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Loneliness - does Mental Health cause it?

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Rose19602

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I was chatting to someone about the root of some problems he's having. From what he said he sounded insecure, angry, isolated and unable to reach out....and I assumed it was a mental health issue at first....

....but at the root of it was loneliness and finding himself in a situation with no friends or family around.

Mental health problems cause social isolation due to stigma and fear of stigma...we know that. But does loneliness cause mental health problems too?

Do you feel lonely, and is your MH problem the cause or the result do you think?

Could we do with a loneliness campaign, like the elderly, or is stigma the main issue in combatting loneliness?

Interested in your experiences and points of view.....
 
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pepecat

pepecat

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I'd say so - that lonliness causes mental health issues, I mean.

I think it contributed a lot to my situation. I woudn't have called it lonliness at the time, but I think that's what it was / is.
 
R

Rose19602

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Thanks Pepecat.

I suppose it depends when it occurs.

Social isolation because you get ostracised when diagnosed with a stigmatised condition.
Shyness/Social anxiety causing you to avoid social situations and then becoming lonely
Isolating as part of depression causing loneliness
Feeling empty and alone inside and being unable to connect with others

There are probably loads more.

Does anyone have anything in their area that helps or targets loneliness?
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

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First of, yes it's very important that loneliness in the elderly is highlighted and more is done to help.

However, it has always puzzled me that more hasn't been done to raise awareness of loneliness in the rest of the population.. especially those of us with MH issues.

Personally i'd say it's a bit of a catch-22 situation with me. Mental health has made me lonely, the loneliness makes my mental health worse.
I think at the very core of me is a belief that i'll always be a loner and will never belong to anywhere or with anyone. I don't see that as liberating, I find that very depressing.:(

It's odd, people often tell me how independent I am. I wish they'd realise it's not a choice and that actually, I feel terribly alone.

To be honest, I think loneliness is getting worse for all people.
When you do actually spend time with someone, they're more interested in looking at their phone.
It's a societal problem. Just my two pence worth.
 
LORD BURT

LORD BURT

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I think loneliness can cause Mental Health Issues.

What the heck do I know anyway1!!?? I don't get paid 60 k by the nhs.
 
R

Rose19602

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However, it has always puzzled me that more hasn't been done to raise awareness of loneliness in the rest of the population.. especially those of us with MH issues.
Thanks SS for your post.
I agree with you that it IS very important to highlight loneliness in the elderly as so many people are left alone or widowed in later years and this in itself must be a hard transition to make.

But YES, I also agree that loneliness is something that affects so many other sectors of society, especially the mental health sector, where so many aspects of the conditions cause loneliness or isolation.

I've got used to being lonely over the last few years. It's self imposed in my case and an easier choice than putting myself out there again. I don't think it's caused any further mental illness, and I would consider myself as having been "in recovery" during much of this period, but it was very hard initially to "opt out" and decide that my immediate family was enough for me. It's felt easier though and enough.

When I first had MH problems I was at home as a new mum....that was isolating and that change from career girl to a stay at home mum with no one but newborn babies to speak to represented a major change for me and I felt very alone.

I think it feels worse to need help and to feel that no one can help. That's a particular type of loneliness that not everyone understands.
 
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firemonkee57

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I think it is possible to be socially isolated without always feeling lonely . I am on my own 98-99% of the time but don't always feel lonely. However there are times when I do feel lonely. The ideal is to step easily from being by yourself time to being with others time. It's when you have little control over it that problems can arise.
I certainly find being on my own can result in emptiness and boredom and time spent with family results in lowered anxiety and raised mood.
For me the social isolation that leads to bouts of loneliness stems from chronic problems with social interaction and forming friendships . Over 58 years I could count 3D friends on one hand. The paranoia and social anxiety as a result of bullying for being physically and socially awkward only serves to complicate and worsen matters further.
A lot of people with SMI have social problems leading to isolation and loneliness but IMO it's seen as a lesser problem to delusions/hallucinations/ and feeling suicidal . Certainly there's little or no help for the poor social skills that impair social interaction and that can result in being responded to in a way that triggers paranoia and social anxiety. It can and does become a vicious circle.
 
R

Rose19602

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That sounds entirely logical Firemonkee and I can see how it would become a vicious circle.

I suppose medicating the positive effects of mental illness is the easy part...as you identify, dealing with social anxiety is another thing! It requires sustained effort, manpower, budgets, travel and long term support. That's expensive and let's face it, once medicated...even if suffering negative symptoms....you are quiet, at home and not visible. That's easy to ignore isn't it?

I read recently that the negative symptom of schizophrenia are the hardest one to deal with and also the least targeted. Obviously loneliness isn't a negative symptom but it is certainly one of the consequences of negative symptoms and the social anxiety you mention.

I've recently looked into support groups in my area....they're all a bit patronising for MH. I was left feeling as if they were aimed at people with a learning disability rather than a MH problem.

There seem to be a lot of intelligent people on here with SMI with voices that want to be heard. Do you think that more stimulating activities would be welcomed and would draw people out more?

Just wondering because I was going to join a group and help out.
 
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firemonkee57

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I think re groups for MH a big problem is manpower and budgetary constraints. To cater across the board from the more intelligent types that frequent forums such as this to those with marked cognitive issues would be difficult. In the end a compromise is pitching things to cater for as many people as possible.
Of course I agree that the system should be able to cater for the full range of patients.
I think maybe the only way forward is for people like you MissKitty to fill the gap re catering for patients who are intelligent and who want more than mainstream groups provide.
Though how the necessary funding would be provided is a serious question.
 
R

Rose19602

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I've been invited to help out with a group of people with SMI (chronic/ long term).
It's constitutes days out, coffee mornings, a choir, gardening and something else I forget what.
They are funded and also have a space on the committee. I'm not a committee type, but might accept once I've met the group.

It just sounds a bit patronising. Gardening, chat and choir sounds OK....but the way the organiser spoke about them concerned me a bit. What's your experience Firemonkee. You're an intelligent man, what would you like to see on offer?

I've not been to one of these groups before so don't know what to expect.
I'll let you know what happens.
 
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firemonkee57

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I personally would like things like discussion groups on politics/world affairs etc and quizzes, creative workshops(for those with creative leanings), things that acknowledge that those with MI are thinking people too.
I think peer lead co-operatives should be promoted more as a means of filling the provision gap.
 
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poorashell

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just catching up with this thread. agree with summersetscorpio. catch 22 what came first the chicken or the egg. loneliness or mental health problems...
 
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