I spent many years in loneliness, and I found it much more excruciating than the massive infections that attacked my legs between 1993 and 2009. I was longing for something...someone...completion....I am not sure, exactly. My faith was some help and consolation, but it was my loneliness which hurt my immune system more than any other problem.

I did develop coping skills, and habits, which passed the time and kept my mind off of my troubles. But now that I have passed through "The Valley of the Shadow of Death" (Psalm 23, of course), I see now that my real illness was loneliness.

Why do you suppose that loneliness takes such a toll? And knowing that it does, why are we not more supportive of those who are lonely?

Blessings, Jai

asked 18 Aug '11, 08:36

Jaianniah's gravatar image


Because I am an introspective, contemplative person, I enjoy spending a lot of time alone, and in fact, need that to charge my batteries! Time alone with the dogs sometimes is very nice for me, and after a few busy days is much needed.

Even so, I enjoy social interations as well, and as you mentioned, it is necessary for the well-being of most of us. I think different people need different amounts of socialization. An OK amount for some people is not enough for others. An introvert will need much less company and activities than an extrovert. Some will feel lonely after a day or two in the house and that doesn't bother others in the least.

Loneliness takes a toll because we need contrast, stimulation, approval, interaction, conversation and more. We like to feel we have contributed to the happiness of others, even if it is just a courtesy in the grocery store, or a small favor to a child. Even isolated animals will exhibit a lot of stress after awhile. It is simply not our normal state for many complex reasons.

Thankfully there are many opportunities to socialize for most of us: time with family, the contact we have with others in stores, banks, and in our neighborhoods. We can do volunteer work, we can be friendly at work, we can join clubs, go to health clubs, go to churches, synagogues and mosques if we like, we can join political committees and on and on. The list is endless. So for *emphasized text*most of us there is no need to be lonely unless we choose to be.

And perhaps that is why we are not more supportive of the lonely. Perhaps we think they are that way by choice. Maybe we think the hand that is not reaching out is the hand that prefers to keep to itself.

When I was working in a nursing home (while a teenager in high school) though, I saw first hand how cruel people can be to the lonely. The people there were not there by choice, they were there due to advanced age or serious health issues. It was not their choice to be isolated. So many of them never had visits from family or friends, even on birthdays or holidays. Time passes very slowly for the people in such a facility. There are occasional activites, and sometimes a friendly person to talk to but largely it is loneliness and fear, pain. While I was working, we would sometimes need to call one of the families to give them some news or updates. Often they would say that they could not visit the nursing home because it was depressing to them. How selfish can you get? And there is your other answer. We don't reach out to the truly lonely because we are selfish and afraid their maladies may rub off on us, as if the "stink" of old age or illness may follow us home. Not a nice answer, but the true one I think! Sad, isn't it?


answered 18 Aug '11, 15:13

LeeAnn%201's gravatar image

LeeAnn 1

You just are not going to believe this, LeeAnn...I, too, worked as a CNA in a Nursing Home in between summers as a college student...And it was by far the saddest and worst job I ever held. To condense a long, sad story, one of the male residents wanted to give me his wedding ring because I saved his favorite chocolate-covered doughnuts for him each morning...It was a simple kindness, and he wanted to give up his most prized possession in exchange for what I did for him (He was NOT senile at all). Kinda says it all about life in Nursing Homes...I told my kids if they ever (more below)>>>>>>>>>

(18 Aug '11, 15:22) Jaianniah

put me in a home, I'd find a way to kill myself. I have been in many homes, and no matter how "nice" they look, they are filled with incredible psychic pain. I used to come home from work and have to sleep 12 hours immediately just to cope with it...I guess that might be something for me to ponder...is my fear of loneliness, in part, PTSD??? Thanks for the excellent and high-quality answer. +1+Blessings,>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(18 Aug '11, 15:26) Jaianniah

Poor guy! I think your phrase "filled with incredible psychic pain" is exactly right. And you are not alone in your fear that you could end up that way someday. After working in a place like that, it is hard to not be filled with your impressions of suffering.

(18 Aug '11, 15:46) LeeAnn 1

Yes, I have discovered that people fear helping those in pain and lonely because they fear it will rub off on them. The funny thing is, I used be always helping people, cooking, cleaning, fixing, babysitting, driving, etc... Whatever the need, I filled it. Then I got in an accident and got injured. Do you think those people helped me? NO! I don't believe that their bad experiences rubbed off on me, I just think there were lessons to be learned. I put my faith in Jesus, not in man. I am always disappointed when I expect things from people. One of the lessons I learned, was to be careful

(18 Aug '11, 19:57) Fairy Princess

what you ask, because you might not like the answer. While I was busy being all things to all people, I noticed that I was alone in doing this. I wondered why these holier than thou, Jesus name Christians weren't helping people. Well, I got my answer.

(18 Aug '11, 19:59) Fairy Princess

I know what you mean Fairy Princess, and I'm sorry to hear that you were not helped in return; I would have been disappointed as well. We like to think that what goes around, will also come around, but sometimes it doesn't seem to work that way, at least that we can see.

(18 Aug '11, 20:19) LeeAnn 1

I, too, have always gone out of my way to help...with all the wrong motives, I see now...i helped because i wanted people to like me...bad idea...they USED me up! Now i have learned not to help unless specifically ASKED!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(28 Aug '11, 17:39) Jaianniah
showing 2 of 7 show 5 more comments

If only all knew that we are never alone. I had the same problem a few years ago until a friend said isn't it sad that we come into this world alone and whenever we have problems we feel alone and than at death we have to go through it alone.

My friend was wrong as my intuition told me that we are never alone. We all of us on this planet are interconected with one another and with everything else. The moment I figured that out my lonelines wanished and I felt reborn. I knew that God resided within me and when you walk with God you never walk alone.

Yes human relationships are very important and it has been proven that people who have a social circle, no matter if they be friends or family, live longer. It is even more important that you realize what you carry within you for than you never again need to feel lonliness.

The reason some people shun the lonly and especialy lonly old souls is that 98% of their conversation is allways about their illness or operation or some misfortune and allways in such a negative way. It is mostly negative people that are avoided for when one leaves them it takes quiet a while to feel positive and normal again. Not all can handle such negativety.

The jolly old or young are never lonly for they attract people to them like flies to huny and they make people feel good and positive for a while afterwards.

There is a golden nuget of wisdom there. If you dont want to be lonly be Jolly and smile and be happy for than you shall never be without human contact and kindness. You get what you give remember.


answered 18 Aug '11, 21:48

Paulina%201's gravatar image

Paulina 1

very wise answer, my dear!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(28 Aug '11, 17:40) Jaianniah

Loneliness is a self inflected condition that we create it into our life, based upon our own self deception. Since we create our own destiny, then we are the ones that create loneliness, and pain into our life and loneliness is a part of self punishment, and the feeling of feeling undeserving. It is only you who can correct this loneliness, and pain, by changing your behavior, and your cognition.


answered 19 Aug '11, 03:30

Inactive%20User's gravatar image

Inactive User ♦♦

true, also!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(28 Aug '11, 17:41) Jaianniah

ask one who has renounced the world. he will nvr feel lonely. so loneliness itelf is nothing. there is a huge difference in being alone n being lonely. we all r alone, bt we may or may nt be lonely. loneliness hurts to those with weak minds, like the majority of ppl (including me). so the real problem is not in loneliness, bt in not being able to control our emotions. gain a considerate amount of control over ur mind, n loneliness will amuse u, coz only the strong can derive the fruits that loneliness offers. the rest will virtually die.


answered 28 Aug '11, 17:28

abhishek%20mishra's gravatar image

abhishek mishra

A great answer, again!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(28 Aug '11, 17:42) Jaianniah

thanx again... thannxxx.... plz tell me one thing.. if i have replied to a question, n if sm1 else replies to my reply, how will i know.. coz rite now i just chek manually... is there some kinda notification??

(28 Aug '11, 17:45) abhishek mishra
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Asked: 18 Aug '11, 08:36

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Last updated: 28 Aug '11, 17:28

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