It is widely accepted that isolation and loneness can contribute negatively and significantly on well-being and mental health.
But What is isolation? We probably have heard the term “being alone in a crowd.”
We can know many people and lead productive and busy lives, yet there can be a sense of isolation and feeling alone for many of us. My family has experienced this both past and present. Both extended families live away, and this is now very small anyway. Our parents are in declining health and years, so effort is made to visit them, even though this is some distance.
Our friends juggle shifts and shopping with children like many others.We live in a rural village because of the non-troublesome, peaceful neighbourhood; so you could say some of this is self-inflicted.
However, never have I felt more alone than when I was diagnosed with reactive depression, at the age of 35. Left with a bottle of pills, a four yr old daughter and an empty house; while my husband worked all hours trying to make everything feel normal,the experience was a very lonely one.
I have worked all my life in a profession I love, and to my surprise the five weeks off work was a welcome break. What struck me most though was the phone that became silent overnight, as I was no longer useful to anybody. Neither work nor the next round of child care handout to a fellow working couple. You certainly find out who you friends are, only in-spite of me knowing a lot of people (I get along well with most), it appeared that I didn’t seem to have that many.
So instead of sitting around, I got out (with daughter) and visited the people who didn’t come to me, and helped out at a village event – the local church flower festival. Fortunately for me I improved quickly. I simply had no choice but to recover, as I felt under pressure to “get back in there” as I had a family to care for and responsibilities.
My husband and I talked about this time the other day, and in general the apathy of people when it comes to social get- togethers and contact. We asked the question why is British society becoming so reclusive, apathetic and socially lazy as we build our high fences,shut the door and turn on our TV or computer? I am not intending to criticise or judge people here, as we have been just at fault. But there does appear to be a general malaise in British society. Are we just too tired with over work? Surely you can’t blame the TV for everything!
So we have decided to set up our own environmental group -a cause dear to our heart. If people won’t come to us, then we have to go out and find them. Our aim is to create a social hub of activity and communication. Not work or rules, committees and minutes. Try to be a school recruiting PTA members and you will know how hard that one is!
Instead we just want some fun and a get together but with a glue of common interest to get people motivated. I will be posting how we get along in this new project, or not. At this point we have no idea how much interest this will generate. People promise things that sometimes they don’t deliver on.
However, being positive, we as a family have to make the change and see how are own isolation, as the winter months draw on, can be minimised. The hope is this project will give us all a chance to interact more with people, which we enjoy, see as fun and not all about responsibility and care.