Richard Oliff - More than one solution for loneliness

Richard Oliff
Richard Oliff

There are many sides to living on one’s own and just as many reasons for so doing.

There are those who choose it as a way of life that gives them total freedom without the ‘interference’ or influence from others, which is perfectly commendable.

Yet ‘alone’ and ‘loneliness’ are quite different things. Some people have the latter thrust upon them through no fault or choosing of their own. Bereavement and divorce are the obvious culprits than can leave one feeling isolated, particularly if there are no young adult children from any previous relationship to tender support.

Of course, there are friends or other remote family members who can offer comfort, but, literally, at the end of the day, when the doors need locking, one of the loneliest prospects is the climb upstairs to the bedroom alone.

Animals have proved to be a great comfort to the lonely – another ‘being’ around one’s home that requires just enough attention to ease the silence. Dogs are particularly good, as they require the owner to get out of the house for a couple of brisk walks a day.

Hobbies, evening classes, clubs, and societies: these are some of the obvious groups of ‘new’ people out there, and, remember, they need you as much as you need them. Mind you, perhaps after a hard day’s work, walking a pet, cooking, and all with one eye on the ironing, housework or shopping list, one’s energy levels may be just a tad too low to learn about pottery at a Thursday evening class.

I’ve experienced enforced loneliness, divorce and bereavement, and fully empathise with anyone going through the same. When two older people decide there is no alternative to separation, it can lead to one partner who will not find a new life with another person.

That’s not all. It’s the panic attacks and waves of desperation: even failure. It’s the loss of income, which in some cases can be quite extreme. One also loses that other person who was so familiar with your personal quirks.

Yet all is not lost. I found it most helpful to ‘open up’ to my GP, who was then able to recommend various agencies or professionals.

The advent of social media on the internet can be an amazing resource for bringing the ‘real’ you back into the world, where you might just find that you are certainly not alone in being alone.

I recently came across an excellent website that you might find useful

It certainly worked for me.