Loneliness – a very modern phenomenon

loneliness depression counselling totnes, paignton and newton abbot
So I’ve been thinking about loneliness and isolation this week. And it’s odd how, posting this article to my blog, tweeting about it and ensuring it appears on social media, seems a very current practice, of trying to connect with others. But it’s also one that lacks connection.

I know there will be readers of this posting and who knows, maybe a few likes or retweet if I’m lucky. And yes I’m grateful for people reading what I write, taking an interesting and sharing. But I’m also aware it’s a lonely activity, a reaching out of sorts but also not really a deep contact with others.

And looking at Twitter, Facebook, the internet as a whole, I wonder about its power both to connect and distance at the same time. In sharing intimacies, we are in some way also avoiding intimacy – it can feel safer to post a thought or a feeling rather than share that more deeply with someone we are close to.

I’m not knocking these tools and technologies. I understand and appreciate their place in the world including mine but I’m also fearful of their impact on me and those around me. How easy it is to grab the phone to look at the latest tweets rather than share what’s going on with those around.

When we stay with our experience, whatever it is, often my sense is that a fear of being alone, a fear of abandonment, comes up and drives and conditions a lot of acting out behaviour, whether it’s compulsive or avoidant behaviour. We are social animals, no doubt, and both crave and need the support and safety of others at different times in our lives. However, in being held by that deep fear of being alone, we can end up chasing contact with others in whatever forms feels immediate. It’s form of soothing perhaps, or avoidance. I think it can be both.

So this post isn’t an attack on all we are and our technology mediated world. But it’s an observation of what I see happening in my life and those whom I meet through my work. Perhaps then, a plea to self and others. Take the time to look up, away from the screen and gadgets, and meet this wondrous world face on.

As a final word, if you are feeling alienated or distant in this connected world, counselling might be helpful as a way to start to reconnect. If you’d like to explore that further, please do get in touch.

Photo by Alice Popkorn licensed under Creative Commons

By Matt Fox – www.mattfoxcounselling.co.uk Totnes, Paignton and Newton Abbott