How do you slip into solitude? Why is it difficult to talk about it? Loneliness has many faces, but rarely a voice – and yet every third person in Switzerland feels lonely. So why not just listen.
RB * – «Missed by life»
“I slipped into loneliness because I never really dealt with it. Because loneliness is something that only affects others. As part of a large group of mates, you’ll party Thursday through Saturday and lie somewhere in the sun on Sundays. Nothing is further from the fear of loneliness.
But before you know it, the entire circle of colleagues is married. Homes are built, families are founded. Even in a relationship, I saw this with some indifference. We lived our “double income with no kids”, everything was great. Until the relationship broke up and suddenly I found myself alone.
Of course: the peer group is still there, and you can also stay in touch intimately. But people only gather for beer between Tuesday and Thursday. Weekends belong to the family. holidays anyway. You will not be better yourself.
Maybe I’m a bit introverted – maybe it’s a requirement of loneliness. But I am fully capable of being a nice talker. I look in the mirror and think: I may not be twenty years old anymore, but I do not look like something the cat has charmed home from the rain.
I’m the classic guy who gets asked, “Why are you single?” Well, because somewhere along the road in life I missed a crossroads that everyone took and now I’m lost on the road.
The hardest time is summer. It does not appear at any other time of the year how important a healthy social environment is. And how out of the ordinary when you don’t have to.
Imagine an entire summer in lockdown: you can’t barbecue with co-workers or float down the river together in a boat. No aperitif until the mild evening, no open air cinema, no festival. This is how lonely people live the greatest time of the year.
But the worst are the holidays. Thousands of things you’d like to do – but not alone come to mind. My highlight of the past few weeks: I let a plane ticket to London expire because I suddenly had a dread of feeling lonely in the big city.
Only one person can stand by our side. Middle-aged, in optimum health and a decent job. Well dressed, friendly, smiling, and elegant in appearance. He will never admit how he feels and that every day off can be emotional agony.
And even if doubt crept into us, we dare not speak to him about it. “Have you ever felt lonely?” I’m afraid the embarrassing question of STDs is easier on our lips. Because loneliness simply has no place in our society.”
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CL * – «I do not have enough energy for visits»
“I suffer from various physical and mental illnesses and therefore became disabled in 2018. The loss of my part-time job at a Swiss clinic group caused further instability and finally pushed me into social isolation.
I suffer from pain and inner emptiness of loneliness. Although my dad and sister are always by my side, which I really appreciate, I often feel lonely because I live alone and have no one to talk to on a regular basis.
My health issues usually make it impossible for me to let go of my four walls, for example go for a walk. Nature will be a tremendous source of strength for me, but due to illness I cannot use it as much as I need to.
Of course, sports activities that have a positive impact on well-being are also excluded. I keep in touch with my (few) friends via WhatsApp. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough energy for visits, and they themselves are understandably too absorbed in communicating a lot.
In addition to loneliness, the feeling of failure personally torments me.
After all, I am at the age (born in 1985) when the daily life of the majority is determined or filled with work and/or family life. I can also understand when the people around me distance themselves from fatigue and don’t react to messages.
I find it very difficult to break out of the spiral of loneliness and regression caused by depression and despair. Social isolation also worsens health, which in turn leads to further withdrawal.
But I try to enjoy the small moments of happiness and appreciate those treasures that I can enjoy sometimes despite everything: an exciting read, a beautiful song, an inspiring program or the rare moments in the wonderful nature.
However, the pain of loneliness remains and fuels doubts about myself and the meaning of my existence (which only generates costs, but brings no benefit to society), which weighs heavily on me.
In addition to loneliness, I am tormented by a sense of failure personally and failure in life’s challenges, even though I have been able to grow under very positive circumstances. I’m more ashamed of this failure than of the fact that I feel lonely.”
MH * – “I don’t like myself”
“I am 22 years old and I moved from the countryside to Berlin a year ago to study. I’m free, I live in a condo and had a lot of fun. Now I’m still having fun, but I feel lonelier than ever. There is also acne, insomnia and loss of appetite.
My three roommates know each other from school. Someone celebrated her birthday in our apartment. She invited all her friends. I sat with them, but they actually ignored me, if not on purpose.
I was the driving force behind choosing gifts for two of my roommates. On my third birthday I contracted coronavirus but I wrote a birthday card. None of them gave me anything for my birthday. The roommate I wrote the card to didn’t even congratulate me.
Many people in Berlin are cruel.
I always thought we were doing well. You should never expect anything in return from people, you will be much happier. But I’m not happy. My best friend forgot my birthday. One of my close friends did, too, and the first man I could imagine as a husband made a mistake, too.
At night I lie on my bed and listen to my roommates sleeping with their friends. The love of my life left me. Many people in Berlin are cruel. You are interchangeable. You get shadowed and ghost yourself, especially after a one night stand. People hurt me and I hurt people. It continues like this. I love the person who does not love me and vice versa. Few think so.
Indeed, I should go to therapy, but I have no place in any practice. And if they do, then only within months of applying and waiting. However, I have a good friend here in Berlin.
We were in the same situation. Same old, new in town, new in uni. I love you so much. You didn’t forget my birthday. I hear sentences like: “Give Berlin time, you will find your people, do not sleep with them immediately.” I don’t know what to say anymore.
I don’t like myself I don’t mean outward appearances. I think I’m really pretty. But I don’t take care of myself because I clearly hate myself. A lot of things in my life were different from most people my age.
I often feel like I’m being blamed for my sadness and loneliness.
I know I’m very young, but I hate people asking me to relax and be thankful for everything I have. I often feel like I’m being blamed for my sadness and loneliness.
One of my close friends who also forgot my birthday has not replied to me on WhatsApp for several months. She didn’t want to listen to my six-minute voicemail. She didn’t even give me a gift for my birthday. Why is my situation to blame? Why do I always have to learn, see and accept everything?
However, a little attention like a birthday present makes me forget my fears for a little while. Little things like a missing birthday present or a WhatsApp message that has not been answered for a long time can make you feel lonely. I’m afraid no one will believe me. I don’t want to fight for attention anymore. I don’t want to cry in the bathroom anymore.”
What helps with loneliness? This is what a psychologist advises
Do you sometimes feel lonely? Here are four tips from Stephanie Carrier, psychologist and expert on Instagram’s SRF format “Me, Myself and Why.”
- catch the reason To address loneliness, it is helpful to first get to its roots: What exactly makes you feel lonely?
- Get out of the vicious circle Loneliness affects our perception. We often only realize what makes us feel lonely and interpret our social interactions accordingly. This exacerbates the feeling of loneliness more and more. Your point of view is always only one way to explain a situation. Knowing this helps to recognize the vicious circle – and break out of it.
- talk about it Talk about how you feel, ask for help and company. Many people feel lonely at times. You’re not alone.
- Self-efficacy Loneliness attacks our sense of self-efficacy. It helps when we realize we can do something about loneliness ourselves. Volunteer, connect on social media, ask for (professional) support – and much more.
* Known name of editors.
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