Mental health is always a sensitive topic among Indian families. While the pandemic forced some to introspect, others were left even farther away from stability. The constant feeling of being trapped, being alone or not being in control of your life has shaken most adults living alone.
Loneliness is a complicated and universal human emotion. Everyone has felt this way in their life, and the effects of loneliness on a person can be severe and damaging.
What is loneliness?
Loneliness is the feeling of being alone or isolated. It can be a state of mind or a result of your surroundings. Might it feel like a simple enough problem? Just go out and talk to friends, right? But, unfortunately, that is far from the truth. People of all ages can be affected by loneliness and have different reactions to it. For example, a young child who is shy and unable to form friendships will feel loneliness and isolation in another way than adults working who don’t have time for socialisation.
Loneliness doesn’t necessarily mean you’re alone; it can also be a state of mind for many. You could have friends and family, yet your mind feels isolated and aloof.
What seems like a universal emotion differs from person to person in how it manifests and takes shape.
What causes this feeling?
- Physical factors
Physical factors involve situations such as living alone, busy work life, a breakup or divorce. Although many people enjoy living alone and having that independence, each human is different, their needs are different, and some might feel better with more pleasant living conditions. Heartbreak is another reason for loneliness in people. Losing loved ones can also make one feel isolated and alone; all these are situations that can be overcome with a change of surroundings or with time.
- Psychological factors
Loneliness is a significant sign of depression. Depression is a mental disorder that can affect anyone, no matter what stage of life or success they might be on. When you have everything but still feel unhappy or alone, it can be more challenging for people to communicate these feelings. Many people are often told to ‘look on the brighter side’ or ‘be happy about how fortunate they are’ while this comes from a place of love and concern, it only detaches the person and drives them further away.
- FOMO and the chain of events
Loneliness is a cycle that can be hard to break when you see your friends meeting and enjoying your life, you often feel left out, which only pushes you further away and deeper into loneliness. Many people are unable to do anything that will ease their minds because of how tough, and upsetting being alone can be.
- Introvert or Extrovert
Humans are broadly defined in two categories, introverts like the feeling of self-isolation and only enjoy the company of few close friends. On the other hand, extroverts are the life of the party; they love going out, making new friends, and are outspoken. The effects of not having a social life during the pandemic were widely differing among people. While introverted people would have a relatively more straightforward time, extroverts are far more likely to fall prey to feelings of despair, loneliness and isolation.
Adults often are more prone to loneliness. People above the ages of 60 who live alone, whose children are busy with their own lives tend to feel isolated. Retirement can be another factor; going from working each day to having so much free time suddenly can be a challenging time for many and requires a lot of care and time to adjust.
How to overcome loneliness?
For different reasons, different ways are possible. If you’re feeling alone, you might try changing your living situation, planning more outings with friends, and taking out more time for family and yourself.
If you try everything and still feel alone, it is a good sign of talking to a therapist, and you could have some mental disorder and taking professional advice will help.