How To Deal With Loneliness – The definition of loneliness is familiar to most people, and everyone has likely felt its pangs at least a few times in their lives. However, some individuals struggle with intense feelings of loneliness that disrupt their everyday functioning and cause significant impairment in their lives. These feelings can seem inescapable or unresolvable and may begin to take a severe toll on their mental health. Fortunately, such a pervasive feeling of loneliness is escapable, and counselling is available for those who need it.
Recognising the signs of severe loneliness
In a world recovering from prolonged quarantine and purposeful social isolation, the impacts of chronic loneliness can still be felt throughout much of the population. Although loneliness itself is not an official diagnosis, there are certain hallmark signs that can indicate that a person’s overall quality of life is being affected. For these individuals, it is recommended that they speak to an experienced counsellor who can help them work through their feelings as they take steps towards promoting a healthier mental space for themselves. Although these feelings can affect different people in different ways, the following are some hallmark signs of severe loneliness:
- Feeling as though you don’t have any meaningful relationships in your life or that you can’t connect with others on a deeper level no matter how hard you try
- Pervasive feelings of isolation or alienation even when you are in a large group of people
- Feeling as though you are having to force yourself to engage with others or participate in social situations
- Fatigue, stress, and tiredness with no easily identifiable cause
It is important to remember that many people experience some or all of these feelings every now and then, especially during certain trying periods in their lives. However, if you identify with the above listed symptoms constantly over the course of months, it could be a sign that you should seek help from a professional.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can develop severe feelings of loneliness—even if they are around others for large periods of their day. Recognizing this fact is important when considering who may be at risk for diminished mental health as a result of severe loneliness. Those who feel isolated from meaningful connection with others, despite having full and productive social lives, could suffer just as greatly as those who are homebound and never receive visitors. Bearing in mind that loneliness does not discriminate amongst circumstances, some of the individuals who could be most at risk include:
- Those who have recently moved away from their support system
- Individuals who are unable to leave their homes
- Those who work from home or remotely
- Elderly individuals
- Individuals who have lost someone close to them, especially a spouse or someone who was a part of their support system
- University students adapting to the rapid life changes
- Those who experience discrimination within their communities
How to deal with loneliness
Because feeling lonely isn’t an official mental health diagnosis, individuals who are struggling with loneliness often mistakenly believe that there is no risk in dealing with their struggles alone. However, these feelings of loneliness are reflective of your mental health at large and often contribute to other issues such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and poor coping mechanisms. Additionally, the side effects of these serious conditions often include loneliness and self-isolation, which creates a vicious and dangerous cycle that professional counselling can certainly help to stop.
Working with a counsellor such as one of the expert therapists at Horizon Plymouth can help you begin to work through these feelings in a productive way and guide you through ways that you can work to foster meaningful connection in your life. If you feel as though you are ready to seek help to overcome loneliness, reach out to Horizon Plymouth today to schedule your initial consultation.