Every year on July 11th in the United States of America, ‘Cheer Up The Lonely’ day is celebrated. It’s main aims are to reach out to those who have suffered with grief through a loss, health issues or financial reasons just to share some love because at the end of the day, an act of kindness can go a long way and make a huge difference to that person. A man named Francis Pesek created this wonderful, thoughtful day and the idea came to him through thinking about those who were either lonely, forgotten or kept in nursing homes.
Personally, I only have one real experience of being lonely. My ‘friends’ abandoned me when I was in Year 8 of High School and made new friends with one of my sworn bullies. At this point in my life, I couldn’t have felt more lonely. I felt depressed, like no one could stand to be around me. It’s being in a room full of people but it wouldn’t matter if you were even there because nothing would change if you left or stayed. It almost felt consuming, like I wasn’t alone as ironic as that sounds but I knew that I was, it was just the darkness closing in. I was in a really dark place; there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel, no saving grace, just myself and my mind which can be a dangerous place in itself the majority of the time. It was heart-wrenching, I hated every second and right now, I think about how other people might feel in that position, how they might not have any family or any friends and are alone constantly, 24 hours a day, staring aimlessly at blank walls or repeating activities previously done because they’re bored. Loneliness is a terrifying thing.
I currently work in a nursing home and I can’t possibly tell you how many residents I have spoken to and they have told me they felt lonely. Yes, they have activities played with them everyday and they have all the staff coming in and out of their rooms on an hourly basis but where were their family everyday? Or old friends? Majority of them had passed away or their remaining family wanted nothing to do with them and that is a SAD reality. Will all of our lives just end up with us staying constantly in this one room in a big building of which can we really call home? We haven’t lived there for our previous years so, will it ever be as important as our structured homes that we once built from scratch from every wage packet that we earned and saved to have what we wanted when we turned 65? It’s a question that lingers in my mind constantly. One resident once said to me, “I didn’t earn a living and get my dream house for me to only live in it a few years to be brought here and to be confined to this one room for the rest of my living life, is this how it’s going to be now?” and I can honestly say my heart broke, I don’t think anyone realises how much of a struggle it is for a resident who has so much pride and self-respect for them to be diminished into this person who has to be constantly looked after 24/7 and can’t possibly do anything for themselves, it must be awful.
I cannot give you much advice about battling loneliness apart from probably saying to you, open up and talk to some new people; it might be scary at first but it can also be very rewarding, you could end up with a new found friendship at the end of it. Also, think about joining some clubs if you are at a younger age or maybe at University and you’re feeling this way. Joining clubs will allow you to meet people who have the same interests as you, it can be incredible bonding with someone knowing that you have things in common. Just try and be as extroverted as you possibly can, loneliness can be much more of a struggle if you’re constantly sat in a dark room, on your own thinking about anything and everything, if you go out just for a walk, it will be a great positive to start with.
Now for those who don’t necessarily need advice but just want to know ways on how to just deal with or prevent loneliness; you can try and follow these tips:
Loneliness can be one thing many people have to go through on a day to day basis or it can be very temporary, but it is definitely something that nobody enjoys. It can affect young and old and can be damaging to our mental, physical and emotional health for those that suffer with it. This day aims to spread awareness about the effects of loneliness and advises those who have the time to go and spread some joy to people they may know who could need cheering up. If you know someone who could be feeling this way, go and check on them, send them a text message, go and visit them or send them a present, just anything that could make them smile. It would make their day, I promise you.
If YOU are feeling this way, call these numbers or visit these websites. They offer help and support to people who are suffering like you.
All the love,
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.