It’s a hard time, it’s a dark time, it’s a strange time, it’s a weird time. I feel like I can’t write any new post for the foreseeable future without addressing that, but it still feels weird to say. On top of people having anxiety over the situation and having to deal with figuring out how to stay at home, plenty of people are feeling lonelier than ever at this time. Part of that is obviously being at home (stay inside if you can, friends!) but part of that is not being able to see who we want to see in person.
Whether you’re in quarantine with your family, housemates, roommates or significant others, there’s a big chunk of your social interaction that’s not fully accessible. Don’t get me wrong, video chat is incredible beyond belief right now, but that doesn’t always stop people from feeling lonely. And if you’re not used to feeling this lonely on a consistent basis, it can be scary. But it doesn’t have to be.
Don’t be afraid to feel lonely right now. Most of us do. We have people, activities, places, all sorts of things that we miss right now. And not being able to see those people or go to those places might overload us with lonely feelings. And I would tell you that it’s okay to feel lonely right now – as long as you don’t make it the only thing you think about.
One of the most difficult aspects of depression, especially when you’re going through a tough bout of it, is that you feel lonely all the time. If you’re with people, alone, in your room or out with friends, sometimes you feel like you’re alone because of the pain you feel and you think no one knows what you’re going through. But if you talk to someone else with depression, you find comfort in knowing that there’s someone else who can understand your experience. And I think that’s where we can all benefit right now.
Even though so many of us feel lonely right now, we still might be afraid to reach out to tell anyone because we’re scared they won’t understand. And while I don’t think that should stop anyone from reaching out (maybe I’ll post on that next week!), it’s easier for people when they know that someone will empathize with their situation. They might even be having a similar experience, especially with all that’s happening now.
I say all this speaking from experience and having to reach out to other people myself. It isn’t always easy and I’ll be honest, sometimes you don’t get the reaction you want. But it’s much more common that you chose to tell that person for a reason, and their response is helpful in ways you might not expect. And if you aren’t the one feeling lonely right now, I hope you also have the courage to check in on people who might be feeling that way. You never know who you could be helping at a time like this.