What is loneliness
Generally, people think of loneliness as boredom; a feeling they get when they have no one to talk to. According to Wikipedia, the definition of loneliness is “a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation." So now we know that loneliness is caused by isolation, more specifically social isolation, but what is that? Social isolation is a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society. Obviously just being lonely is different from social isolation as loneliness is generally used as a temporary way to express it. This is why it is important to differentiate short term and long term loneliness similar to how depression is a long term version of sadness. For the rest of the article, I will be referring to loneliness in the long term as its what I think is the more pressing issue.
Do you feel as if you have experienced long term loneliness
Effects of loneliness
Now we know what loneliness, is but what are the effects of loneliness? Short term loneliness could cause you to be upset for a little bit, but more concerning are the effects of long-term loneliness. Social isolation causes numerous damages to the brain such as anxiety and depression, but I feel like the main problem is something different. Especially in children, social isolation can make it hard for them to adapt to the social world— especially in the case of the internet. When these people are put into social situations, it can overwhelm some to the point of suicide and some just push themselves further into social isolation. The effects of social isolation alone are enough to give someone suicidal thoughts, so when you add that on top of a relationship (or anything social they have to take care of) they either run away or harm themselves physically or mentally. In general, loneliness can be the cause of serious problems in people's lives. Its also not something that's commonly thought about for a reason someone might be depressed or why someone may of got to the point of harming themselves.
Why is it important to discuss
The topic of loneliness is important to talk about as it is affecting a large number of people predominately in our youth. With the effects of long term loneliness being as dangerous as it is it's important we have resources to help with it. If we can become educated on the signs that someone is being socially deprived we can put more effort into interacting with that person. We can also be more sensitive to their feelings or be more attentive if they do reach out to you. If they are in a severe state they can also be given professional help to help prevent any serious mental or physical damages. Mainly I feel like talking about loneliness will bring more attention to how serious the issue is and can help us understand why someone is feeling the way they do or why someone did something they did.
Misconceptions about loneliness
Loneliness is one of those things that people generally brush off because they do not think of it as a big deal. Generally, they do not think this way because they do not care or are concerned about the personal effect but instead they just commonly use the word in minor cases. Another misconception is that you can not be lonely if you are around people. This is not the case as most of the time people feel lonely because they feel as if they can not act like themselves with the people they are around or they do not feel comfortable around them. People need more than just basic communication and if someone feels like they are not loved or heard it can result in serious loneliness. This leads to a similar misconception that the reason someone may be lonely is that they are shy or refuse to talk to new people. While this may be the case for some people it isn't nearly everybody that is affected by this. Also, people who have trouble interacting with new people or have social anxiety is not something that should be taken lightly. It's likely that they are like this because of previous bad interactions with strangers or even close friends and family members.
Has this article changed your opinion on loneliness in anyway?
Learn more about loneliness
- Loneliness - Wikipedia
- Loneliness - Crisis Text Line
Loneliness can lead to serious health issues. Learn more about the signs of loneliness and what you can do to not feel lonely.
- Loneliness | Psychology Today
Though our need to connect is innate, many of us frequently feel alone. Loneliness is the state of distress or discomfort that results when one perceives a gap between one’s desires for social connection and actual experiences of it. Even some people