Emotional Loneliness: 5 Things to Do When Nobody Understands You | The Health Sessions

Emotional Loneliness: 5 Things to Do When Nobody Understands You

You can be in a room full of people and still feel incredibly lonely. No one really sees you, hears what you’re trying to say, or understands what you’re going through. When you feel this way, what can you do?

People often think that loneliness and being alone are the same thing. But that’s not necessarily true. You can be on your own and have a great time, curled up on the couch with a good book, playing the piano or taking yourself on an artist date. If you’re introverted, you probably even need alone time to recharge.

That’s why loneliness isn’t so much a state of solitude as it is about feeling alone, while you crave human connection. That emptiness can be caused by having a limited social network, with little (close) family and friends to talk to and spend time with. But there’s a second kind of loneliness that’s often overlooked: emotional loneliness.

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10 Cozy Ideas to Cope with Social Isolation | The Health Sessions

10 Cozy Ideas to Cope with Social Isolation

When you’re living with chronic illness, you’re probably no stranger to social isolation. Lasting health problems often force us to limit our work and social life, and spend a lot of time at home instead.

But this year is different, even for us. Inviting people over may be restricted, or a risk you’re not willing to take. And going outside can be even more challenging than before.

So what can you do to get through this period of social isolation? Obviously, a lot depends on your living situation, if you have housemates and your health condition. But here are some ideas to get cozy at home this Fall and Winter.

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In Sickness and In Health: How to Keep Love Alive When You’re Chronically Ill

Love

“If I lay here, if I just lay here,

would you lie with me and just forget the world?”

— Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol

Love can be complicated under the easiest circumstances — let alone when chronic illness comes into play. 

When “in sickness and in health” becomes your daily reality instead of a promise you once made, it can put a serious strain on your relationship. And if you’re single, dating and finding a loving partner might feel totally undoable if you’re dealing with debilitating symptoms, unpredictable flare-ups and an uncertain future.

This article from The Atlantic eloquently describes the kind of dilemmas and obstacles chronically ill people face in their love life. Because, how do you even meet a potential partner when you’re housebound and struggling to do the simplest things? When do you tell your date about your health issues, fearing you might scare them off? How do you adjust to a new way of life when you or your spouse become severely ill with little chance of a full recovery?

Love in times of chronic illness requires open communication, understanding and a willingness to make it work from both parties. And even then it can be challenging. But with the right partner, love can also carry you through the toughest times.

So how can you keep love alive in the midst of hospital visits, a rollercoaster of emotions and all kinds of practical problems? I don’t have all the answers, but this is what I know:

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How to Overcome Summertime Loneliness | The Health Sessions

How to Overcome Summertime Loneliness

“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? 

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