The Loneliness Epidemic

A lot of times when I  work with people who seek therapy, I always try to sense which feelings are most painful. A number of themes come into my actual sessions. But a common thread reveals that majority of them feels an inner vacuum, an unsatisfied inner pain, a craving for fulfillment. In one word: loneliness.

I read psychological research and it does reveal too that loneliness is a most pervasive emotional disorder of our times. Of course, even without those clinical findings, we know that loneliness has always plagued humankind since time immemorial. Interestingly, more so in our modern times, even with the rise of technology and other special comforts at our disposal.

When there is deep emotional trauma, loneliness is most acute. Experiences most conducive to acute loneliness are: the loss or death of a loved one, separation or divorce, infidelity, leaving one’s home for work overseas. All of these special experiences prevail in our times and contribute to the increase of incidences of harmful effects of loneliness on people.

In her article in Mental Hygiene titled “Loneliness in Old Age,” author Irene Burnside writes, “Loneliness is the state of mind in which the fact that there were people in one’s life in the past is more or less forgotten, and the hope that there may be interpersonal relations in the future is out of the realm of expectation.”

Indeed, loneliness is a connection issue. It can be remedied. But the first steps need to be taken by the sufferer himself or herself.

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