Today is the 14th of February. For some people this day is celebrated as Valentine’s Day, a day where we tell or show significant people in our lives what they mean to us. That does not have to be a romantic love, it can be any expression of emotions and connection.
Not everybody celebrates or recognises this day, which includes me. I do want to take this moment to wish happy Valentine’s Day to those who are celebrating. But what I want to talk about is mental health and those who may be feeling low on this day. Whilst I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day, I am very familiar from my past experiences of what loneliness can feel like.
Loneliness can affect anyone at any time. We often equate loneliness with an individual being physically on their own. That is a situation that can be depressing, and overtime can cause a severe impact to our mental health. Loneliness can hit as hard in other ways too. one thing we talk about less is loneliness in a crowd it can be possible to be surrounded with by people and feel lonely and forgotten. This situation can be very difficult to deal with as visually it may appear you are not alone, yet inside you may have a feeling of deep despair.
Personally, I feel these situations make it important to focus on our social wellbeing. To feel alone in a group of people who are supposed to be our friends does not feel like a great situation to have in life. I do remember those times of being on a night out, there were large groups of people present, yet all I wanted to do was escape. Sitting at the table ignored, my presence only there so the ringleader of the group could feel happy about the volume of people they have surrounding them. That is not friendship, that is a very lonely situation. It’s also very toxic when you put up with judgement and homophobic remarks from these people as well, that is not friendship. I raise this personal experience just to highlight how important it is to focus on social wellbeing. to me to feel less alone cutting this group of people out made me feel so much happier and a lot less lonely, even though I physically see less people and a social capacity.
Loneliness has a huge impact on our mental health, but it doesn’t always just come in the definition of being physically alone. Even the pandemic has changed our definitions of loneliness. Lockdown forced us to be physically separated, and for some people who live alone that was devastating. There are arguments that the pandemic has led to a further epidemic in the loneliness in the United Kingdom. Some peoples struggle with loneliness has come through their difficulty in adapting to the social impact off this pandemic.
I do not claim to have the answers here, I’m writing this because it is Valentine’s Day and there is a significant risk that some people could feel particularly lonely on this day. I could write this blog on any day of the year, particular Christmas Day, loneliness can hit at any time.
There is lots of support available. Please do reach out, do not suffer alone.
Finally, for today I just want to highlight a couple of links for like to loneliness and mental health: