So Lonely it Hurts

Loneliness is excruciating. Agonizing. Tortuous.

 

It would have to be one of the leading stimulants of depression, anxiety and a great number of other mental health struggles.

 

What is it about loneliness that is so painful? Why is it so hard to live with? Why is the burden of emotional isolation so crushing? And why is it that the more ‘connected’ we become with ‘friends’ on social media – or even in real life at times – the more solitary we feel?

 

For so many people today, isolation is the new norm. Our reservoirs of trust in the goodness of humanity are at an all-time low… and we feel the need to push people away to protect ourselves. We have exposed ourselves emotionally so many times… and been hurt beyond what words can describe.

 

Loneliness is rampant. On every hand, individuals are struggling to come to terms with feeling ignored, unappreciated, overlooked, despised and forgotten about.

 

We crave connection… we yearn affection… and we long for a warm cuddle with someone special. We just want to hear someone say ‘I love you!’ with all the sincerity they can muster.

 

Maybe there are many people in your life you can point to with assurance and say ‘I know for sure that they appreciate me and love me’. Perhaps you have a loving family… beautiful friends… and a loyal partner?

 

And yet…

 

You are slowly dying of loneliness. Your heart is atrophying and wasting away. In spite of your assets, your accomplishments, your house, your connections or any other material possession great or small, you feel that your life is losing meaning. Your energy is ebbing away.

 

‘Is life worth living?’ you ask yourself.

‘How much longer can I endure this torment and unrest before it finally overwhelms me completely?’ you muse negatively.

‘If only there was medication I could take to cure my great loneliness’ you ponder desperately.

 

The hollow emptiness that prevails in your life drives you to distraction.

 

Wait, did someone say distraction?

 

Oh, yes… that’s right. In our efforts to mitigate and appease the pain of loneliness, our minds turn to distractions to run from the anguish, to numb the distressing pangs of misery, to muffle the dull heavy thudding of an empty heart and to assuage the distressing ache of unrequited love.

 

Distractions. What do they do for us? What do they look like in real life?

 

Trashy reality TV… and binging on tacky TV shows for hours on end. Incessantly checking alerts on your phone. Days of morbid inactivity spent gaming online. Compulsively ingesting alcohol and drugs to dull your sensibilities. Scouring dating websites in an effort to find the love of your life. Consuming a vitriolic and turgid torrent of porn. Chronic internet browsing and lazy YouTube surfing. Clicking an endless tide of links directing you to life changing articles on the ‘5 cool tricks to be a millionaire by 30’ and ‘3 easy strategies to guarantee success in your life’, or ‘Take this pill and lose 20 pounds in 20 days’ blah, blah, blah…

 

Meh.

 

So what is the solution? What is the alternative to turning to distractions? Are we doomed to live a life of desolate solitude?

 

No!

The greatest antidote to loneliness is love and everything that stems from love: affection, kindness, happiness, compassion, peace, joy and patience. Any and every positive emotion, feeling and experience ultimately comes from love.

 

Think of your heart like a sponge. It is the body’s natural organ for dispensing and absorbing love. It gives us the means to foster and maintain a healthy buffer of ardour and passion which helps to avert us from being overwhelmed with the negativity all around.

 

What happens to a wet sponge in the process of time? Moisture evaporates and it dries out. Thus it is with the heart. We cannot let our hearts and affections lie dormant and hope that they will remain infused and brimming with love and energy. We must keep them constantly exposed to the gushing brook of good deeds, to the healing balm of pure motives and to the gentle dew of kind thoughts.

 

Now imagine our heart ‘sponge’ is dry, and we turn to distractions to alleviate the loneliness. Before very long our hearts are palpitating with a thick gunge of negativity and lethargy and we feel even worse than before.

Or, instead of distractions, our mind ruminates furiously with musings of envy, bitterness, anxiety, animosity, prejudice, victimisation and self-pity. These thoughts have the same toxic effect on our hearts and leave us feeling emotionally destitute.

 

So… love. How do we get more of it? How do we keep our heart pulsing with the purity of true love?

 

Well, ‘love’ is a noun. But, wait… isn’t ‘love’ also a verb?! Yes! A doing word, a word involving movement, activity and action!

 

Love in operation is the surest way to ensure that we can consistently enjoy its healing and comforting balm in our lives. Love in operation means that we do loving things for others and think loving thoughts about others and say loving things where appropriate.

 

This, by necessity, includes a healthy love for ourselves. Which parts of our unique individuality can we look at with fond appreciation and affection? If you can find nothing then develop something within yourself that you can truly fall in love with. Achieve something, abstain from something or take action to get out of your vicious tailspin of failure and procrastination. Just do something that you can be proud of!

Something truly magnificent to consider is that love is its own motive!

 

Love negates selfishness, it dispels fears and calms troubled minds, it brings peace to the soul and overlays the path of life with happiness and joy; it inscribes a silver lining around clouds of disappointment and defeat and fills the lonely heart with comfort and contentment; it brings perspective to shattered dreams, healing to broken hearts and wisdom to the one confronted with exhausting unanswered questions.

 

May you, my friend, find true love in your life… and find that there is enough love to fill your heart to overflowing. May you see that love can be found and enjoyed in a greater way than you ever thought possible. True love never fails.

 

Cody has studied psychology and self-help strategies for many years and is very passionate about helping others to fulfill their potential and live happier lives. You can read more articles from Cody on his blog – www.quantumcoaching.nz/

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12 Comments

  • I’m very lonely too. Often, i cry at night but nobody knows how much pain I feel each day. I don’t feel connected to anything. I’m trying medication, but it’s only helping a little.

    • I know how you feel I have felt very alone at times the point where I felt as though my heart was breaking like there was an empty hole inside of me. There is some emotional support and the Maya people that care. I found this out for myself personally.in every Community there is a Kingdom Hall , it may not be right in your hometown but it will be in a nearby Town they’re everywhere. The people there are supportive not there to be your friend and you will find great support there. It’s easy enough to look up their number in the phone book or on your phone and go to one of their meetings step out of the blocks you will be surprised.

  • I will keep that close. I made a resolution to take care my health, well 3 healths. Health of the mind, the body and love life.

    I will try to take care of those before the end of the year, but if it has to go on in 2018, so be it.

    Thank you for sharing that with me.

  • That was a lovely message but does nothing to ease the indescribable pain, aching, gut wrenching sadness that is killing my every thought and will to live. How long can one remain alone unloved and desperate. It hurts every part of my body and I feel like I am going insane. AND all I want is someone to love and love me back. A companion for life. How can someone be as hated and rejected as me.does mercy not exist.

    • Words alone will never suffice to ease the pain my friend… they are only there to guide us and shed light on the path ahead, not do things for us. Keep safe… and I hope things get better for you soon

  • I dont love the way I feel. I hope this terrible feeling will go away
    Feeling so tired of life. It is slow death of a energetic perspn I used to be. It is better to die willingly .

  • What does painful loneliness actually feel like?

    For me the pain starts around the high part of the stomach, the solar plexus. At first it feels like I have been punched in the stomach, but I don’t lose my breath. There is just this intense radiating ACHE, whose tendrils of distress reach out from my stomach to my toes and to my head slowly, reach through my shoulders and down my arms. My entire body feels weak. The space I am in – in the middle of crowds or alone in a car – feels like it has grown much bigger- huge – like there are miles to get to a wall, while I feel like I am growing smaller. I want to reach out… I need to reach out, to talk to someone who knows me and loves me. Not having anyone I can call concentrates the isolation and it slams down over my body like ice water. The ache has not gone away though it has plateaued. I look around and see nobody, have nobody. The pain and the sense of total aloneness brings me to tears.

    Then, sometimes, the flashbacks start. I relive beatings, abuses and emotional embarrassments that have deeply scarred me. Sometimes this drives me into a panic attack where I cannot breath and I fall to the ground in the fetal position crying, holding tight trying to catch my breath. But other times it is just a prison door that has slammed shut and I know I will forever be hurting and of course alone.

    My mouth goes dry and it feels like I have little control of my feelings or my thoughts. All I can think about is getting away from the pain. I stand up and move around, but everything seems unreal. The air burns as it moves across my skin. “No one will ever love you” seems to echo all around me. The walls of course have not moved, I am no smaller and the room is no bigger than it was before the episode started. But its not over, the pain lasts for hours, but the emotional effects can last for days. Often I just want to sleep, to escape, and sometimes I do, for days. But there are times when I have to go to work.

    When I am having an episode of deep loneliness, work becomes difficult as my loneliness grows into depression. I am repeatedly told I am pessimistic and there are the occasional people that seem to become deeply angry at me because I am sad at what my life has become. Like it is something I can control. These people seem to come out of the woodwork sometimes and they bully and laugh at me, call me loser. So jobs lately have just dissolved before me. I used to have friends, and money and stuff. A real job… a career. Now I have a part time job that I have to call in everyday to see if they will use me. And though I worked there most of last year, they don’t have any room for me anymore.

    Most people have people who love them, care about them. Or they have people who depend on them, such as children, or even a job. I have no one and nothing. I owe no one any money, not even credit cards. I have no job that depends on me anymore. I have no money. I live in my car. Absolutely no one will shed a tear when I am gone. The only ones who will be bothered by my parting will be those whose job it is to clean up the body. But it IS their job, and everyone goes sometime.

    Actually people will be glad when I am gone. My car no longer parks in their neighborhoods overnight. I would no longer bother people when I look for work. I am old, sad, hurting, ugly and lonely. I am more of an annoyance I think, than a potential employee anymore. Once I am gone, I no longer will take up space that someone better than me can use.

    I digressed a bit from my description of what loneliness feels like. But it truly does hurt physically and for some of us, there is no solution.

    • Very detailed description though I tend to disagree about the nothing you can do. What have you done? What treatment have you gotten? Why are you living in the car- what list have you put yourself on for housing? If you have the car that moves from neighborhood to neighborhood and nobody at all there why not go to someplace that has work or resources, you are not stranded in a place without resources. You make a lot of choices everyday but you do not seem to understand choosing to do nothing is in fact a choice and based on your description not even necessarily the “easy choice”- just the one you have grown accustomed to. It is not your fault- I am not saying there is blame- but i am saying there are choices made and even if the choice is made because you “believe” it to be not worth trying the fact is it was a choice and since you have literally (by your description) nothing else going on there is no reason not to try other things other places, treatments, there is medication and professional help- you claim no income so there is medicaid, if is small part time incomes then there is ACA with supplements that pay for all including the deductibles and copays. Before you say I have no clue “what is really like” I have spent years and years working with hundreds of individuals that all have similar issues after recovering from the same place. It is always a fight to make them get help that is available and that they deserve. Yes it is mental health induced- no legally you cannot be forced to get help- but the point I will leave you with is it is in fact in large part choice- the choice of not acting, even if the issue is mental health that makes acting difficult if not impossible. You have a phone or computer and internet- there is help- if you spent the time searching for that and filling out the forms for help instead of explanations how bad life is in an attempt to justify ending your life then the pain would end. Always there is a claim that “I would do anything to make the pain end” but so often the reality is “doing nothing” instead.

  • I do not understand Love! I Love and end up getting friends misusing me and knocking at me when I am sad! And those I love do not Love me back. But family. I feel Love as a slavery and a game. Just a little mistake and everything fall appart! But it is becquse of Bells Palsy. What happen when a person with handicap Loves? I scream almost everyday! Just want to isolate and never see a person again!

  • I lost my partner 17 years ago and my son 4 years ago. I lost my job of 10 years 6 mos ago and had to move again 2 months ago. I have 3 cats 13 12& 7 years in age I have paperwork for the 7 year old cat that says I need her do to depressed, PTSD , and a few other things The only place I found to rent won’t let me have my cats my sister came and took the two older one with her but left Bella with me because she is an indoor kitty and we have never been apart except the hours I’m at work. The manager said I can’t have her with me even with Dr orders I keep to my self I could not bare anymore pain. But I’m becoming so sad I miss having Bella I get so lonely . I go and see her everyday she is at a lady’s house that I know. I feel hopeless the though of starting over again after I feel is pointless.

  • Cody thank you! I needed to read this. The heart is a sponge and if I don’t replenish it will stay dried up and brittle. I’ve been decades in therapy and have tried many medications, currently still looking for the magic one, but the side affects are more noticeable the older I get. But I do notice when I love myself and give where and when I want, that love fills my heart…. Temporarily. It can be empty before I realize. I’m hurting now, I just want a relationship, but I’m an energy vampire right now. I get needy and don’t have a full life. I wouldn’t want to be around me. The article says it. Love is a verb.

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