Mental health & wellbeing matters: loneliness

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In our regular part of the site where we chat about the challenges of mental health, a word about loneliness, and one small request.

Hello, and welcome to the part of the site where, every week, we just stop and chat about mental health, wellbeing, and the stuff that many of us are up against. This is a weekly feature, and across the series of articles, there’s hopefully something in here that’s of use to you, or someone you know.

One of the triggers for me to start writing about mental health in earnest, back at my previous online home, was the subject of loneliness. Things spidered out from there, and across both Den Of Geek and here at Film Stories, hundreds of articles later, the range of topics tackled has inevitably broadened.

But I do still occasional want to come back to this particular point.

I think loneliness takes many forms. I’m someone, for instance, who can be lonely in a very crowded room. Conversely, I’ve been chatting to someone who’s been talking to me about struggling when they go from a crowded, busy environment back to an empty home. Loneliness comes in lots of different forms, but I remain convinced it’s one of the biggest challenges in and around the topic of mental health and well being.

Appreciating there’s a notable difference between being independent and being lonely, the feeling of having nobody on your side, of nobody to talk to, can – as many of you are all too aware – be a life shrouding one. It particularly comes into focus as we get older and older. Loneliness in your 20s and 30s isn’t easy at all. In your 60s and 70s, it gets very scary. And it’s all around us.

This piece is thus one of a few around the subject of loneliness you’ll be seeing in this series. But in the case of this article, I just wanted it to be about something simple: a request – yeah, I know, pie in the sky etc – for each us to reach out to someone we’ve not spoken to for a while and just say a quick hello. A quick WhatsApp, a phone call, a long email, whatever. I think lots of us live busy lives and assume those who aren’t in touch with us don’t want to me. It might just be life just getting in the way.

We also talk ourselves into thinking that people don’t like us, hate us, don’t want to chat to us. We fill emptiness with theory sometimes. I’m certainly guilty of that.

Yet we don’t know the other side of the story. The other person might be pissed off. They might just be having an awful time, and think you’ve fallen out with them. Just try sending a hello? I’ll practice what I preach here, but just reconnect with someone. It won’t solve loneliness, but it might just be a small little step towards it.

Sending you all the very best. This column will return next week.

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