I wasn’t sure, at first, if loneliness could be classified as an illness. If you stick by the definition of illness being “an unhealthy state of the body or mind” then you have your answer right there. To me, it doesn’t matter if it is self-inflicted or not, occurring in awareness or not… how can so many people be lonely? Is this the default state of human nature, or is it only a side effect of cognitive impairments? I’m not sure, but according to the University Medical Center in Amsterdam (UMCA), a growing body of studies find that loneliness itself can kill, typically by raising blood pressure and increasing risk for heart disease and stroke. They went on to distinguish that it isn’t loneliness that can kill, but it is how a person perceives his/or her situation that matters more. People can live alone and still have great affiliations with friends and family, while some people can live among several others but with no real connections.
You might find the irony in this interesting. My most viewed post on my whole Kristine Serendipity blog is the one titled “If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company” (I will have the link to it at the end of this post). The fact that a blog post featuring loneliness as a key element is the most commonly viewed on my page makes me a little bit weary, but I always love finding the irony in my majestic life. I think I just spotted another instance of it right there.
Millions of people experience this feeling, (or illness) which only serves to alienate oneself. Loneliness is a feeling, not necessarily a fact of your existence–especially if you decide you don’t want it to be. Perceived loneliness is associated with a 64% increased risk of developing Dementia according to UMCA, However, loneliness could also be the resulting collateral damage of a disease that has already been long underway. Additionally, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is also highly associated with feelings of loneliness and those who have it also have a greater risk of developing Dementia and other related illnesses later in life.
Those who are battling mental disorders likely get an extra special jolt of alienation than those without them. After all, they are already battling one disorder. Adding another illness on top of it can’t be easy. (Maybe it isn’t added on top, it may be another bad ingredient mixed all throughout.)
The way you regard your situation is crucial in battling the illness called Loneliness. However you look at it, this illness has struck everyone. Focusing on becoming a person who has a comfortable sense of his/her true self is better able to face external adversity than someone who always lets his/her life circumstances dictate feelings. While it is an unavoidable human condition that we are confronted with, we can also realize it as a great opportunity for self-awareness and truth; perhaps for some people, a little bit of loneliness is beneficial (introverts, can I hear you?) Try not to let your negatively perceived situations become the basis of your feelings because it can, expeditiously and needlessly, kill you. *Dramatic Pause*
I can’t think of a better reason to start becoming the type of person who can truly enjoy his or her own company.
My Initial Blog on Loneliness: https://kristineserendipity.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/if-you-are-lonely-when-you-are-alone-you-are-in-bad-company/
Additional Resource: http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/11/loneliness-not-living-alone-linked-to-dementia/
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