I have always struggled with loneliness. I enjoy being in the company of others yet at the same time, I love being alone.
There are various forms of loneliness. Sometimes people think being lonely only includes having no friends and being by yourself all the time. How about those who have friends yet still feel lonely? How about those who have many people surrounding them yet have no one to talk to?
Since coming to university, I have learnt how fragile my mental health is. I was not as strong as I thought I was and there were moments when I let the pressure get to me. To get through the stress and loneliness, I made myself very busy. I worked crazy hours every week (despite being a chemistry student), I tried doing everything; volunteering, studying, exercising and so much more. I had a problem though, I did not deal with the cause of my stress. I kept running away from my troubles and whenever I felt like I needed a break from it all, I would sleep.
Fast forward a couple of months later I was tired and stressed and lonely. Exams were looming and I was on the verge of having a breakdown. The worst feeling is having no one to talk to. I am aware the university runs many campaigns on mental health. However, none of them appealed to me as I felt like my situation was an anomaly. I was down, busy and lonely. Why was I lonely? I do not know. I am surrounded by many wonderful friends and family yet I could not find a single person to tell how I was feeling. That is when it occurred to me being lonely is a taboo.
People do not talk about being lonely because it is ‘weird’ it is ‘unacceptable’ by society. People think whenever you are lonely or depressed you can make it go away. They do not understand that loneliness is not something you can ‘snap’ out of. It is a process that requires time, love and patience. I realised the reason why I was lonely was because, despite having those few good friends, I was afraid. I did not want to open up to people. I believed that they would judge me for my loneliness. For being an anomaly. I was and still am afraid that friendship is not permanent. What is the point of getting attached to people knowing very well that in a couple of months/ years they will be gone? I discovered my mentality is ‘I would rather be alone than get hurt’. Unfortunately, chanting that sentence everyday has had negative effects on me.
Loneliness is something many of us are ashamed of. Nevertheless, today, I encourage you to break out of that shell and talk about your feelings and experiences with others. You do not have to be ashamed. Not because it is common but because you are special and everyone deals with loneliness differently.