Human connections, the ties we have with others, can be a huge factor in our happiness. I believe there are different types of loneliness. They usually affect us at different times in our lives and in different situations.
Being alone doesn’t always mean one is lonely, but aloneness can bring on loneliness. This happened to me on Easter Day in 1976. I was living by myself in a foreign country. I didn’t know that on Easter the buses didn’t run, the restaurants and theaters closed, and people stayed home with family or went some place with family and friends. I had no way to travel to my friends’ homes, and I had no family there. Being by myself for a whole day with no one to talk to left a lasting impression. I might as well have been locked in solitary confinement and will never forget the emptiness and despair I felt.
Another type of loneliness is related. One moves to a new city, starts a new job, or attends a new school. He or she don’t know anyone. For those people who have a hard time making new friends, this aloneness can last too long.
Losing a loved one, whether it is a temporary loss when the person is away or whether a loved one is permanently gone because of death, can be devastating. If the missing person is a spouse or a close loved one such as a child, the ensuing trauma can lead to depression and other types of emotional illness.
Being different can cause loneliness. Perhaps one finds himself in a culture he does not understand, and he feels no one understands him. Our religious beliefs and practices, our dress, our career, and our likes and interests can set us apart from others and make it hard for us to connect.
Illness, physical disabilities, and mental illness can cause people to shun those who are afflicted. Nursing homes and hospitals are filled with patients who cannot get out or who do not have the ability to connect with others.
My new book Finding Her Heart, which will be released September 13, 2018, deals with loneliness. Allison’s school diagnoses her with Asperger’s Syndrome, a disability that inhibits social growth and making friends. She struggles to overcome her loneliness and find someone to love.
If you want to know more about kinds of loneliness, here are some links for your reading.
“7 Types of Loneliness, and Why It Matters” by Gretchin Rubin
“Types of Loneliness”