Loneliness – How to spot the signs in others

In the UK today, we all live life in the fast lane. All of us are easily consumed by our perception of what life ‘should be’ and so we become oblivious to our lives plan and purpose. It becomes so tough at the top, that it is difficult to see the nose at the end of your face, let alone someone else’s loneliness and their lack of lust for life.

Being all consumed in our own hectic lives, makes it even harder to recognise the loneliness in a close family member or friend. Here are a few of my own indicators, which have purely come from my own life experience, of having felt this way myself in the past, and having had to identify it in both close family members and friends.

Loneliness Indicators:

There really is no set way to ‘act’ if you are feeling lonely, believe me I have been there. I personally feel that loneliness is very subjective and yet there are ‘indicators’ associated with loneliness, which one can certainly identify. For instance following the death of a partner or loved one (in my case) will make the person more vulnerable to isolation and loneliness. Especially if they were depended on that loved one or partner for social meets, interaction and or guidance.

Here are a few to consider and to be aware of:
  1. Lack of nearby family – Someone who has no relatives nearby may suffer loneliness.
  2. Living on a low income – Can create stress, anxiety and depression for the person who is struggling to meet the bills and needs of their responsibilities (children), which in turn may well lead to isolation and loneliness.
  3. Bereavement – Grieving for a loved one is a trigger for loneliness and also an indicator that someone might be, or become lonely.
  4. Mobility issues – Not being able to get out and about for whatever the reason, will decrease the person’s social networking and make them prone to isolation and therefore loneliness.
  5. Hearing or sight loss
  6. Having to care for a loved one – May have a negative impact on the wellbeing of the carer, as they stop interacting with friends to care for loved one.
  7. Dementia diagnosis – tendency to have lost friends post diagnosis.
  8. Mental health diagnosis – Someone who may have appeared to be successful and flying high in life may become unwell with a mental disorder. Family and friends may find it hard to cope with, and disappear. Social interactions can fade and in turn the sufferer becomes isolated and lonely.

In all honesty at 39 years of age I have suffered loneliness twice in my life to date, as a result of indicators numbered 3 & 8 above. It is not easy when you have to deal with loneliness and it is by no means exclusive with an older generation. All I ask is that you take time out to look out for those in your life who may be subject to any of the indicators above, and ask them how they are. It does not take much to enquire after another, and it can save someone from the terror and torture of loneliness. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this or contact me if you need someone to speak to.

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