The day we officialy became empty nesters I was caught off guard in the way loneliness enveloped me. I was drowning in sadness as I found myself wandering around the empty bedrooms remembering the funniest of details about raising our family. For years I had been looking forward to having them all leave home, and when it finally came I felt so alone.
It’s normal to experience various levels of loneliness from time to time. For the lonely, the time around the holidays is often a trigger for this overpowering emotion, for others, major life changes or extreme stress can produce this emotional phenomenon.
The sheer number of people who experience some form of loneliness is surprisingly high. For example, in the last 30 days, I have had several readers and friends share story after story all related to this intense emotion.
One feels isolated because of her debilitating pain spanning the last two decades, another has watched all her friends get married and have children while she has yet to realize this blessing. Several are recently divorced and learning about a new kind of lonely, one young mom raising her little family has just moved to a new town without any friends. And my heart broke when I learned of a friend who lost a family member to suicide.
Maybe you can see one of your friends in this group, or maybe it’s a reflection of you.
The crazy thing about loneliness is its cyclical nature. We avoid talking about feeling lonely because we don’t know how to process the emotions which leads to further withdrawal and increased isolation. The one thing that stops the cycle is what helps the most. Sharing is one of the best forms of medicine when it comes to curing our loneliness.
Loneliness Can Lead To…
Besides being emotionally painful, loneliness can be at the root of many of our common ailments.
Depression: A study by Tiikkainen and Heikkinen found lonely people to have more depressive symptoms, experiencing a lack of belonging in social interactions. The research also found depression and loneliness to perpetuate each other.
Health: One of the more surprising effects is on our physical health. Social isolation and…