WaveLength’s new Digital Fundraising and Communications Lead, Hannah, shares her recent experience of loneliness.
Q: When did you last feel lonely, and why?
A: Three months ago when I moved to a new area. I’d gotten used to having my partner and Mum around a lot then suddenly found myself home alone with my two young children as my partner went back to working 12 hour shifts as a paramedic and my Mum was now 200 miles away. At the time, my children hadn’t started school or nursery and we only had one car which my partner needed for work, so I spent a lot of time stuck in the house making the days feel extremely long!
Q: What did you do to help you cope with the feelings of loneliness you were experiencing?
A: When I first started feeling lonely, and because the feelings were quite intense, my Mum came down to stay with us for a few days which helped massively. We then decided to buy a second car so I could get out with the kids, which helped a lot too. I knew I was feeling lonely because of the current situation we were in, and I knew that once we got into the routine of school, nursery and work that things would get better.
Q: On a scale of 1-10, where would you rate loneliness as an emotion (1 being a pleasant emotion and 10 being a very unpleasant emotion)?
A: For me, it’s a big fat ten! I find it such an uncomfortable feeling and I feel sad knowing some people feel this way daily.
Q: Do you find it easy to talk to people about feeling lonely, and who do you turn to when you feel this way?
A: I do find it easy reaching out to my family and friends and telling them that I’m feeling lonely. I’m glad I shared it with them because they checked in on me more regularly and that definitely helped.
Q: What advice would you give to someone else who is experiencing loneliness?
A: Don’t suffer in silence. Talk to someone you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with and try to look for ways to change your situation, so you feel less lonely. You might not be able to completely change your situation, but there are probably things you can do to make it more tolerable.
Q: Is there anything positive about loneliness?
A: When I feel lonely, I seem to worry more about my friends and family who might be feeling lonely too. I become more empathetic to other people’s situations. Although it doesn’t make me feel better, it does make me want to do more to help ease their loneliness. I think it makes me more aware and that’s a positive thing because I then start to message or write to people more often or invite them to come and visit, knowing how much those things help me when I feel lonely. Another positive thing about loneliness is that it can be here one minute and gone the next. A small change (partner coming home from work, a catch up with a friend, a trip out somewhere) can make the feeling disappear in an instant. I like that it can be interrupted, unlike most other negative emotions that take a while to recede.