Unsplash 2017
Source: Unsplash 2017

When I'm lonely, I don't ignore it. It means something may be wrong. Sometimes I like to spend time with myself, other times I feel uncomfortable being lonely. When I'm depressed feeling lonely is unbearable. I need to (even if I don't feel like it) get outside and meet friends. When I am alone with my thoughts I feel awful; more awful than I feel like, to begin with. 

Loneliness is a natural human emotion. When we feel lonely we are missing something. When you do some introspective work we find out what that reason is. That is important work to do. Don't avoid the feeling, because it will get worse. Isolation is addictive in some ways, at least for me. Once I tell myself I need to stay inside on my couch and not see people, the harder it is to get out there and be around others. 

It's okay to feel lonely for a period of time, you're allowed. But once it gets to the point where it's painful, that's when you need to take action. Reach out to a friend or your therapist (if you have one). If you don't have a therapist, it might be time for you to look into getting one. It might be difficult to take that action if you haven't been in therapy before. However, finding a therapist is something that is easier to do than it used to be before the advent of technology. 

Loneliness should not be ignored if you're experiencing depression or suicidal ideation. Please contact a mental health professional or National Lifeline if you're experiencing those symptoms. These are life-threatening and you should take action to help yourself. 

Also, loneliness can be the sign of other mental health issues. My therapist told me that people with ADHD, for example, feel lonely because other people don't understand their symptoms. As a result, they isolate out of being misunderstood. People with schizophrenia often isolate because their symptoms are intense. When you're hallucinating and having delusions, it's difficult to be around people. I can completely understand and respect this. 

If you're just feeling alone, there are basic actions you can take that will help:

1. Call a friend - they will remind you that you are not alone. They can listen to your concerns and show you that there's someone out there who cares.

2. Reach out to your therapist/mental health professional- this person has been working through your mental/emotional issues with you. They will be able to guide you through these complex painful feelings.

3. Journal - take out a pen and paper and free write your feelings. You will be able to tell what your feelings are when you see them on paper.

4. Sing - singing releases emotion. When I was in school for theater, my teacher told me that musical theater is all about emotions. When the emotions get too strong, the characters sing.

If you're feeling lonely, there's hope. Don't be afraid to reach out for the help you need. It's okay to do that. 

Unsplash 2017
Source: Unsplash 2017

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