Laura’s thoughts on loneliness

With this years Mental Health Awareness Week theme being loneliness, I reached out to our volunteer community correspondents and asked them to share their thoughts. Read on for Laura’s blog post where she discusses loneliness, connection, and being at peace with yourself.

I have always had a lot of thoughts on loneliness. I can finally say, that as I’ve grown older and worked hard in recovering and managing the harder parts of my Mental Health, I have finally managed to figure out what feeling lonely is for myself. I can’t speak for others because I believe it’s an individual thing, often private to that person. I hate that shame seems to stick to loneliness like chewing gum under a desk, firmly on there, waiting for someone to come along and knock it off.

It’s also a very emotional and deeply personal feeling, and I believe that loneliness often comes with feelings of rejection. Yet it is so important to make connections, despite our fears of being rejected. The yearning for connection makes us human.

I’ve often felt my happiest on my own; I am my own navigator. This isn’t always ideal, because when you’re battling poor mental health, anxiety, depression – or any other labels we give ourselves – oh boy, that inner critic comes out to sabotage you. My independent nature often causes me to be extra harsh on myself, and fills me with self-doubt. Writing this made me laugh because I’m remembering some of these very moments! We have all been there!

I’ve had deep connections with people online that I’ve never even met, and shallow connections with people that I’ve known for years who don’t even know the real me. My three dogs are my soul connectors, and so is my camera. I also find great peace when I’m in my garden; it helps me no end at this period in my life. Growing things, picking salad, tending to herb boxes for my community to use; all of these things have helped with my social anxiety through some of the worst times of my life.

So, when I feel lonely, I focus on growing through my garden and attracting the right attention with nature. I think about planting the future with new ideas and leaning on past mistakes to help support better decisions; tweaking the environments to flourish. As long as I connect, it doesn’t matter if it’s with a person, a dog, or with nature. As long as you are at peace, you won’t feel lonely. Enjoy yourself, love yourself, stop people-pleasing, be at one with what gives you joy, hope, laughter and even tears. Just be You; it is allowed.

So the hashtag, #I’veBeenThere started by the Mental Health Foundation for Mental Health Awareness week is something I can completely understand. Be honest to yourself. Give your mind and your gut a chance and give yourself permission to be vulnerable.  Get over the starting line but go slow if needed, find your pace, but no matter what, keep going.

Next week we’ll be sharing the results of the Instagram polls and question boxes that we posted to hear your thoughts on loneliness. If you’re interested in writing something for the blog, please get in touch by emailing or message us on social media. Click this link to read the Mental Health Foundation’s tips to combat loneliness.

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