You know how it is no fun to go on holiday on your own? Or eat out alone?
I was listening to a talk on the radio yesterday while driving back from a doctor’s appointment. The talk was with a psychologist, and it was about loneliness.
I heard some very interesting things, but mainly how important shared experiences are to humans. Tests have proven that sharing something intensifies the joy. Or the sadness, depending on the experience.
It has also been proven, that people who have nearly no interaction with others, can easily slip into sadness, then depression, and they can even become psychotic!
That is why so many people are unhappy in a marriage, but they cannot pinpoint the source of the unhappiness. It is because often there are no points of real, deep contact between spouses. They can superficially chat about their work, or maintenance that needs to be done on the house, but they cannot talk about ‘real’ things, things that matter to them. (you know- ‘he just doesn’t care’ or ‘she doesn’t get me’) She is not able to talk about her fear of something happening to her children, because he just mocks her and tells her to ‘get over it’. He does not realize that it is actually a deep seated fear, that she cannot dismiss. He doesn’t talk to her about his fear of his business going under, because he is supposed to be the provider. All they ever talk about, IF they talk, is fluffy stuff… Fortunately, the psychologist said, that if it is important to both of them, this sharing of issues that really matter to them, can be learnt.
People who live on their own, are of course more prone to depression and worse. They are often awkward communicators anyway, and have very little to no contact with people, especially on a deeper level. Humans need validation from others, they need shared experiences. He suggested that if you are in that situation, living on your own, that you make it a mission to join a club of some kind. A book club, stamp collectors, a model airplane club, whatever rocks your boat – join a club where you can at the very least talk about something that matters to you, or that you have an interest in – it is important for your mental well -being.
I am often alone, and it is not always easy for me, but mostly I prefer being on my own to being forced to make idle chit-chat. Still, I can feel when it gets to be too much for me, and I try my best to then make some contact with others. I’ve gone to movies on my own, I’ve gone on holiday on my own, I’ve even (often) eaten out on my own, but it is never as enjoyable as when you do it with someone, if you share your experience with someone else.
Don’t let yourself fall into a deep, dark hole of depression – go out and find a group where you can be part of ‘something’. It will make all the difference.
Until next time, stay healthy, stay happy. 🙂