Mehr-un-Nisa shares her story of how writing has helped with overcoming feelings of loneliness.
You might have heard from people that it does not exist, that it is just a thing pretentious people say they suffer from. Or perhaps people have told you that it is not anything of great importance because it goes away when you focus on something else.
Maybe, once you told someone that you felt lonely and they only told you, ‘you are not alone, you have me,’ and carried on with their work and told you to do so, too.
However, even after being told that you are not alone, you felt lonely. Maybe you moved to a different country where people wear different clothes, speak a different language, and have a completely different culture, but you made friends. However, they may whisper in front of you, or at times when you say something they do not answer. At that time, even though you try to convince yourself that you have friends and are not alone, you do feel lonely. You try to convince yourself, too, that it will go away, and you wait. However, months and years have passed and you still feel the same way.
Even though indirectly, most of us have been told from a very young age that loneliness is not severe, and it is bound to go away, sometimes it does not. It makes you self-conscious, and you lose interest in the things you once enjoyed. If you were once an A-grade student, you now only get Cs and Ds.
I remember I moved schools in Primary 4, and honestly I thought everything was going to be okay. I knew I would find friends and then be happy, and well, I did. However, my own friends used to bully me. I used to comfort myself with the idea that I got better grades than them, but the feeling of being alone never went away. On one occasion I remember my friends threw my pencil case on top of a cupboard in our classroom that we weren't allowed to go near it just in case it fell. However, I did as I needed to get my pencil case. I was then caught and scolded. I wanted to cry, but it wasn't because I was shouted at by a deputy headteacher, but because I felt alone. I remember I had a huge fight with them after that event. I remember I felt more alone than I had ever felt.
Even now, sometimes, people do not respond to me, or at times don't talk to me. I again try convincing myself that maybe they think as I'm from a country in South Asia I don't understand them that well or maybe they think I might get uncomfortable if they talk about some things. Yet, it doesn't help. No matter how much I try to convince myself it does not work.
However, thankfully, I have found ways to overcome my loneliness. If I feel overwhelmed by something or someone, I simply write about it.
It sometimes takes the form of a diary, sometimes a story about me, but I might give myself another name and sometimes I write haphazard poetry which does not have a metre nor a sensible rhythm. Sometimes I just talk to someone I trust. I tell them to listen to me and as well as rant about something themselves. Sometimes, I simply sit down on my bedroom floor and tell myself that I can overcome these thoughts. I am capable and worthy of being happy by myself. I tell myself that I am strong and can conquer anything and although sadness and loneliness are quite stubborn, they will go away if I take care of myself. At times when I can not work on something because of something that happened in school that day, or maybe if I think about past moments that made me feel lonely I simply reset my mind. I simply tell myself, you are so much more. Sometimes just opening your room’s window and looking outside helps! Or maybe go out for a walk.
I am aware that at times you feel like you are drowning and that everything is falling apart, but there is a way to swim back to the surface. You can fight your loneliness. Like all emotions happiness and confidence are inside you, it is just covered by something like loneliness. Remove that cover by standing up to loneliness. Talk to people! Talk to paper! Meditate. Go out for a walk. Re-read Harry Potter (but skip over the sad parts), Percy Jackson or perhaps listen to your favourite song and organise your desk or clothes cupboard! You can get through this and I believe in you!
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