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Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

Hi everybody. I'm interested in hearing about peoples experiences of loneliness and isolation. How did you get through it and what tips could go give to other people feeling lonely and isolated?

 

If you are experiencing loneliness or isolation at the moment, this is a great place for you to find out from others what opportunities there are out there for help and support. You may not be aware at the moment of all the support you can access, but hopefully we can all share!

 

Everyone please be respectful and considerate of others feelings Smiley Happy

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

Hi cm,

 

There are many times when I've felt lonely. It can be really tough. What people can try to do though is learn to enjoy their own company.

 

There's a great video on YouTube called How To Be Alone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7X7sZzSXYs which is good to watch and has some suggestions on things and activities that are good to do by yourself. Things that I like to do alone are to read or go shopping by myself. Last month I went on a holiday by myself for the first time- and found I actually quite liked going alone and doing what I wanted to do.

 

There are also ways to meet new people such as volunteering or joining youth groups, clubs or activities. This factsheet here on Meeting New People http://au.reachout.com/find/articles/meeting-new-people has some more suggestions. I also find that coming online and going on things like Twitter and Reach Out forums can also help me feel less lonely.

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

I'm not sure how much this will help, haha I'm just typing as I go, so I'm not sure if there will be any good 'advice' as such. But here goes.

Earlier this year I went through a pretty bad breakup. I not only lost my girlfriend, but my closest friend. While this was happening, I was also fighting with another friend from uni, and many of my other uni friends had left at the end of last year. Basically, I didn't have many people left, and I was feeling more alone than I ever had before. I don't know that there was any one thing that 'fixed' me, but I decided to talk to a counsellor about it all, and he helped quite a bit. I also took the chance to learn to be better and being alone, working on things I'd wanted to do but never had the time to. I actually began to strengthen some old relationships too, and soon I began to feel less and less alone. 

I'll admit, I'm generally an optimist (even when I don't want to be). So I see what happened as a good thing, because I think I learned a few things and am a better/stronger person for it. I think all people should see their experiences like that, because even though things can hurt at the time, in the long run we all learn from our experiences, and are better prepared for the future. 

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

@Magga I'm glad that you were able to turn your experiences of being more isolated into a positive.

 

I've felt alone many times in my life - both when I'm not around people and when I am (but just feel disconnected from them). Reaching out to people in those times can improve your mood - even just knowing that somebody cares and is thinking about you is often enough to just keep you going. I've made different friends over the years (and kept some old ones) but I've learnt that I can rely on some friends for some things more than others - some of my friends are great when I'm feeling lonely/ down and keep in regular contact with me while others are what I like to call 'good-time-only friends'. Which is fine, because now that I'm aware of that, I can talk to whichever friend(s) will be most helpful for different situations. I also think it's really important as @Magga said to have things that you like to do by yourself. For example, I love to have alone time sometimes and just read a book or whatever. I really value that time. When I feel alone and depressed though I find calling on friends often helps to lift my mood.

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

JustThatGirl makes a good point - it's harder to talk about these things to certain friends than others. That doesn't mean they're any less important, it just means that you have a different relationship with them than you do with someone you might share secrets and feelings with. It's good to know who might best support you in different situations Smiley Happy

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

You guys are all so knowledgeable! Thanks for posting.

 

I'm wondering... does anyone else ever get that niggling feeling that they 'should' be moving into the next 'stage' of life? Like, friends starting to get married or have been in long term relationships.. I can't help but compare.

 

How do you combat that?

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...


@bluebird wrote:

You guys are all so knowledgeable! Thanks for posting.

 

I'm wondering... does anyone else ever get that niggling feeling that they 'should' be moving into the next 'stage' of life? Like, friends starting to get married or have been in long term relationships.. I can't help but compare.

 

How do you combat that?


OMG... am so experiencing this right now! my friends have just started to all get married or settled in long term relationships, one even announced last week that she's expecting a baby!!!

 

Whereas I'm still feeling like I can't work out how my life should go, let alone included anyone else in that.... sometimes i start to feel a little inadequate. I feel like there is a huge pressure to "grow up" and "get my life sorted"... whatever that is supposed to mean.

 

I'm not really sure how to cope with this either.... any tips anyone?Generally my tactic is to loung on the couch and re-watch episodes of 30 Rock... but i don't know how helpful that is!

 

But thanks so much for sharing, it feels good to know that i'm not the only one worrying about this.

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

@bluebird and @louloubelle - We were chatting about this very thing in last week's Getting Real session on "what worries you?"

I'm definitely familiar with that feeling too, and it can be pretty overwhelming. Something I'm trying to keep in mind is that these ideas of 'getting your life sorted' don't necessarily reflect my own values around what life "should" look like. It might help to ask whether this pressure to grow up or sort stuff out is coming from within ourselves or from society.

Trying to set some short, mid and long term goals, or even just come up with some ideas for things you might like to spend time on or pursue might help. I also like to think of that saying "life is what happens when you're busy making other plans". It reminds me that life is happening right now, so whether or not I'm at the right 'stage' doesn't really matter - as long as I'm okay with where I'm at.
Also, my sister is 28, single, living at home (currently), and doesn't have any assets, BUT has spent most of her 20s travelling the world and working overseas. I think that's pretty cool, and it's nice to be reminded that just because society thinks you should have your shit together by then, it doesn't mean you need to listen Smiley Happy

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

Oh! And ALSO:

We'll be chatting about isolation and loneliness in the Getting Real sessions tomorrow night! Do drop by! It'd be cool to share some ideas/thoughts/tips with you all Smiley Happy

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...


@Georgie wrote:
...just because society thinks you should have your shit together by then, it doesn't mean you need to listen Smiley Happy

 

Love that! And I totally get where you're coming from Georgie, thanks. I guess it's particularly difficult at this age because we're so used to going through everything the same as our peers with those bazillion years of schooling. Everything was done based on age groups. I guess part of the deal of being an 'adult' (though I've decided I will always be a child at heart Smiley Tongue) is accepting ourselves how we are. But I totally, completely missed the memo about this ...! When did we get told to look at other people as potential partners? I can't even look at myself and think I want to stay with me forever! I think this is stemming both from friends getting married and popping out babies, but also because I have to 'grow up' significantly at the end of this year, finishing uni...! Noooooo!

 

louloubelle... I think your coping strategy of watching 30 Rock is excellent. Smiley Happy It's society that tells us we 'should' be socialising and exercising when we're feeling crap (which for all intents and purposes is pretty true), but I also think (no, I KNOW.. heh) there is always a place for being a lounge lizard. It's 'healthy' to have down time.

.... My secret series love is McLeods Daughters...! Smiley Tongue