This photo represents a woman guarding herself to what she preceives as hurtful. She thinks she is guarding herself from hurt but may be placing a barrier between herself and meaningful relationships…
This is about that empty lonely feeling that those with mental torment carry with them, even as they stand in a crowded room.
A common thread for those with any sort of mental torment is that feeling of loneliness. We have addressed it before but let’s revisit this common emotion. The percentage of those who feel lonely skyrockets in those who overthink, speculate, and have a mindset that includes negativity, or a woe is me attitude. Nearly half of all Americans do feel lonely at times or most of the time. The age group citing loneliness most frequently is 17 – 24. Feeling lonely is not a mental health problem. However, either a social phobia or anxiety often derail chances for having meaningful relationships. Anxiety and depression often keep you in the box of loneliness or is it that loneliness brings on depression and anxiety? This relationship between mental health and loneliness is a self-perpetuating cycle. The symptoms of mental torment can limit one’s connections and social interactions which in turn magnifies symptoms and feelings of loneliness.
Mental Health America explains this in – Is loneliness Making My mental Health Struggles Harder? Some of the resources cited are well worth the read.
I have found that many who claim loneliness
#1 tend to isolate themselves
#2 feel emotionally unworthy
#3 believe that they have been abandoned by friends and family
#4 always feel excluded
#5 often have low self esteem
#6 and many experience sleep problems
They will explain their emotional state as distanced, depressed, and they are estranged. Some will say they feel invisible. Social anxiety, or a social phobia can keep a person isolated. At times people feel even unworthy of reaching out to nurture relationships. An article that address some of this is – Let’s Talk About Loneliness and Young Adult Mental Health by familyaware.org.
I have been in a social gathering many times and have noticed someone standing off to the side. They often have the same story.
A female college student told me that the group we were with was uninviting and that it reinforced her belief that men are pigs… Yet, I was there, and that message did not resonate with me. She alone felt singled out.
In fact, the “group” was responding very normally. ( Normal means some good and some not so good. ) Most of the crowd could just overlook a random off-color remark or comment. They would not take it personally. I did not see or hear anything directed specifically to or about her. However, she would automatically take all comments as personal attacks. No matter what was actually said, she would take everything as very negative and thus labeled “male students” as all being alike. With that attitude is there any question that male relationships may be difficult for her? However, this girl went beyond just walking away with a hurt feeling, she would tell everyone of this hateful experience. No wonder unkind feedback at that point may single her out.
Our last post about false memories holding you captive comes into play. Please take the time to read or reread it.
What people do not understand is the social pain is real , just like physical pain. There has been a lot of research that documents that both are processed by the same parts of the brain. Besides it has been discovered that the medial prefrontal region of the brain allows others to influence you and your behavior – We are wired to connect. This mechanism is what helps us fit in as we adapt others beliefs as our own, but in the case of those experiencing mental torment. If you self-isolate or become standoffish this normal type of relationship building does not happen.
In fact taking this a step further :
What you expose yourself to things you see and hear including negative self-talk, influences how you see the world. The normal bonding process is interrupted. Your prefrontal region of the brain may be identifying with your “altered self” the one that keeps you in bondage of anxiety, depression, and social isolation. Remember this self-processing area of your brain can be influenced by your social environment including social media. I.e. if you are a part of groups for those to share stories of their panic and anxiety issues, that might be influencing on how you interrupt your environment. Just an added note with the rise of texting where no eye contact is made, social skills become lacking. The new social media oriented group futher isolates us not just physically. People, more frequently, used to go out and be helpful to friends and the community doing things together. No wonder volunteerism is on the decline.
It is said that when you suffer from a mental illness or mental torment of any kind, that label feeds into many areas of your life and one of those areas is loneliness. You always feel excluded from a group. Even if you are standing there smiling. Even for the general public, that is not uncommon! My mind often drifts, and on occasion where thoughts from the past resurface. Thoughts that could lead me to a path of speculation and isolation…
“ I just put those thoughts in their place immediately – That was then and this is now.”
Note the word perceived in this statement.
loneliness is defined by people’s levels of satisfaction with their connectedness, or their perceived social isolation
What can we do about it? Start to reconnect by volunteerism, reaching out to others and helping those in need!
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