Coping with loneliness. People can feel like this for all different reasons and very often they can try very hard to hide it from others. Others can be simply left to be alone and have it totally wrap them up where they have nobody to talk to even if they wanted to. I have just read an encouraging article which states that Esther Rantzen is going to start a voluntary line for people who have this problem where they can ring it for a chat and support when they need to. Now you may say that this is well overdue or you may say that people can go to someone they know. But not everyone is in the situation of being able to go to someone they know.
There are all different things you must think of here. Many of the people who claim they are feeling lonely are truly isolated. It is not just a feeling as for them it is a fact. Their children have grown up and left home or their husband has left them or died. Their friends have moved or died. It is not always a case of how someone is surrounded by people yet still has this feeling. I have spoken to clients who have felt awful because of this problem and many of them simply do not know which way to turn. Yet I have also found that many of them are quite despairing because if they do turn to someone for comfort they feel as if they have had it thrown back in their face. They look for ways to get a bit of support and the other person does not understand and starts to give them advice on how they should sort out their problem.
Here is a perfect example of someone reaching out for suppport and having it thrown back in their face. A lady of 85 who was DISABLED and HOUSEBOUND aged 80 and quite fine mentally but living alone and spending far too much time alone. She had no family, her neighbours did not bother with her and she had no friends. She reached out for support and rang the Samaritan help line. If you look at their website you will see that they say they are there for people in distress or who are suicidal. So this lady had every right to assume they would be interested and helpful. But she spoke to a woman who sounded younger than her who went on about how she cannot possibly be housebound, this is impossible, because if she were to suffer a stroke or fall an ambulance would be able to come and get her and take her to hospital. So how can she claim to be housebound?! She also accused the old lady calling of lying saying that she must be going out to get her newspapers and food! Well the old lady in question never read newspapers - for one thing her eye sight could not cope with it. As for food she had it delivered. But why would she be lying? There are lots of people who are housebound or disabled. Those who live alone and have no visitors will become very isolated and this can lead to them feeling lonely.
I have also spoken to others who have reached out and have been told they must go and join a club or go on holiday. Daft advice because the person who is isolated would have already thought of those things if there were any mileage in them. Unfortunately when you are isolated, disabled or lonely people seem to assume you have no ablity to think and because you cannot think you need advice. We have a lady who works for us helping us to reply to clients' emails and she is housebound and disabled. She has problems with getting out and spends a fair bit of time alone. Yet she would never need advice, she works for us advising our clients. IF it was as simple as ring this person or go there she would have thought of it herself - ages ago. If YOu need advice to to a properly qualified expert.
Other people I have spoken to have told me they have tried to talk about it but always regretted it. One lady said she had tried to discuss it with a friend and the friend kept on about how it must mean that she hates living on her own and wants to get married and she will always be lonely until she does. The lady had no interest in getting married or living with anyone and she liked living alone, she simply wanted more friends and to get out more. An excellent message board is here.
Coping with loneliness.