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Loneliness is difficult to deal with

The last few days we are hearing a lot about loneliness.

What is loneliness?

Loneliness can be described as sadness because one has no friends or company, which can lead to feeling of depression and isolation. These feelings can have a serious effect on mental and physical health. We can be surrounded by people all day but still feel sad and lonely, we may not connect with the people around us for many different reasons: personalities, lack of self confidence, relationship breakdown, recently loss or bereavements.

Social Media

There’s a lot of debate about how social media is playing a role in feelings of isolation and loneliness. We can connect 24/7 now a days with people no matter where they are in the world via Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp, Snapchat, the list goes on. We have never being more connected and yet further disconnected from the world. We don’t have to speak to people we can hit an emoji and let people know what we think on their post. We can send a text message and not hear someone’s voice when having a conversation. Or we can send a voice message without actually dialling the person’s number. All easy ways of not actually talking to someone.

Then there’s the art of conversation. Recently I heard a story of a teenager who wanted to ring her friend but the friends phone was broken. It was suggested that the teenager ring the landline (yes they do still exist in some houses) at which they were horrified. Their dilemma was “What if the friend didn’t answer the phone, what would they do?” Yes they were worried that they would have to speak to somebody other that the friend like a parent or sibling. This got me thinking remember the time when you would have to dial a number, that you knew off by heart and wait to see who answered the phone. If it wasn’t who you wanted, you would have to make small talk to buy you some time and not appear rude. You would then politely ask for your friend.  Again this could bring up a two situations- one they were at home and you could speak to them or two they weren’t there so again you would have to converse with the person on the other end of the phone.

Yes the art of small talk is dying out, thanks to social media.

Health Issues

There has been a lot of coverage on the radio about the removal of Versatis pain relief patches from the medical card and drugs payment scheme. It is very difficult listening to people speak about how their lives are going to change due to this action. People spoke about the relief they got from the medication, how they had tried some many other forms of pain relief medication with very poor if not no relief at all. Some described how the alternative medications caused digestive issues, constipation, mood swings, in ability to function and other side effects.

One theme I felt was highlighted during these debates was the people could function with the proper pain relief, They would go to work, have full mobility, look after themselves, go out and be sociable. They were not sitting in their houses, remaining sedentary because to move would cause them more pain, having to rely on other to care for them which can lead to a different set of problems.

What does the future hold for these people? Loneliness, social, isolation, depression, reduced quality of life, more pain, increased cost to the health service and again the list could go on.

This s only one example of how health issues can lead to isolation and loneliness.

Where to now?

So we all know that we can spend too much time on social media. Its a habit we need to break and with all habits it going to be tough. try limit your time using your phones, tablets or iPads. If we can do this we are also showing good example to the younger generation that life does exist away from technology. By the way this is a habit I’m trying to change myself so I better take note.

Try talking to people when you’re out an about. Recently I asked a lady at the checkout in Penney’s how she was and she nearly fell of her chair. She told me that she got a shock that someone would ask her how she is. We had a little chat about how she was gong to spend her afternoon as she finished work in half an hour. She thanked me for enquiring about her and her day and said that it made her feel happy that someone took the time to speak to her (all in the time it took for her to scan my purchases, tap the card and put some stuff in a bag). Have to say it did feel nice, speaking to her and knowing that I brightened her day and she did the same to me. So few words can make the difference

We keep hearing this go outside, breathe in the fresh air, feel the breeze on your face and do some exercise. This doesn’t have to be anything to strenuous, a walk can be enough. Sure tomorrow you can go a little faster and a little longer. Any form of exercise is go not only for the body but for the mind. And you never know who you could meet along the way.

What to do if you feel lonely :

Don’t be ashamed we can all feel lonely at times but sometimes this can linger and if it does it can be harder to say we feel isolated and down.

Talk to someone, like a relative, friend or work colleague.

Get some exercise and fresh air.

Take up a hobby or join a class or group.

Reduce your time on social media.

Ring somebody, honestly you will feel better afterwards.

Start a conversation with someone.

Contact a support service or helpline here are some


The Samaritians:
Free phone: 116 123
Text: 087 260 9090
Aware (Depression & Anxiety)
1980 303 302
National Suicide Helpline (Pieta House)
1800 247 247
Irish Advocacy Network (Peer advocacy in mental health)
01 872 8684
Pieta House (Suicide & self-harm)
01 623 5606
IACP (Counselling & Psychotherapy)
01 230 3536
Shine: (Supporting people effected by mental ill health)
01 860 1620




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