Mental Health Awareness – Loneliness

Hi! My name is Louise, nice to meet you and this is something very close to my heart.

Q: Is this a blog, or a holding hand in cyberspace?

A: Both, please know that everything to follow is in sincere support of anyone that doesn’t feel the camaraderie.

I’ve been poorly with a heavy cold as I write this, but it’s something I simply cannot NOT write about. I’m here with my laptop with all the lovely herbal remedies to pull me through and the essence of the topic steadfast with who I am as a person. But mainly, wanting to be real to help others know that it’s ok to feel wonky at times.

I feel there are layered stages and forms to feeling lonely and for me… I’ve experienced many.

Even before I suffered from PSTD, I felt lonely a fair bit while I lived in Sydney (almost 15 years). I LOVED my job, I had/have lovely friends, but I would often go home to my apartment feeling unseen. I always showed up for people, as that was my job as a Fitness Coach. I had a solid base with my business, which felt like respect amongst my peers and clients… but there were times when I felt alone. I worked ridiculously hard on my career, but I didn’t realise I wasn’t allowing people to come in. People that had a deep care for me and wanted to show that. I’m 44 now and on reflection, pushed people away without having a clue until recent years. The irony is, I’ve always wanted nice people around me. I feel like this was me protecting myself. This is just my story though… someone that’s been through a lot and is able to reflect on my pain in general. Thank goodness I was brave enough to drop this and move forwards.

I’m a very bubbly person, I get on with most people and I had no reason to feel alone. Nik & Eva changed how I saw that. Thank you. I told them I’ll never stop pouring over how grateful I am for them. Seeing things through a different lens is mindblowing.

My last few years in Sydney were up and down and I reached a point where I was REALLY happy inside and out. GOLD! Life throws you a few curveballs, then it can feel like nobody understands. You may internalise for that reason. Hands up! I did!

There were times when I aimed to overachieve for acceptance and a whole host of other unhelpful reasons that didn’t pertain to my internal happiness, which can be isolating in itself depending on your environment. I’ve been a determined go-getter from being tiny… so having my outlook can be that little bit more ‘out there’ and in my eyes then… challenging. This came from feeling the need to connect a bit more, I’m sure of that.

I learned after nailing some lofty goals, that I missed having tea with my favourite Aunty over toast and Golden Syrup. The basics were poignant in that second, I realised we can get caught up in the things that don’t make our heart sing and human connection is there when we don’t overthink the lovely intrinsic feelings. We can give this to ourselves I believe. During Covid… I was my only cheerleader! Below, I’ll give you snippets on how I managed a ‘lonely’ time as we all felt it.

I now know that this has been a great gift to me! Please don’t ever question your worth or confusion… truly.

I went through a VERY difficult time after losing my little brother who died alone in his sleep after an epileptic seizure and myself, almost dying 3 weeks later… alone in Sydney with nobody next to me as I thought that was it. This triggered an incredible fear of being alone in such an intense way, I spiralled into complex PTSD (which was the catalyst) for my healing. I could not be alone in this state and this feeling led me to reach out to work through why this was happening. I was lonely and scared.

Why am I telling you this?

I want you to know that you can heal anything. We’ve all read rah-rah to motivate people… this is not rah-rah or woo woo… it’s me chatting in a non-formal way to hopefully incite some positive energy. As I type this, I still can’t believe I’m at the same device, in the same position, albeit I’m sitting up like a strong woman… I was lonely and confused then, now… 100% wanting to be vulnerable with anyone that I feel that my openness can help.

Prior to the healing work, I felt better being around others, for the most part, I didn’t use discernment correctly with my own space at times which made me feel I needed company… Now I ADORE being alone!

Enough about me… this is not about me at all… it’s trying to reach people from a place of compassion when you’re perhaps feeling somewhat lost. So many words can articulate this place and when you’re amongst it, maybe it feels like it’s all jumbled together. It’s ok… you’re not separate. I like to think about all of the people that I’ve continued to love and source insight from… they felt this way at some point too.

This is about us as a collective and how sharing is a beautiful way to move through tough times.

Feeling lonely is real for so many people and over my 20 years of being a Personal Trainer, I’ve seen even the most successful people on paper (or even as they present in person) need a simple cuppa and a hug. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken someone to the café for a bite to eat, a latte and a cuddle over a gym session I knew they didn’t need at that moment.

Taking care of my mental health for me is just like brushing my teeth. It’s something big or small daily and making a commitment to at the very least, tell someone I trust that I’m having a difficult day/time. The little daily routines are non-negotiable for me. It’s easy to let unlearned beliefs tap you on the shoulder. We don’t often know why they’re there, but that’s why trying to get to the bottom of why you’re feeling uncomfortable emotions can pinpoint these areas and guide how to heal. Some days I’m committed to completing the self-care work, some I squeeze time in for a bath. I appreciate not everyone can choose when it comes to time spent looking after oneself in this way. I just feel I’m at my best in terms of feeling hooked in when I’m taking care of Louise.

I don’t feel lonely these days, although I really miss my pets that are still in Sydney. Of course, I have rubbish days now and then, but that’s normal. I have my ‘go-to Crew’ to talk it out. “It’s good to talk”

That’s unbelievable for me! I actually look forward to getting home, shutting my door and enjoying ‘me’ time after a long day. Again… before therapy… that was utterly terrifying while I was at my worst with this. I was embarrassed.

Here’s what I find to have been monumental with my continuous growth and exploration after therapy:

  • Meditation – (took me a while to get into a groove and yes, I was resilient at first). This doesn’t need to look a specific way, but even a few minutes, when you’re able to, can incredibly change your energy!) Almost like plugging into an invisible socket and feeling super duper when you’re ready to head back to your day. Ace!
  • Get out in nature! – Sounds SO obvious, but how nice is it to not only just get out in the fresh air, but try wiggling your toes in the grass, feel it as you ground your feet, smell the air and remember that we’re not supposed to feel alone. There’s so much stuff going on around us and connections waiting to happen. Let that in, please. Just like pets that will be there regardless. People are too… perhaps soften and let them help you when you’re feeling not as strong as usual. 
  • Music/dance – This is my JAM! I lose this when I’m at a low ebb, so I make a commitment to myself to first up, play something that makes me move and smile… go with it and it’s not long before you feel connected. Word! You don’t need to be ‘good’ with any of this… that happy place knows exactly what to do. Get in touch with your own body as you move, it’s TOPS! Dance on your own if you want to. Even a little kick of the hip, a funky shimmy shimmy while you’re cooking dinner or tapping your foot as you enjoy beats. For me… I embrace having fun with this and trust that my brain will give me what I’m sending it… lightness with where I’m at. That’s me, but I feel confident saying personal movement, without worry works. Who cares how this pans out? Terrible pun! haha
  • Join a group – Yes, most of us have next level busy lives with our families and work commitments, so if an actual physical group is out of the question, how about a hobby or skill you’re interested in if that’s something you can manage around your schedule?
  • Exercise – Again, this can be a bit of a stumbling block by interfering with not having enough hours in the day, but you can always incorporate movement at home while you’re working through your chores etc. I promise, focused attention on getting that in, however that looks, can help you to feel so much better about YOU… which in turn can lead to wanting to share and connect with others. Hate changing the bedding? Why not crank your FAVE playlist and make it into a mini-workout. Feels good… moving is a great connector. 
  • Books/Audiobooks – Sounds counterintuitive, but diving into either of these can open up a lot of connections to others and of course, help elevate your own sense of value and want to pass on what you’ve learned. A game changer in my experience. No rules, just whatever you’re drawn to.
  • Use social media in a way that feels amazing to you – I have mine set up in a way that I love. I follow inspirational people that bring positivity to my day, I’m able to connect with my friends in Australia regularly and I spend my time in that area. There are folk doing sensational things in the world that genuinely care for others… I resonate so much with that engagement. I feel connected when I read content that aligns with being kind and supportive. Wonderful friendships can be formed when you’re coming from a good place.
  • Eat well – how does this fit in with loneliness? Fueling your body with good nutrition can have a huge impact on how you feel in general. Let’s say you’re having a really dark day… we all have them. Maybe you want to order a pizza, then hide away and retreat? Having lots of colours on your plate can have a significant effect on how you choose to move through that day. Hey, I love a bit of indulgence, but I think we know that we feel way better with our intention to be around others when we’re feeling content with showing up for ourselves. I talk like a Trainer, but I’m just like everyone else. I understand how our emotions can govern a decision that can make us feel ‘off grid’. Our bodies as a unit are so clever.
  • Journal – I find writing so powerful! This can be writing a letter of gratitude and appreciation, a letter to myself in a way where I highlight all of the things I’m proud of and love about me (this was tough at first by the way… SO tough. I get it), writing about the future and how it’s going to look in exactly the way you WANT… not currently how you’re feeling. I have notes up in places that I’ll see heaps each day to make me smile. Be playful! You’re awesome… we all are!
  • Write to, or compliment someone else and make them smile – Be bold and maybe drop in a nice thought to someone that means something to you. This could be someone that serves you in a shop. “I really like your hair” etc. Feel the warmth back… lubbly jubbly. Connection.
  • Give yourself permission to be held. Energetically I mean (physically even better, but we’re talking about feeling lonely). If you have someone you trust, share your loneliness. Chances are… they’ll tell you that they feel lonely at times, or even all the time too. What a gift to another to offer your authenticity that way. This is a magical way to realise that so many people are looking for a bond and desire to be noticed. We’re all doing our best here, we just don’t see it sometimes. 

So, my word count must be sitting at 3 million or so now, I could go on and on… but I won’t. That’s me all over, just like Tigger and an insatiable passion to steer people toward feeling gooooood. 

It’s a heartfelt moment that I simply had to write out over, as I’m someone that never thought I’d be happy again and needed to join with others in my own transparency to let the good stuff in.

You’re never alone and there is an abundance of loving, understanding, strong and selfless people everywhere.

Massive hugs to anyone struggling. There’s only one of you, how special is that.

Let people see that and be proud! 

You’ve got this ok! Community 🙌🏼

Louise ❤️

More Reading: https://traumaresearchuk.org/blog/loneliness/

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