“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.” – Mother Theresa
When you think of loneliness, a bright and sunny day is probably not the first scenario that comes to mind. Long, dark winter nights seem to represent those hollow feelings inside so much better.
And yet, summer time can be a lonely season for anyone who’s not able to fully participate in the festivities during these months, like the chronically ill. Family and friends are away on vacation and caregiving facilities can be closed down for summer or short on staff. This makes getting out and about and socializing even more challenging than usual if you have limited mobility.
And it’s not just about literally being alone and not having someone to talk to and hang out with. Loneliness also refers to feeling alone, like nobody understands what you’re going through. Like Carl Jung said, “loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you“. When you have a chronic or invisible illness, being lonely is often a combination of the two, a cruel mix of social isolation and not feeling heard. Because for the people in your life it can be hard to understand why you may not be able to do seemingly relaxing things like spending a day at the beach.
And during summer, the gorgeous weather and ecstatic Facebook updates about festivals, BBQ’s and exotic holiday destinations only seem to rub your nose in the fact that you’re stuck at home, not being able to join in on the fun.
So how can you deal with loneliness?