Loneliness in 2017: the silent epidemic in young people

It’s 2017, a time when most of the planet are connected to each other in milliseconds. You literally can’t escape people, but I’ve never felt more lonely. It’s suffocating, and people are suffering in silence. It’s so easy, you don’t even realise it’s happening until it’s too late. But when you think loneliness, you always think elderly people, not young people.

Particularly recently, I’ve been withdrawing from society. Too be honest, there’s a million and one reasons why. Blame the MSc for a huge workload. Blame the new job. Blame EDS for the pain. Blame CFS/ME for the fatigue. Blame GAD for finding any gathering terrifying. Blame finding out that your officially have a hearing impairment. Blame that you’ve suddenly lost so much hearing in the last year alone that you now qualify for hearing aids. Blame having to suddenly accept that you’re no longer safe in a manual wheelchair, and that a powerchair is now the only option when you’re only 23 years old. Life is complicated, and everyone faces their own bespoke problems.

But I never predicted how all of those things would combine forces to destroy my social life. To destroy my connection with other human beings. I mean, with social media now these days, you can’s escape other people trying to make a connection, right?!?! We post the tiniest updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, waiting for the likes and the comments to roll in. Whether or not you want to admit it, that’s the truth. But I’m only 23, surely I can’t be lonely!?!?! That doesn’t happen to young people like me, does it?!?!!

Already, there have been a couple of studies which suggest that too much social media increases isolation – I’ll leave some links I’ve quickly found through Google at the bottom of this post. It’s not clear cut though, anything to do with mental wellbeing never is.

I know social media isn’t all bad, Twitter helped me find a whole community of people like me. People who understand what it’s like to struggle with demons buried in your brain. People who can empathise when you’re too unwell to have a shower. It’s an incredible family, I will always be grateful that I stumbled upon it (shout out to a certain individual who inspired me to start up a Twitter account). That level of constant support, it’s hard to come by in 2017.

But that’s not the same as going out for a brew with your friend and reminiscing about memories from years a go. It’s not the same as giving the gang a message and you all assembling in your local later that night. It’s not the same as an ad-hoc plan to meet people you haven’t seen in years because life got in the way.

But, how do you meet new people in real life? It’s a genuine question, because I don’t know the answer. How do people balance a social life with a job and a relationship, what’s this sorcery I’m apparently missing out on? I’m trying not to make this a woe-is-me post, but I don’t feel like I actually have many friends anymore. It’s brutal to type that out, but all my spare time seems to be spent resting at home, whether or not I actually want to be there. That’s a good thing for my chronic illnesses, but really not so good for my mental health.

I’m writing this in a rush, to hopefully vent out some feelings and make myself feel a bit better. I’m not really sure how to end. Essentially, my god, it’s 2017 people. No-one should feel lonely in this day and age. We all need to fess up that loneliness doesn’t just effect the elderly, that it can happen to young people too. And we need to talk about it, loneliness destroys lives. We should have moved past this as a social issue, we should have at least thought up a plan by now. A special shout out to The Jo Cox Foundation for trying to write that plan.

************

If you want to read all about it:

Too much social media ‘increases loneliness and envy’ – study

How social media is leading to loneliness for people in their 20s and 30s

Text or Talk: Is Technology Making You Lonely?

Loneliness: a silent plague that is hurting young people most

Young, successful, busy yet lonley: a generation empowered by the internet and plagued by loneliness

Why Loneliness Affects So Many Young People

The future of loneliness

7 out of 10 young people lonely – Dame Kelly Holmes Trust

We must confront the epidemic of youth loneliness

Not just a problem for old people: why the young are lonely too 

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Loneliness in 2017: the silent epidemic in young people

  1. I can totally relate to this. Social media gives us the illusion of a social life. When I realized that I didn’t have any friends at all anymore, because of my chronic illnesses, it was a huge wake up call. I haven’t had much progress on the making friends part, but being aware is the first step. It’s incredibly hard to keep and maintain friendships let alone start new ones when you’re struggling to survive. Hang in here ❤

    Like

    • Ahhh I had no idea I had any comments, this is exciting! Completely agree, once you realise it, well… there aren’t really words to describe it. I guess you just plod on. I honestly don’t know how I would cope without Twitter. I’m actually working on a little project to try and change things, but it’s grinded to a halt at the moment because I’m in the middle of Masters deadlines. But I’m always here if you ever fancy a natter 💜

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad this post has got some decent feedback, it was a bit of a stab in the dark to see if anyone else felt the same way! But I always try to be here for other people feeling the same way 💜

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s