation to our relationships.

Also with COVID and the pandemic / lockdowns - we still had our friends and family and recognised that people cared about us but it still caused immense loneliness for some.

I love that you talk about that in the video @PsychologistRashida 

 

I know that once upon a time, I had no idea why I was feeling lonely - I never heard people talking about how loneliness can show up when you're feeling disconnected from your passions. 

 

Lockdowns def triggered loneliness for so many people I know (myself included). Even though you could facetime people, it wasn't enough at a certain point. Lockdown life has a way of lingering long after it's officially "over", too - which can be SO hard to make sense of. 

Virtual connection has so many benefits - our ability to do this forum is one of them!! However, at times like a pandemic when it is the sole connection we rely on; It can become a bit tiresome and we need some IRL connection.

Bre-RO
Uber contributor

Driving Jim Carrey GIF by Morgan Creek

 

We've had a bit of a bumpy start, but we're ready to roll! So let's get straight into it with our first question for the night. 

 

Why do people feel lonely?

People can feel lonely for a whole variety of reason.

They can feel lonely due to physical and emotional isolation or distance from family and friends, ageing out of services, moving away from people they are close with, leaving school or university or work places.

Some life transitions can also cause loneliness.

 

@PsychologistRashida Significant life transitions are a big one! Especially when facing new challenges and doing it in an unfamiliar environment without the people who usually help you feel comforted. 

 

I can definitely think of times in my life when I've experienced this. I like that you added "aging out of services" to the list - that's one you don't hear about often. 

I thought it would be good to add, especially on this forum as we know that aging out of Reach Out services can be a really daunting thought for alot of the community hear. 

I think if we are more aware of the experiences that may bring about loneliness we can be better prepared to know how to manage it when it comes.

Loneliness is a a devastating experience to have, however there are many ways of gaining and leaning on support out there. 

It is so hard to close a chapter that has brought friendships and purpose into your life πŸ˜“ Acknowledging that experience is important - and we're always open to hearing about how aging out/approaching aging out is impacting people. 

here **

Bre-RO
Uber contributor

Okay, we're live with @PsychologistRashida - welcome!!

Hi everyone,


Thank you so much for having me!! 

 

I'm so sorry this has taken me so long to log on.

It's always a pleasure @PsychologistRashida 

Bre-RO
Uber contributor

I'm looking forward to chatting about a super important topic tonight. Feeling lonely sucks, and it's even worse when you feel like there's nobody to talk to about it. 

 

Tonight, please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings about loneliness openly, and we'll do our best to answer your questions. 

 

The questions we received were on point, and I'm looking forward to hearing what our guest has to say. We are having some technical difficulties, which we're working on now - hopefully, we'll be up and running in no time. 

Bre-RO
Uber contributor

Sailor Moon Hello GIF

 

Welcome to another AMAA, everyone! 

Bre-RO
Uber contributor

Thrive Mtv GIF by INTO ACTION

 

Heya online community πŸ€—

 

If you've ever felt lonely or are feeling it right now, this chat is for you πŸ₯° Feel free to get involved in the conversation and chat with us as our guest, Rashida, answers the questions we had come through.