Loneliness is different for every person. Some people feel lonely in a relationship. Some feel lonely in a crowd. Some feel lonely because they aren’t in love. Some feel lonely because they are suffering from depression, social anxiety, or another medical condition. Others are surprisingly immune to the effects of being alone, but all of a sudden it may hit them. Loneliness is a very broad issue, one that everyone feels differently. But one thing that all those feeling lonely have in common is a lack of connection to others.
Maybe you feel as if nobody understands you. Or that there’s nobody out there like you or that are interested in the things you like. And a lot of times people that feel this way naturally withdraw from other people and new situations. But if you’re ever going to overcome feelings of loneliness, you have to fight the urge to do what you would naturally do. Sometimes you just have to get up and go when you’d rather lie down in the dark and cry. Don’t worry. Your Lifehouse and Dashboard Confessional CDs will be there when you get back.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, thoughts of harming yourself, or thoughts of ending it all, you may very well be suffering from a medical condition, and you need to consult a doctor immediately. And by immediately, I mean today. Right now. As in don’t finish reading this article. Simple loneliness shouldn’t cause thoughts of suicide, so you need to be checked out by your doctor to make sure you aren’t suffering from a medical condition. Many conditions that cause suicidal thoughts are treatable. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, stop reading this article and immediately talk to someone you trust, even if that person is a 911 operator or an emergency room doctor. You can also call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-784-2433 or 1-800-273-8255.
Best Ways to Get Rid of Loneliness
Address your feelings of loneliness
You gotta come clean. Chances are, if you’re lonely, the people around you don’t know. It’s not like our emotions show up as a giant, flashing emoticon above our heads. If your boyfriend, girlfriend, friends, or family don’t realize that you feel lonely or isolated, then they certainly won’t think to help you. So bring those feelings out of the closet, dust them off, put them on the table, and unwrap them. If you get really wild, you can even have a discussion about your feelings of loneliness and then address how to get rid of those negative emotions. It’s a big step. But only try this one with people who already love you or trained professionals, and not that half-drunk stranger on the bus. You may not like what he suggests you do.
Treat your depression
Some people that feel lonely may have clinical depression. Depression causes many symptoms, including: excessive feelings of loneliness, sadness, irritability, problems sleeping, lack of appetite, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, difficulty completing everyday tasks, and thoughts of suicide. If you think you may be depressed, read How To Get Rid of Depression. Depression may be caused by a number of factors, including a hereditary disorder, hormone imbalance, stress, illness, improper medications, and drug or alcohol abuse. Your doctor can help you sort through what may be causing these feelings and help treat them for you. Treating depression can help you cope with feelings of loneliness.
Stay connected to your community
This is some of my mom’s best wisdom. She always said that the “kids who make it” are separated from “the kids that don’t” because the kids that do feel connected to their community. By that, she means having a feeling of purpose above and beyond your individual self. Continual and immediate self-gratification may at first seem like a great idea. But it does end up being a giant, vapid black hole. So find a way to get involved in your community. And it doesn’t have to be like an insipid after-school special. Volunteer at the local prison, or help police officers train in their K-9 units. Feed the hungry, help at nursing homes. There are a lot of ways to get involved that won’t make you want to barf. Unless that’s what you want. Then go for it.
Try something new
BFFs don’t just drop into your lap. Actively go out and seek them. Try different ways of meeting people, such as social networking sites or joining activities like local clubs and organizations, community education courses, a Gothic knitting circle, club for killing small mammals by firearm, or the local nudist chapter. And while I would never actively choose to join a sports team, many others swear by them. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that you enjoy. Logic deems that if you join a social setting concerning that which you love, you may perhaps find other persons who love what you love. But finding the wrong people can keep you occupied too.
Adopt a companion
As I always say, my doggie helped me cope with loneliness. My canine Nikki and I have met many new people together whilst she has run amuck to sniff another dog’s butts. Plus, I now know the local vet techs and many local dog owners. People love to get together to talk about their pets. If you can handle the responsibility, a dog or cat may help you whittle away at the mountain of your spare time, and get you out and trying new things and meeting new people. And keeping busy is one of the most important tricks to overcoming loneliness. Nikki, who is currently lying by my feet and wagging her tail, suggests you adopt from a shelter. Just thought I’d add that in there.
Ways to Stay Connected
Everyone’s doing it. No, really. They pretty much are. And their mom, too. Within minutes, you can set up a profile, add your likes, dislikes, photos, add friends, join networks, and share anything with everyone you can find online. Facebook allows you to reconnect with people you once knew, and lets you to join groups and search by likes and dislikes to find those people out there that are most like you.
Who could ever feel lonely when they’re getting second-to-second updates about trivial nothings from hundreds of nobodies and celebrities they’ve never met? Nobody, that’s who. Twitter’s 140 character post limits and instant updates not only quickly keep you up on your fave-everybody, but it also allows you to broadcast every second of your day for the whole world to see. Twitter makes it impossible to be out of the interweb loop.
Know as “The Place for Friends,” Myspace is the glitzy prerequisite to Facebook. Search for people in your area, listen to hip new local bands, find postings for local parties and concerts, and check out everyone’s super hip, angle-y Myspace photos. Hours of vacuous entertainment, glitter tags, and risqué photos will make you forget you were ever lonely. You will, however, be aware of how uncool you are when checking out everybody else’s pages.
I’m a sucker for animals. And, as it turns out, so are a lot of other people. Without further ado, Petfinder will allow you to search for a suitable companion by species, breed, age, size, gender, and location. Petfinder.com also provides tons of information on animals and adoption so that you can find and adopt the most suitable companion for your lifestyle.
Overcoming feelings of loneliness, if they are longterm and pervading and not just fleeting, will take real work. Often, people that feel lonely struggle with other issues as well, such as self-esteem, eating disorders, self-mutilation, drug or alcohol problems, promiscuity, outbursts of anger or sadness, attempts to force intimacy onto others, or complete withdrawal from friends and family. Everyone deals with loneliness differently. And while the above suggestions are only some of the ways to deal with loneliness, everyone must choose what’s best for her or himself. Just try to stay aware of the potential problems that loneliness can cause. Try to stay active and be aware of what you’re doing and why. Remember, loneliness can become a “gateway” emotion. If you’re not careful, one day you might wake up Emo.