Social Anxiety: Alone VS Lonely

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Despite the fact that the words ‘alone’ and ‘lonely’ both share the same four letters (lone) which pretty much give the words their meanings, they are two completely different things. The word alone means to be by yourself; to be in isolation. It literally means ‘all one’. Loneliness is actually a complex and unpleasant emotion that is brought about by isolation and this is what links the two. This is why shy people, socially anxious people, people with avoidant personality disorder and possibly borderline personality disorder are more prone to feel loneliness. a shy person may find it difficult to socialise, therefore resulting in a very limited number of relationships or no relationships at all. This can easily lead to isolation. People with AvPD and social anxiety hold themselves back in social situations due to anxiety however, they may long for more close relationships and again this leads to loneliness. For people with BPD the loneliness may be due to ‘unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.’ (DSM-IV-TR 2004 from http://bpdresourcecenter.org/DSM-IV.html)

However loneliness is not always felt when you are alone and you also do not need to actually be alone to feel this emotion. Here are three examples:

1. Being the weird little nut I am, I normally feel uncomfortable around loads of people. When I’m by myself and I see load of other people, I get this feeling of jealousy and I think  ‘Why am I by myself when everyone is with someone when I’m on my own? ‘ I start to question this and, hey, what do you know!, the negative thinking commences! Suddenly I’m lame, stupid, worthless, annoying and just plain unpleasant. Then comes the feeling loneliness to ice the cake and a little cherry depression and voila! LONELINESS.

2. I’m in the canteen eating lunch with the usual lunch gang and being the greedy little nut I am, I don’t talk and focus on eat (if not for reading/watch yaoi, writing and interneting, it would be my favourite past-time) So every one on the table is talk, and greedy Grace is nicking everyone’s chips while she’s leading the conversation and suddenly I feel like I’m invisible on the table and suddenly I’m shrouded by this cloak of loneliness and desperately wish for myself to finish my lunch quickly so Grace and I can go elsewhere. LONELINESS.

3. After a tiring day at school I come home and lock myself (I don’t really lock myself- I don’t have a lock- but you get what I mean) in my room and read some yaoi or whatever and although I’m all alone, the ghost of loneliness decides not to haunt me for the rest of the day. NOT LONELINESS.

So what you probably understood from that is that I’m a weird introverted person who feels lonely when I’m not alone, but lonely when I’m alone though sometimes that’s not the case. When I’m alone, I am sometimes visited by the ghost of loneliness and sometimes when out and about or in the canteen with the lunch gang (that’s what I’m gonna call them now), loneliness is the last thing on my mind.

Conclusion? I am weird. I am complicated, but aren’t we all? I can assure you, there is no one that I’ve met and known for even a short period of time and I can say that nothing about them (their personality) is weird. One day I saw this perfectly normal guy pass me on the street, but as soon as he was right beside me, he stretched out his hands and started singing! Yes, singing! He was weird. And so am I. And so are you.

This post isn’t about weirdness or complexity so I’m going to stop here before I get carried away. But just remember, if you feel lonely, you are not alone- I am lonely. We can be lonely together even if it’s for no apparent reason. What? Huh? I’m confused.

~EpicCupCake signing out.

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