The Different Experiences of Loneliness

Everyone can experience feelings of loneliness in their life so it’s important to know that others have felt that way too. Below are some of the experiences of other young people and not just how they felt, but how they managed to deal with their loneliness too.

Rebecca from Aberdeen – Loneliness to me is like an emptiness inside me that no matter how much I try to fill it with content and media nothing can fill it. Even in a busy room, at work, or with other people I still feel lonely and sometimes it feels like it is the only way I can feel. I first started to feel lonely in S1 and I never felt I quite clicked with people and this left me quite isolated and feeling lonely. I jumped around friend groups a lot as I never fitted in really in school and even when I left school I remained lonely as I tried to connect with others unsuccessfully at work and college. Growing up in a rural community also didn’t help with loneliness as others didn’t share my interests and hobbies. It was only when I moved to a city that I began to feel less lonely as I made friends but as life changes I still go through times of loneliness when there is no one to speak to or nothing to keep busy with. I am not as lonely as I once was and have family that make me feel wanted, however loneliness is like an old friend to me and creeps up at the best and worst of times, I find comfort in loneliness as for a long time they were all I knew. I think I will always be a little lonely but only a little. If you feel lonely now it will pass and the thing that helps me the most is that if I or you are lonely millions of other people will feel the same and that all makes us a little less lonely in what we share.

Diannon from East Ayrshire – I’ve felt lonely my entire life. Constantly feeling: there’s something wrong with me, strange, off-putting, or weird, like an outsider looking in, ‘alien’, etc. I lived in Canada for four years and I thought moving to a new country would change my experience with loneliness as it’d be a new opportunity to make friends. Sadly this was not the case as I felt the same way. No matter where I’ve lived I’ve felt out of place or that I didn’t belong. When I was younger I used to read a lot, I think it was a form of escapism for me as I could picture myself in all these different worlds alongside the protagonists going about their journeys. Whereas in reality I struggled socially therefore struggled making friends. I also remember shutting myself inside and would be on the family computer while my sister would be outside playing with the kids from our street. Part of my loneliness could’ve been a self-inflicted wound. As I have aged, I’ve somewhat developed my social skills since I currently have the most friends I’ve ever had in my life. However sometimes when I hang out with friends in an active effort to tackle my loneliness I feel lonely in their presence, which can be even more painful than feelings of loneliness when I’m by myself. I think I’ve internalised loneliness being part of me due to it being inescapable throughout my life regardless of where I am or who I am with. It’s inevitable, so I need to come to terms with it and accept it. To cope with loneliness I am learning to be comfortable in my own presence and I do this by doing things I like, such as: listening to music, listening to podcasts, journaling, reading. It is also crucial to try to engage with people and talk to them, don’t be like me when I was a kid who’d be on the computer rather than going outside. Learning to be comfortable in your own presence is one thing but you also need human interaction/connection. Try talking to someone you trust about how you’re feeling such as a family member or a friend for starters. I started uni this year and I joined a society and have made some friends within my course and in others. When I hang out with my uni friends I don’t feel as lonely in their presence. If you’re in college or uni I highly recommend joining a club or society as well as talking to people you regularly see in lectures or seminars.

Joining a club or society can be a great way to tackle loneliness, it gives you and others a space to talk about a shared interest you’re all passionate about.

Check out this article on managing loneliness to see how joining a club or society has benefitted others too!

Karolina from Edinburgh – Loneliness comes at you when you least expect it. You come home from a social gathering and think, were those people really my true friends? Same happens when you know someone from university or a society, would I ever meet them outside of the university setting? On social media everyone shares photos with their friends, and I think, how do they do it? Are they just big extroverts that can be quickly friends with everyone? If so, how do they manage to keep in contact with all of them? What if I do not want to go to the club and get to know people that way? I have been interacting with people the whole day, I just want to lie in my bed and have time for myself, not to go out. These are all my questions that creep at me when I lie in my bed at the end of the day thinking about life. It is a hard topic to deal with, but what helps me is to remember, that social media only shows the highlights. I am a person with less, but deeper friendships. I like to socialise one-on-one instead of a big group and that is fine. Also, there is no time to rush. There will always be time to create new friendships. You just have to put a bit of energy into it. Also, there must be people that feel the same. The truth is that everybody keeps the feeling of loneliness to themselves and that is why it is important to talk about it.

Hannah from Falkirk – Dear Loneliness, You make feel like your im the only person in a room full of people. No one to call when you have exciting news, and no one to cry to when you feel blue. I first started to realise I was feeling lonely when I had no one to call during hard times, and scrolling through social media to see photos of people surround by their people, realising you have nobody to do that with. I feel lonely when I see people having the time of their life with their friends, and you don’t have plans like that. I also feel lonely at night, when everything is quiet. I also feel lonely when I am free and have spare time. The best way I deal with feeling lonely is realising I’m not alone. At some point, everyone feels lonely, even the happiest of people. It sucks feeling lonely, but putting some good music on a calling someone is a good way to take your mind of things. Talking about it also helps and distraction is key for me, do something fun or go for a walk. If someone is experiencing loneliness I try to include them more, even if they decline is still invite. I make sure to check in on friends and family, and just being kind to everyone is vital as you never know what someone else is feeling

Like Hannah says sometimes being alone is okay and Sorley agrees, take a look at all the exciting things he gets up to while he’s on his own!

@young.scot

It’s okay to be alone! Having time to yourself, to do the things you enjoy, is really important. @s0mhairle loves getting outdoors and sometimes that means he’s alone for a while but it gives him time to connect to nature. @s0mhairle shared with us his thoughts on his solo adventures. “I love spending time on my own, I know that if I feel isolated, or experience loneliness, I am not alone. I know there are people and organisations that I can reach out to for help.” We are working together with the @coop_foundation to bring you loads of resources and support if you are feeling lonely. Our Youth Loneliness campaign has loads of information, from tips on making small talk, blogs from other young people, to what support you can get if you’re struggling. Visit young.scot/loneliness for more information FutureCommunities YoungScot

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If you’re feeling lonely and need support, there are a range of organisations that can support you over the phone, e-mail, text and web chat. Visit our AyeFeel page to find out more.

Find more information and support on loneliness or feeling alone.

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