The Growing Epidemic of Loneliness

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  “During my years caring for Patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness”


-Dr Vivek Murthy Former Surgeon General of the United States

How do you define Loneliness?  Look it up in the dictionary and see if you agree.  I find I don’t agree with Webster’s definition.

Would you be surprised to learn that most people who report feeling lonely are married or live with others and are not diagnosed with depression? According to a study conducted at the University of San Francisco in 2012 this is true.1   We know feelings of loneliness are subjective. There is a difference between feeling lonely, being alone and seeking solitude.

We feel lonely if our relationships do not provide emotional connection and meaning. Think about the gap that lies between what you desire and what you experience in your relationships with others.  I think that’s where you find loneliness.

 Desire                       Experience

Most of us have a basic need to know and be known and be part of a community.  When we are not connected to others and want to be we experience loneliness.

Think about these 5 Aspects of Loneliness.

  1. Family and relational ties

  2. Friendships

  3. Romantic Relationships

  4. Spiritual

  5. Self

Spiritual loneliness and “self” loneliness we can do something about.  We can work on our spirituality and work on self-acceptance for instance.  And what if those aspects of our life improved and our relationship with others improved as a result of that work?? AHA!  

The next time you experience painful feelings of loneliness, listen to them. Investigate them and express them.  Loneliness is valid; it’s okay to feel it we all do. And you can do something about it.

Your Friend,

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Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse