Read This When You’re Feeling Lonely (Even If You’re Not Alone)

Relationships can be lonely.

The weight of loneliness crushing your chest might be much greater when you are with someone than when you are alone. A lack of communication. Feeling unheard, unseen. Boundaries being ignored. Perhaps it arises out of the fear of sharing the truth of who you are with your partner. Perhaps it creeps up on you because, honestly, you don’t know who you are. Perhaps your belief that you should not feel this way in a relationship leads you to pretend, fuelling the performance that keeps you locked in the vicious cycle of loneliness.

Depression is lonely.

You could be standing in a room filled with the people you love the most in the world, but depression makes you feel so alienated that they still feel out of reach, like a mirage. Perhaps you feel so numb that you struggle to feel connected. Perhaps the lies that depression tells you make you feel unworthy of connection.

Anxiety is lonely.

Much like depression, anxiety can starve you of the connection you crave. The noise in your head is so loud that nothing else can penetrate it. The constant worry so exhausting that you have no energy to sip from the juices that keep loneliness at bay. Anxiety can trick you into believing you are lonely for so long that it takes over your body and you become it.

Solitude is just an arbitrary state that can sometimes bring about these things that feed loneliness. It is not the primary ingredient, nor does it even have to be an ingredient at all.

Right now, many of us will be feeling lonely. For many, forced solitude will have led to deficiencies that allow loneliness to grow, like an absence of in-person contact—humans crave more than words behind a screen. More than disembodied voices through tinny laptop speakers. I have felt it myself. Pangs of loneliness seem to hit me out of nowhere and they leave me crying out for human connection and touch. This is just a part of being human. You are not failing in your solitude if you feel this way. You should not have to feel like you are doing it wrong, that you’re too codependent, not mindful enough. Many feel lonely even though they are isolated with others. All experiences of loneliness are valid.

When loneliness comes knocking at your door, remember that you are not alone in feeling lonely. The beauty of being human is that we share in emotions. Whatever you are feeling, someone else is feeling it too, right this very second. Perhaps we can also take comfort in the fact that feelings are temporary. No feeling lasts forever.

About the author

Megan Preston Elliott

Queer poet / sculptor / writer based in London @meganprestonelliott