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Isolation and Loneliness

isolation and loneliness“Why Do I Feel Isolated?” How to Understand and Overcome Loneliness and Isolation

Human beings are naturally social animals. When we find ourselves becoming isolated, we should take that as a warning sign that we are turned against ourselves in some basicway. If not already there, we are on a path toward feeling bad, lonely, introverted or even depressed.

Why We Start Feeling Isolated

When we start feeling isolated, we may have thoughts of not belonging or of feeling rejected by others. What we overlook, however, is that when we are alone, we are often in the company of our worst enemy- the onewithin ourselves. An isolated space is the perfect breeding ground for negative, self-critical thoughts. These thought patterns make up the “critical inner voice (CIV),” an internalized enemy that leads to self-destructive thought processes and behaviors. This inner critic feeds into our feelings of isolation, encouraging us to avoid others and remain in a lonely state.

How to Cope with with Feeling Alone

Feeling lonely can trigger voices that we are unloved or unlikeable. These reflect a hostile and unfriendly point of view toward yourself. Treat these voices like they were coming from an external enemy, and do not tolerate them. Literally tell them to go away and that you refuse to buy into their destructive message. It is important to always act against any thoughts that people don’t like you. Are there ways you act that are based on what your voices tell you? For example, do you attack yourself for being “awkward” or “creepy” and then act quiet in a group of people? Then does your voice turn around and criticize you for acting that way?

Your critical inner voice can generate self-fulfilling prophecies. It will try to keep you from challenging yourself, then stab you in the back for avoiding taking action. Your CIV will almost always try to prevent you from struggling through uncomfortable situations and ultimatelyfeeling at ease withyourself. When you challenge your voices, don’t be surprised if they temporarily become stronger. Remember that if you are persistent in countering your attacks, they will ultimately become weaker and even go away altogether.  You may still hear them,but they will feel less intimidating and have less power over you.

How the Critical Inner Voice Leads Us to Feel Lonely and Isolatedinner critic ecourse CIV

When it feelings of comes to isolation, the voice can be an especially complicated and strategic enemy. Sometimes, it will lure us into being alone with comforting-seeming thoughts (“Just go home and spend some time by yourself. You enjoy being on your own.”). At other times, when we start feeling alone, it will viciously attack us (“No one wants you around. They don’t like you. Just stay away from everyone!”) These cruel directives are not based on reality but on the agenda of a self-destructive point of view we’ve taken on based on early life experiences. Think about how much of your negative feelings about yourself came from how you felt as kid?  Did you often feel isolated or rejected, unseen or misunderstood? Did you spend time on your own, feeling alone in your family or at school?

Overcoming Feelings of Isolation

No matter what their source, voices that you are unlikeable are much harder to accept when you’re around people who like you. When we hear these attacks,  it is vital that we do not allow them to manipulate our behavior. Acknowledge your feelings of loneliness and isolation without judgment, saying to yourself “I feel isolated right now, so I am not going to give in to my critical inner voice.” Make your actions meet your words and don’t put yourself in an isolated situation. Go out in public. Our brains do not respond positively to seclusion. Place yourself in social settings and interactions, even if you are among strangers. If you feel shy in public, try going online. Interacting on the Internetmay be a good first step in giving you the confidence to express yourself.

Society can breed a lot of  loneliness. Feelings of isolation are extremely common. Separations, divorces along withthe loss of our jobs, our social networks and loved ones can leave any one of us feeling alone. Even shuffling through a crowded street or scrunched together on a subway, one can wind up feeling alone – with no onemaking eye contact or exchanging asmile. Still, it is better for us on every level to get out and be among people and to never allow our voices to make us cynical toward ourselves or others. You are not alone in the world or in your feelings.

One of the best actions we can take to counteract the hopelessness we may feel is to think outside of ourselves. Believe beyond all doubt that you have something to offer. Volunteering is a great exercise in thinking outside yourself and often gives you the opportunity to connect with new people. Even little acts of generosity can have a significant impact. Generosity, as a principle, can lead to stronger self-esteem, which then leads to more social behavior.

If you are feeling isolated and may be experiencing symptoms of depression, here are some helpful resources:

National Institute of Mental Health – Depression
Depression.com
WebMD – Depression
Helpguide.org – Depression
Depression-Screening.org

GET HELP: IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN CRISIS OR IN NEED OF IMMEDIATE HELP, CALL 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
This is a free hotline available 24 hours a day to anyone in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.

International readers can click here for a list of helplines and crisis centers around the world.

61 comments

  1. Thank you for these informations. I become isolated and loniless. I search solutions.

  2. This is a great article about isolation and loneliness, very informative, thank you for posting it.

  3. Thankyou so much for what you do X

  4. I am home alone and it is night. I have no where to go at the moment and no one to really be around. I can’t sleep I just feel sad and trying to sleep isn’t working. I’m just lonely I guess it will pass. I actuely am popular and have great friends who love me but I still feel alone.

    • I’m completely with you!! Everyone who meets and hangs with me says I’m cool or funny…but most of the time I don’t feel that way at all. Apparently I’m very good-looking…but I don’t feel that way either. It’s been like this my whole life and I’m in my 40′s now. I can be in a crowd with a pretty girl hanging on my every word and still feel alone, awkward and unwanted….after all these years I still don’t get it. I isolate a lot, I hardly keep in touch with anyone and the ones I do it’s very superficial. When I was younger I had a hundred one night stands when all I wanted was one love…but I ran away every time. The bottom line is that I just don’t feel worthy.

      • Hi John, Your post sounds exactly like me, except in the male form.

      • Why did you have to mention pretty girl? This is part of the problem. Why do people have to be pretty

      • Sorry I am very lonely and isolated and I used to be pretty but not anymore

      • Hey John, I think we would both be surprised to hear just how many others feel this at one time or another. We sound like we may have some shared experience here. I wonder if these feelings are a call from the universe to dig deep and attune with our inner selves. It has been said if there is a feeling sit with it quietly, breath through it and listen don’t run from it. I think much can be learnt if we do this. Mindfulness has really helped me. Happy seeking John from a similar soul.

      • I think you should embrace the things you like to do. Great way of finding one’s self-worth! Spend some quality time with yourself, or take up some hobby you used to like but haven’t done in years. Or challenge yourself in new ways – learn something new, step outside your comfort zone. Those kind of things may feel awkward at first, but generally boosts your self image and confidence after a little while! :)

  5. I feel so lonely. I am going thru so much. I have no car due to waiting for my bankrupsy to be discharged. I did everything right and there was no dispute. I need a car. Tomorrow is my birthday and no one remembered it and my kids seem hopeless most of the time. If i dont visit them, i dont see them for weeks and they live close by. I wishi could just move and go somewhere i could meet new ppl and never look back at my lousy family.

  6. I have a chronic illness that has required me to file SSD.I got approved and it has hit me like I have been sentenced to life in prison.I had a HUGE social network.The few times I have gone out in the past 3 yrs I feel like a fraud because you can not look at me and tell I have a chronic disease.So I hide and die a little more each day.

    • I understand you

    • I have a chronic illness too. I’ve suffered with it for the last ten years and it can be incredibly isolating. The worst is the judgment from friends and family who don’t understand why I ‘don’t just xyz’.
      So, I get it, I really do. You are not alone. :)

  7. I always feel like I’m the awkward misfit when at work or around groups of people. I feel like I need that one person I could talk to that relates to me

  8. This was very helpful i wont lie i was on the verge of suicided i thought things would never change and that i couldnt talk to anyone cause they didnt understand me but reading this has given me hope on life again

  9. I am a mum of 3 with a lovely husband who is as understanding as is possible yet I feel so isolated and that I have no place in the world, it’s like a desperate longing to feel I am worth something – not as a mother or a partner or lover but as my own unique self.. Yet everytime I try to follow a dream I sabotage myself or things simply just don’t go my way and I descend deeper into my depression as a confirmation of my worthlessness.

    • Hi Claire
      I totally know how you feel except from a stay at home dad with 3 children point of view. I wasnt the most social person even before I had kids. My wife and I dont really have any personal friends. (my wife works) Through the christmas break has being tough and now feeling pretty isolated and feeling unworthy. Being a stay at home is tough even though I go to childrens playgroups its not like I get real close to other mums as being a guy theirs a line that is drawn. My wife wants me to go back to work to get back my self confidence mainly and well extra income as well even though we wouldnt get any further ahead as children daycare costs etc. but everytime I try to motivate myself I procrastinate then feelings of being useless creep in and Im not good enough, then I get depressed and you the story. Eventually it will happen though, I try an remain optimistic.

  10. Thank you for this!! Thank you so much.

  11. Like a lot of people here, I feel chronically isolated and lonely. I’m at home, with nowhere to go right now. I am 27, single, no friends and unemployed. I’ve had past experiences of bullying, rejection and ostracism (even at work). It’s easy to say when you’re lonely, hang out with friends. But some of us just don’t have any, and after being alone for so long, I feel socially disadvantaged, like its hard to connect with anyone now and even have a conversation, and new people don’t really care for me either way..

  12. I don’t just feel isolated, I am chronically lonely. I don’t even know what to do anymore. Any conversation I have with strangers or family is brief and superficial. I posted a comment here, earlier, reaching out for help but my message was excluded.

    • Jina @ PsychAlive.org

      Thank you for reaching out. We know it takes courage to reach out when you’re in distress, but it can be the first step to feeling better.

      It is painful to hear that you are feeling so lonely and that you feel as though you don’t know what to do anymore. When we feel isolated and alone, we often turn against ourselves, which makes it difficult to reach out and break the pattern of loneliness. However, if you are feeling alone, reaching out to any friends and family (even by phone or online) can help to break that pattern. I understand that this feels very difficult to do. Even making new friends in online discussion forums can help you feel more connected to others, especially if they share similar interests. Some people find that they feel better being around other people, even just reading a book or going online in a coffee shop can feel less isolating than being at home alone. Dr. Lisa Firestone suggests that individuals who feel chronically isolated participate in volunteer work, because reaching out to others has many benefits for mental health, including helping people feel less isolated and alone.

      Many people have found therapy to be incredibly helpful. If you are interested in pursuing therapy, here is good resource to help locate a therapist in your area.

      If you need someone to talk to you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The call is free and confidential and counselors are available 24/7. You do not have to be suicidal in order to call the Lifeline.

      Also, if you are feeling depressed, I encourage you to read this article on 8 Ways to Actively Fight Depression.

      Thank you again for reaching out.

  13. I feel very lonely for no reason I have been having social anixiety I saw a few people on the city bus and became very shy some people think I’m stupid and I try to hard to fit

    • Hey, I feel exactly like u. Actually I also suffer from social anxiety and am on a mental health care plan. And I also feel extremely lonely, and right now i am crying even while lying beside my best friend who is already asleep… I have always since a child also feel very depressed when I can’t sleep but everyone around me is already sleeping, it makes me feel hopeless and panicky. I don’t know how to calm racing thoughts when I’m out. We saw a friend today, and I could not stop feeling afraid and acting like I’m stupid. I feel stupid a lot… And i feel like people think i might be stupid but are just trying to be nice. I feel super sad right now… I really want someone to talk to, and to love. My best friend loves me, but we were together once and sometimes it still breaks my heart inside that we can only be just friends now, and i feel so attracted to her tonight, but all she said to me was please dont make yourself intentionally miserable, i have to get up early tomorrow for work u do love you… I csnt stop feeling so hopeless… :(

  14. Great site. totally puts everything in perspective.

  15. I’m currently studying abroad and its been a few months now. Since January, my sleeping pattern has gone all wrong, I sleep late at night and end up waking up at 4pm. I have been feeling very lonely and its like my mind is not looking forward to the next day so I just sleep it away. I feel sad soon after because I realise I’ve wasted my whole day. With the few hours of day I have left I go on youtube to watch some videos. I know its a form of escapism, but I just haven’t found anyone I can relate to. Plus the language barrier doesn’t help. And since my mind is still somewhat active, I end up sleeping very late. It’s just one vicious cycle everyday, everytime, and I have no-one I can talk to :(

    • i feel just the same as you do. i am also studying abroad and feeling lonely and can’t organize my day. And felling nervous of wasting the whole day because i sleep late. maybe we can help each others ;)

      • I am also on an exchange and experiencing strong feelings of isolation and like nobody is ‘on my level’.. Just now I watched a video that started making me ball my eyes out (it was about a guy who lost his wife after 70-odd years) and that just triggered a whole lot more crying, proper chest heaving/aching stuff. I don’t normally cry like that. I feel this constant source of insecurity and panic that I’m not going to be successful in the future (in my own definition, which just means being happy). I know uncertainty is a reality for everyone, but it really shook me just now.
        I constantly feel unworthy to be in this position and often feel like the outcast in social situations. I am always awkwardly self-deprecating myself and blurting out my worries/thoughts/dramas to people and then feel stupid for doing it afterwards. But when I’m nervous in a social situation my main concern is to keep talking, not relax and be present and think calm and evenly about what I’m saying. All this social anxiety/feeling of isolation is exacerbated by the fact that I’m in a foreign country, whose language I do not speak, but it’s also stuff I’ve used alcohol and drugs to forget about in my normal life back home. I feel especially bad tonight because I’ve been hating on myself, in fear I’ve put on weight and am going to put on more – I find it so hard to motivate myself to exercise though (and I’m an incredibly chronic procrastinator. I have mastered the art). I had an eating disorder (bulimia) in varying degrees of severity (sometimes not for a couple months, but I would be taking a lot of drugs) for 5 years, but that ended about 18months ago. I’m really worried though because I’ve self-induced vomiting twice in about 10 days (including today) and I’m scared I’m going to fall back into old habits. Not having drugs and alcohol and turning to this old form of self-abuse is making me think I legitimately have a mental health issue that I need to talk to someone about. I wish I could access a counselling service here like back home! In the meantime I hope this post acts as a cathartic practise and I know I need to start meditating and building up my self-worth (third chakra or whatever you want to call it). Hopefully then I will feel more comfortable with myself and stop worrying all the time!
        Thanks for reading if you got this far!

        • Jina @ PsychAlive.org

          I am sorry that you have been experiencing such strong feelings of isolation. It sounds like you have overcome a lot, like breaking your self-abuse with drugs and alcohol. It would be great to find some form of therapeutic support while you are on your exchange. This website can help you locate a therapist internationally: http://www.therapistlocator.net/ You could also email Jo@samaritans.org if you are feeling depressed and need someone to talk to.

  16. I wake up in the late afternoon till the early morning. Since I was a child I have lived with guys, and I’m the only girl. Before I lived with my 2 brothers, my uncle, and grandpa. Whenever I fought with my bros, I can’t defeat them because I’m too weak. I’m basically feeling inferior. Especially when my brothers go out to have fun, and comes back for how many days without permission, they were never scolded. As a girl, I told them where I was going, and it was 8 at night, they called my friends parents to ask them where I was. I was greatly humiliated at school. It was unfair for me. It felt like I had no freedom. Now that me and my 2 bros moved to where our parents are, I got closer to my brothers.

    Still, when I thought that finally there would be another woman in the household that I’m actually living with… well, turns out my mother has a live-in Job. My physical appearance change drastically… I gained 50 pounds, and gained pimples because of puberty. I felt more insecure and lonely also because of the fact that I don’t talk personal stuff with my brothers… because they are guys.

    I have friends that are girls too, and I share some of my personal stuff to them. but for some reason… the fact that they are not my real sister, and they don’t live with me and my family like a real sibling. I still feel lonely and depressed.

    Whenever my brothers or father invite a guy to our house, I feel isolated. I’m always alone in my dark room, and I could hear their voices which makes me more depressed. When my brother goes out to drink with guys friends, he would invite my other brother, but of course since I was a girl, and the youngest… I was never invited.

    I started cutting myself out of boredom. It helps me suppress my urge to want something, and cry because of some food I want to eat that I will never get (for example). Whenever I’m alone, taking a bath or in my room. I talk to myself, laugh by myself, I let out my emotions silently that nobody will ever notice. Then, as it continued, I hear my self thinking about bad stuff. Thinking about doing something bad to my good friends, and to strangers or characters I just made up in my mind. When my oldest brother saw the cuts, he looked at me like I was some fuckin devil. I tried my best to hide it, and when I saw how he looked at me. I was deeply sad and depressed. I hated everything. I’m a believer of Christ, but I doubt too many stuff. I hate the fact that I can say I love and believe in Christ, when in fact I’m just being the worst hypocrite. I don’t pray much anymore… I have vision in the future for Christ. It’s still there. but I’m not motivated to do anything about my future.

    I always ask God… especially, when we had bible study, I was still the only girl at first.. then only 3 girls out of 13 people showed up. It’s hard, and I feel like I’m being isolated. I want to cut myself right now, but there are visitors… so maybe later.

    I’m an introvert… I don’t like mornings… Boredom kills me. I feel lonely…

    • Jina @ PsychAlive.org

      We read your comment and know it takes courage to reach out when you are in distress. Often when we feel isolated, we turn against ourselves and find it difficult to reach out for help. However, we want you to know that help is available and there is hope. PsychAlive is not a counseling site, but we can offer resources where you can get assistance 24 hours per day. If you are in the U.S., the National Helpline at 800-273 TALK (8255) or visit the Helpline website to online chat. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ If you live in another country, you can email jo@samaritans.org and visit the Samaritans website for help. It is especially important to reach out when you are feeling isolated and have the desire to harm yourself. We hope that you remain safe and continue to reach out. Please do not do anything to hurt yourself.

      • MY CRICAL INNER VOICE TOOK OVER AND HAS WON CONTROL.

        • wow…i cant tell if your joking around or not but thats just messed up. what i read actually helped me a bit to understand that i am depressed and alone. i denied it all my life that i wasnt and here it is right in my face. i feel like i have no friends or anyone i can trust. only people i do trust is my family and im glad they are there for me. i love them and they love me.thats whats keeping me up.they tried their hardest to hlep me and what do i give them in return?nothing. i feel like im a disappointment sometimes but hey i feel like im not. ive actualy set a goal in my life, thats to join the army and hopefuly i can meet some people and become friends with them. i think that joining the army will make my parents proud of me, my fmaily proud of me.im a drop out, i got my ged but i dont think thats good enough. so my goal is to finish basic training and make my family proud and maybe some day find a girl that willl love me and i would love her…but being socialy awkward makes it tough. i see lots of cute girls that i walk past but i never have the courage to ask them out or anything. its not like im ugly or anything like that its just..hard..i dont know if anyone can understand me about that…girls at my ged classes thought i was cute… or so i think because they would smile and not have that ewww why you talking to me face. know what i mean? lol… but if you really arent joking around there are..hotlines or something that can hlep you out and disregard this post if you are. thank you for reading this post for whoever did and yeah… BYE! keep your head up, set up goals in life and if you cant…idk dream big :)

        • Jina @ PsychAlive.org

          If you feel your Critical Inner Voice has taken you over, you may benefit from seeking professional help. You can find a therapist at http://locator.apa.org/, or call the National Helpline at 800-273 TALK (8255), or visit the Helpline website to online chat: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ You do not have to be suicidal to call the Helpline.

        • Hi Aaron, what do you meaning your critical inner voice has taken over and WON?? please tell me a bit about whats going on for you to see if I can help!

  17. This helped a lot. It is amazing to see how many people face this loneliness syndrome. I for example have felt very lonely for years despite having a family and kids. But I never wanted them to solve my problems. I am separated now living in another state and when I go out, 99.9% of the time I am alone. I look good, exercise, eat right, have a job, am 50 now and it seems like I am out of touch with everyone else. I find it hard to meet people that have things in common with me now. Reaching to younger people and especially the opposite sex is a big waste of time and effort because I think they now see me as old even though I have no grey hair or look older than my age. In fact I look younger and energetic. I don’t smoke, dont do drugs, am fit, etc. I did start feeling like I don’t matter at all. I see everyone with friends, girlfriends, wives, all hanging out and I am the only person out there with nobody to hang out with despite several meetup tries. I thought that God just made me different than everybody else and not meant to have friends or company after work or on weekends. I spend a lot of time alone and live alone.
    Part of me thinks that maybe evil surrounds us to make us feel terrible and that we have to break this thinking pattern and start believing that God can work miracles in our lives and changes these feelings of self-destruction. Maybe all those other people have friends because they don’t spend their entire day talking negative about life and about their own selves.
    Today I have decided to follow the article’s advice and end the negative self-talk. Then I am going to accept being lonely and won’t engage in self-destructive, self-pity behavior. I am going to work out more and build my body stronger and work on my mind so it is stronger. Joining a church might help too.

    I think that all evil feelings must come from evil and all good feelings must come from God. So why waste my life away feeling sorry for myself? Worst comes to worst, I will just become my own very best friend. Some very old people seem to have a handle on this and feel happy even at their old age so why should I be in self-pity mode all the time? No more. Today I will change for the better and never look back.
    Best of luck to all of us lonely people who feel weird among other people. We are one. We are not alone. – Lonely guy in las vegas, NV.

    • I am similar to you only alot younger. It is so painful

    • Nicely stated Sir. You seem to have a handle on it and I so glad to hear it as I relate so well to what you have said and if you look at my comments you’ll see this is so and I wrote before I read yours. Good for you and I wish you the best going forward. We can ever completely escape the negative or isolated thoughts that occasionally rush up on us that we are lonely. But…..each day we are given the gift of life and I think that is what the old people you refer to understand. Last summer I had two butterflies who apparently had taken up residence in my backyard somewhere. I would see them almost daily running around the couple of hundred square feet. I’d read on my patio and look up and see them constantly. I tell you if given the choice between a backyard full of meaningless conversation amongst people I might not necessarily care for (and I was in that very scenario many times with ex’s friends, good people but not my cup of tea) and watching those two butterflies while I enjoyed a sunny day out in back of the house I’d take that every time. Best of luck to you.

  18. This article is utter crap.
    If you have a condition such as Asperger’s (not a single mention in the article) loneliness is a hallmark of the syndrome, consequently ALL of the advice on this page is irreverent, inaccurate & amateurish.
    Co-morbid (at least in my case) with Asperger’s is “usually” alexithymia,, &/or solipsism. these last two ‘states’ make connections to others IMPOSSIBLE. The natural bonding is just not there. As a result my loneliness is real & physical not just some “critical inner voice” bullshit.

    Did the author stop to consider the poor advice contained in this article? The words may work for people who like to pretend they are lonely, but you have NEVER experienced real loneliness unless you have solipsism.
    This article should come with a warning.

  19. Wow ! I am so glad to see this topic of discussion I have a critical inner voice not often representative of what is happening in reality, though sometimes these thoughts happen when a situation happens where it triggers me to question my self worth. I am 26, living with my parents because I can’t find a job, really want a girlfriend, and have friends but they are mostly friends from hs and we only get together a few times a year, I have one acquaintance from my church but other than that I feel alone. First off I really want a girlfriend and too get laid more often. I am 26, tall and told I’m very handsome even that’s should model as well as I have light brown hair, clean shaven and I exercise, go to the gym and run and I am a vegetarian. I also am Catholic and go to church am involved at my church but the parishioners are older and I have not met anyone. I have had sex in midlife and had a girlfriend a few yrs ago. For some reason I get these irrational thoughts that I’m ugly, fat and no one finds me attractive even though I’ve been Told I’m attractive and told I’m in good shape and women do smile at me sometimes. One of my worst fears is that I will be either living alone my whole life without ever meeting someone again or having sex again, or that ill still be living with my parents when I’m 50. I used to be painfully shy with women and im trying to overcome that by making eye contact and at places like the gym or coffee hour after mass making conversation, but I do get nervous when an attractive woman is around me as negative thought after negative thought fires up, that she thinks im ugly, desperate, gay , a rapist, stalker and from an outsiders view this would seem ridiculous and unreasonable. But inside my own head I start to get anxiety and these thoughts go. I also have a lot of jealousy issues. I am jealous when I am going about my business and see happy couples making out, holding hands and I’m alone, it’s the worst feeling in the world and I feel worthless, unattractive everything. People would never assume I had these thoughts of inadequacy and depression and thoughts of suicide, because on the outside I present a happy go lucky, confident attractive guy, but on the inside I feel lonely, depressed and some times like what’s the point in me living. Even though I know I could not commit such a horrible sin as my Faith guides me not too and I would not put that sadness on my parents who love me and friends and people at church. I am vain and I pray GOD gets rid of that sin as I hate it but I am extremely concerned about my appearance , my weight how I look. I feel sad because I want a relationship and I don’t drink but sometimes go to bars to try and meet women and it’s hard for me to ask them outbursts dance and I get extremely jealous when another guy takes the woman I wanted. At church I like some of the people but I feel inadequate because it’s an older clicking congregation and I feel like an outsider because these people are fromn richer backgrounds and have their lives together and when I try and engage them I feel like they are not interested in talking or getting to know me and that they don’t like me. I am looking for a younger congregation. I am also looking for a job but I capturing anything I’ve been filling out application after application. I pray that my life gets better but as of late I have felt like my life has become relentless, fulfilling, boring and when I nightingale steps to change it does not work, I feel like all my friends are happier then I am, my cousins are all married and happy and ill never have that and feel like my family dissent take me seriously. I know my parents love me and they know about the depression , but I hide it as much as I can, I am seeing a therapist but I only see him once a month. I try to focus on the positives but if my life is still like this when I’m in my 30s I don’t see why’D would want me to carry on being unhappy, not married and not employed.

  20. Sorry for the typos my kindle chooses words.

  21. I am so glad to see I am not alone in having these unwanted feelings. I have many issues like all of you in particular the whole being single thing bothers me, gives me anxiety and horrible thoughts. I am 26 years old and currently live at home with my parents and I am single. I am tall, brown haired, clean shaven and in fairly good shape , and I am a vegetarian. Some people have told me I should try out for modeling. Anyways I am insecure and feel very isolated at this time in my life and while some of it is truly absurd and unreasonable I feel like there are times I just can’t shake these bio chemical thoughts. Being single bothers me and I really want a girlfriend and I want to get laid more. The funny thing is I’ve been told I am handsome, attractive and all kinds of other compliments and women do smile at me sometimes, yet I myself can feel unattractive, and depressed. I often feel lonely when I see happy couples who look happy, or happy couples making out and the voices start going off in my head about how i am considered fat, unattractive and how ill be single and alone my whole life. I have had sex in the past and had a girlfriend, but I am shy and the weird thing is people on the outside would consider me an extrovert and yet on the inside I feel the opposite. I am Catholic and go to church and put faith in GOD and pray my life gets better. I am looking for a job filling out application after application and can’t find anything. I am still living with my parents and ashamed of it . I often have thoughts that I will live with my parents my whole life and that nothing will never change. I have friends but mostly they are friends from high school and i don’t spend as much time with them also at church it’s mostly older people who are clickish and I’m trying to find a younger parish. I am very vain which is a horrible sin and I care very much about my appearance and even though I’m given compliments left and right myself wonder why I don’t have a girlfriend. I sometimes question weather life is all worth it, my parents do know I have depression but I bottle it up when I’m with them, I am involved at my church and involved and outside in life, but sometimes I wonder if GOD truly wants me to live if I’m suffering so much inside. People except my parents see my smile outside and see this upbeat and confident guy, but I feel insecure and worthless on the inside often. The weird thing is I don’t know why I feel like this I grew up in a “normal middle class background” with a good childhood and loving parents I was always very shy with women and I try to fight the shyness bland make small talk if I can, but often I freeze up around beautiful women and I feel ashamed. I feel jealous of less attractive men who get laid every night. I could never commit suicide because it’s a major sin in Christianity but I feel like maybe GOD dissent want me to get a job, a wife or girlfriend and be independent, if I am still living like this when I’m 35 I think I’m doomed.

  22. I run and go to the gym and I feel better doing those activities. That is a good way to work off depression.

  23. Great article. Hi everyone. Listen it’s a different society out there now. Very isolated and anti-social. Very meaningless. None of you are alone. What I’ve found is that nobody I meet has the capability to have an intelligent conversation anymore. Its all surface crap and meaningless dialogue. I won’t waste my time with that (now in my 50′s). I don’t hate people, just a majority of them :) American society especially has become inane, selfish and ignorant. Don’t let it get to you. Stay strong. I’ll tell you the media at large presses upon us the idea that people need people. Back in time when earths population was numbered in the millions there was a great deal of isolation. Without being to wordy I will add some things I find helps. Books, literature is quite awesome and a way to stay connected, nothing like a good book to engross you in human thought. Nature is spectacular, please spend more time in it. The search for self is also a wonderful thing. It never gets old, the questions, why am I here, who am I, what is important in what I think? Of course number one is I have found Jesus Christ to be about the best friend a person can have. Let me say this quickly…that empty house, not so empty anymore, that empty lonely life, not so empty anymore once one has a relationship with God. I can’t say it strongly enough, YOU ARE NOT ALONE, these commenters alone tell you that. We are not guaranteed a grand social life but there are many many things one can do if they can find the courage to face that they may have to “go it alone.” Find peace and harmony in how you individually relate to the universe, the stars are a wonder to behold and each of us is a part of it, each day is a gift.
    I was in the grocery check out line on Friday, the lady looked tired, about my age, when she handed me the receipt I looked deep into her eyes and said thank you [Connie], have a great weekend. Her whole face lit up….someone had taken a few second to actually notice her. I think I made her day. Who says being isolated and lonely prevents us from affecting others positively. Ya know that interaction made my day too. Seek that and you will find it. Know that it isn’t necessarily your fault at all that you find yourself in this state, as we can see lots of us are in similar circumstance. Keep in mind that IMO 99% of the people on this planet aren’t worth the time of day now. It’s quite ridiculous out there now. Revel in your independence, there is a whole world out there waiting to be explored if only through reading and visual arts, media and entertainment. Don’t think that “people” and socialism is the end all be all. Being the best you can be alone can matter. Consider how strong you are for facing that challenge everyday. Jesus said I am with you, I will never leave you or forsake you. I have found this to be true. What an ear he has to lend…I talk to him often and I know he listens. Don’t forget about pets, highly recommended, unconditional love and affection. I have one friend, estranged from my family, divorced for a little over two years now, can’t seem to find anyone I can relate to or deserves it. Yet I don’t necessarily despise folks just would rather be left alone than forced to socialize with what I see out there now. Shame really but what can you do? You can be happy…with you, that we can control. Best to all

    • Joe,

      I like the basis of your comment. I have no religion, so I will keep my views to my self in that regard. But I liked what you said; that you “looked deep into her eyes and said thank you [Connie], have a great weekend.” It seems that most everyone are so self absorbed into themselves to even notice other people around them. I do think that our society has become more inward and selfish.

      But have you ever went anywhere in public and for no reason at all, to give a smile to someone. Anyone! Being a gentleman in public, and giving a smile more often rewards me with a smile in return. It makes me feel good when I can at least bring a smile to someone’s face, if only for a few seconds.

    • It seems to me there’s two kinds of loneliness, loneliness by separation, and feeling alone amongst others. The former, loneliness by separation, just makes plain common sense. We are wired at a very primitive level to not be alone too long, probably for survival reasons. The other seems puzzling but probably not when you consider how much artificiality goes into most social convention. I’d say both are very real, but are amplified by a lack of meaning and purpose. When we have both of these when alone it is called solitude, when amongst others it is called community.

      I’ve suffered for a long time from what I call depression, social anxiety and chronic fatigue. I’ve been seeking out mindfulness as a way to deal with the resulting loneliness. I have a fairly comfortable life, but I question this as well so try to find ways to live humbly. I volunteer, and I would tell anyone volunteering is very rewarding but it is not an answer. I’ve kept myself healthy and fit, but think I’m kidding myself that it makes a difference after a certain age.

      Perhaps our civilization is at fault, after all look at what and who we worship (actually, don’t, if you can possibly avoid it). Though as has been said here, having money, good looks, or even lots of relationships is no barrier to feeling lonely.

      Sorry I ramble. Perhaps, as Joe says, the feeling of being unworthy is a message we get from society. And we know how often those messages from society are healthful and totally concerned with our well-being :) Kudos to him for finding ways around it. I will still be searching for some time…

  24. I can definatly relate to loneliness. I have always found it really hard to get close to people and maintain relationships. I am at a point in my life where I would really like to have more friends but it exhausts me just thinking about it. I have a hard time relaxing around people and I think people can take me the wrong way. I seem to have a lot of social anxiety and feel insecure around certain people..I have battled with drinking and anger because of it…..

  25. Interesting article. I find myself lonely and isolated quite frequently. But it seems the author implies that all of us have multiple personalities:; I quote, “Literally tell them to go away and that you refuse to buy into their destructive message.” Well I would if I could, but the only reason that I think that way is, well because that is the way I think and I see it as truth! I believe that I am unlikable to most people, and I feel much better when I am alone, and not under the watchful eye of critical people.

    I just got back from a vacation of being by myself. I was very lonely, but I loved it! Did I really want to be alone? No I didn’t, but it allowed me plenty time to think and evaluate my life in general. I am not happy with my life, in fact I hate it! But I am not suicidal, I just look for ways to deal with it. Being lonely is not necessary a bad thing, I think everyone needs some “alone time” to think.

    I enjoy helping other people, I enjoy making other people smile. But too often, when I try to help others or make them happy, I achieve the opposite of what I am trying to accomplish. This only makes me want to isolate myself even more!

  26. I’m stuck in that vicious circle and it is hard to break it. I got back from an 8-years long work contract in a foreign country about 6 months ago. I was excited for the first month after I got back, and then, I ended up alone 99% of the time because I feel I really don’t belong. Almost of not all my friends are now married, with kids, which is not my case, and being absent for so long made me “fall off the radar”. Even though I went to 4 birthday parties since I came back, nobody remembered mine. I also realized that when I don’t call, nobody will take the initiative to call me. If I found that normal in the first 3 months because of my prolonged absence, after 6 months, things did not get better inspite of genuine efforts I made to get involved in my friends’ and parents’ lives, and this weekend will be the sixth in a row being alone in my appartment. I’m started to feel like I am not able to get myself out of this, and it goes from bad to worse…

  27. Hello to everyone. I just spent the greater part of the last 2 hours reading everyone’s comments and blogs. These sites are very informative and helpful. It provides a means to reach out and feel understood & connected with other people in similar situations.
    I am over 50, the mother of 4 children, divorced after 20-years of marriage, Nana to almost 3 grandchildren, a military brat, finishing up a 2nd Master’s in Mental Health Counseling, I, too, have a chronic illness, ADHD, and clinical depression. I KNOW how blessed I am! But, like many if you, there are times when there are only feelings of emptiness, loneliness , and depression. I HATE having those feelings!
    Ten years ago, I watched as my 19-year-old daughter was pronounced dead by the ER physician. She had developed a blood clot in her leg that escaped many doctors. My life changed forever that night!
    I was diagnosed with having clinical depression at around age 30 however; I am certain I struggled with it as a teenager. At that time, it wasn’t uncommon to be told things like, ” you’re so sensitive!” The stigma of having depression was pretty strong back then.
    I have been through the ugliness of depression…extreme sadness, feeling like no one likes me or understands me, the negative self-talk, the thoughts of wanting to die!
    When I recognized that it was depression that I struggled with (and I thank Oprah for having that show on depression that I happened to have seen) …well, it was like an epiphany, and the next day I called and made an appointment to see a doctor. I started therapy and medication which, I am certain, saved my life!! Anyone who knows what it feels like to battle with depression can understand that, with the right help & education, you can feel almost reborn & alive …which is a feeling like no other!
    My depression comes and goes, but I am very in-tune with how I am thinking & feeling, and I know what I have to do not to allow the depression to win! It’s an ugly, lonely neurobiological illness.
    It is SO important to reach out to people…even going to places like this site. It can mean the difference between life & death for someone! Reach out…and for those who may not struggle with depression, look around you…there are people all around hurting every day. A smile or a sincere hello could make a big difference in a person’s life at that moment!
    The professionals are so right in saying to do whatever you can to connect with someone…it will help you feel understood, accepted, and positive. That’s the spark one needs! All of you suffering with depression, addictions, etc., you ARE IMPORTANT, special, needed, valued & loved! Sometimes the good people in our lives don’t find us…we find them! God Bless you all. Please reach out!! I will make myself available to anyone as well. Please don’t give up! Thanks for sharing…you are courageous and strong, and more than likely, helping to save another person’s life!

  28. It is always wonderful to have a loved one to share your life with.

  29. I, too, feel something may be wrong with me because suddenly at age 61 I have become more hermit-like, though I am deeply in love my boyfriend of two years. But he’s all I need, pretty much. How long that will last I don’t know.
    I think Joe below is right when he says its harder than ever to connect with people, to even like them anymore! Yes, many are still wonderful, but more than ever people are VERY self-absorbed, too busy, overly busy so they will feel important and/or simply NOT THINK, selfish, grasping because it’s so hard now to make a living, etc. I understand the reasons, thank God but the end result is after 61 years I am out of steam and find myself avoiding most people because their energy is mostly negative or self-absorbed or clueless.
    Also, I have always been very sensitive, but gregarious usually, popular even mostly. I am considered very pretty though 61, highly educated, thoughtful, kind, hyper-aware of everyone’s feelings about 70-80% of the time. Long ago my family started taking me for granted and not responding when I was in emotional pain ’cause “Ellen is strong and will survive. No need to worry much about her. She’s a survivor, etc. , etc., etc.”. So that sort of neglect, despite ministering to THEM for years and years left me a little bitter I must say. Still and all I am somewhat involved in everyone’s life (family) except one brother. I prefer my nephews to my Boomer brothers! I prefer my first cousins also as they seem to stick together thru thick and thin and I admire/respect that. So I now talk to them on FB, not my immediate family much.
    My feeling about this is at some point maybe it’s ok? to be bitter. OK to want to keep your own company or just that of a boyfriend, say. It’s OK. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed and I refuse to believe there is anything psychologically wrong with me.
    I plan to bring it up with my therapist soon, but I just wanted to give my thoughts here in the hope they help others in some way. Good luck to everyone and God bless.

    • Hi Ellen, you sound exactly like me. In a weird way it’s comforting to know someone else feels as I do. I hope it’s not misery likes company. I don’t want to be unhappy, nor do I want you to be. There’s at least one other that feels as you do. Great luck to you. Please be happy, you are worth it. This is a tough world to be sensitive in. Good luck, Jim

  30. PS
    In order to grow spiritually, many years ago now I sought detachment as much as possible. I also worked hard and still do, to reduce my ego, not feed it. Maybe those two spiritual practices, though beneficial in many great ways, well maybe I took it too far. But all I know is I am more superficial with people now (keep my interactions mostly superficial with most) and prefer it that way. It may not be mainstream but I feel it is MY “new normal” and OK. My path now. Few would understand so I don’t discuss my path or my spiritual influences much.

    Nearly everyone on this planet now seems to think they only live for the moment, for money, for their families and friends and petty politics or interest group and everything else be damned- God, the world, the environment, your neighbor. It is a bleak time to be in the body, I will say that, but it will get better. We are on the cusp of a spiritual rebirth believe it or not. Now if I can only convince my bf of that as he is the world’s biggest pessimist and paranoid! lol

  31. Great article. Also I think this method worked wonders for me. read this article and it will make you understand on how to feel alone instead of lonely >>>> http://www.contrast007.com/how-not-to-be-lonely/

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