Loneliness may not always be obvious. Many people protect themselves from this painful feeling by keeping busy or finding themselves needing to check the next device. Others find themselves going from partner to partner without a break —pulled to seek out another relationship as fast as possible as soon as one ends. The feeling may just be a “need” to always be on the go; on to the next thing one “must-do”; or “shoulds” and “have tos” feel unbearably compelling.
But we are social beings. We need to connect deeply with others. Running frantically from thing to thing or person to person is a way to ensure that this will not happen.
On the other hand, you may feel your loneliness. You may feel like you don’t belong, or don’t feel connected to others .. maybe you’re feeling isolated, like an outcast, or just plain unwanted. You may find yourself believing your friends don’t really care about you, or like you can’t seem to find people who will connect with you, or like you have no one to call on in a time of need.
But loneliness is a feeling … yes, you may feel poorly but amazingly, you are not alone. We all have these feelings at times, and when it’s chronic and you can’t seem to shake it or can’t stop running yourself into the ground, it’s time to get some professional help.
Loneliness can make people also feel anxious, or depressed, or keep one up at night. It can even affect one’s health and immune system. These feelings can make one retreat into oneself making the problem even worse. People can convince themselves that they don’t have a safety net or people to lean on, or they even stop trying to get help… but these are the folks who need it the most.
Loneliness also feeds on negative information .. such as one gets from having a bad experience or after one is criticized. The lonely person can use these experiences as evidence that there is really something wrong with them. Some people may even seek out negative experiences or rejection to affirm their erroneous beliefs.
What lonely people really need is a person to help keep their thoughts, reactions, and feelings clear.
By identifying negative thoughts as they occur, one can learn to get control over them — see what is going on and what is not true. Mindfulness practice can facilitate such awareness.
The best therapist for someone in such distress is one who understands what it “feels” like to have no one, what it “feels” like to be isolated and without help. We need someone who can truly empathize with the plight of one who feels lost at sea, set adrift alone, untethered, and help the lonely soul to navigate back to the security of the truth …. Loneliness is not a condition but a state of mind.
If you are in the Berkeley area, Dr. Lynn Winsten is a great resource for such work. She can help you uncover the root of your lonely feelings and find a way out of this misery. She has dedicated herself to helping people piece together their own life stories so they may find peace, rest, and fulfillment. This is not a quick fix but with a therapist you can trust and connect with, you will slowly gain relief.
It’s never easy to reach out for help and admit to vulnerability, but isolating oneself will just make the feelings intensify. Many folks suffer in this way, more than one may expect, but there is real help available. You are not alone. Your story is worth being told, and your life is worth living. You deserve to feel better and embrace the truth .. you can develop the skills to overcome this misery. With the help of Dr. Lynn Winsten in psychologist Berkeley, you can truly change your life and how you experience yourself.