Can we feel lonely and isolated with people around?

Can we feel lonely and isolated with people around?

In the months of being cooped up at home, mental health professionals predicted an increase in the number of cases of domestic violence, loneliness, and depression. In Singapore, it looks like these predictions have turned up true, with many counselling centres receiving sustained increase in the number of calls from people seeking counselling. Other areas of concern include financial worries, and anxiety about an unstable or unknown future.

Loneliness is a topic that is less talked about during this period, likely because people are at home with their family. However, feelings of isolation and loneliness should not be dismissed as these feelings can exist even when other people are present. It is often something that is assumed that loneliness only applies to people who are physically alone. The reality is, people can and do feel isolated and lonely, regardless of the number of people around.

During a country-wide lock down for months, we have to accept that people will feel intensely lonely.

This can apply to family members who have not seen each other for months. For example, grandparents and their grandchildren, or close relatives who have not been able to see each other for a while. Especially in a place like Singapore where grandparents often play a big and integral part of raising their grandchildren, this may be very difficult for the grandparents and the grandchildren to bear.

The elderly who live alone and now have no visitors or relatives able to come visit them. They may also have a group of friends they are now unable to meet.

Young couples also may be struggling. The distancing rules and lock downs have essentially turned romantic relationships into long-distance relationships. These long-distance relationships can be very difficult to maintain even over the short term as couples are unable to see each other. This doesn’t mean long-distance relationships can’t work; it just makes it difficult, with the couples feeling lonely in their physical separation.

The technologies that allows us to talk to each other and see each other remotely are fantastic, but they can’t replace real physical interaction. It can’t replicate how we share our emotions with each other. It can’t replace the physical touch of a hug or a reassuring hand. It is this inability to share with those we feel most close to that can make this lock down so difficult. Many people may feel lost, detached, and ultimately lonely, and they may not even know why they feel that way.

Join us at College of Allied Educators to learn more about how you can deal with trauma, conquer loneliness, and discover how you can help yourself overcome doubts, fears, disagreements, and challenges in order to build a happier, more meaningful life.

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