On isolating, solitude and loneliness

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boomer47's picture
On isolating, solitude and loneliness

The following is more from a need to vent than from wanting to open a discussion:

Well,I've been isolating for two weeks.

Have HAD to go to the doctor's to pick up a script. Social distancing was strictly observed. HAD to go food shopping. I'm hoping for deliveries this week. HAD to go to the chemist to pick up meds.

Now, a tank of juice usually lasts me from 4 to 6 weeks. So, it's obvious I don't get out much. Even with total isolation for the virus I'm not all that more isolated than usual. Then why does it feel so awful?

The only thing I've been able to think of is this is a loss of independence and mobility. Much like I imagine being in an aged care facility will be like--and I would truly rather die than go into one of those places. I watched each of my parents die in care and it was awful.

If you live with as few as one other person, you may be isolated but you are not alone.

If you live alone: I have lived alone for 25 years. I won't bore you with my rationalisations.

For me , solitude is NOT the same thing as loneliness .Each is a state of mind based on one's perception of the now. I'm long accustomed to solitude, but I cant say truthfully that I have seldom been lonely, and seldom for long. In essence I have always chosen not to be lonely.(once I recognised that was what I was feeling )

It's a sad fact of life that within our culture, few people are able to accurately identify their feelings at any given moment. NO? Try it. .Actually write down what you are feeling in detail .

Finally, there are far worse things in life than being lonely--and THAT is from first hand experience..

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Whitefire13's picture
Cranky ...” solitude is NOT

Cranky ...” solitude is NOT the same thing as loneliness .”

Nope. It sure isn’t...I think it’s almost surreal that this is a global self isolation and that “feel” is penetrating. Too many don’t know how to be alone, let alone with their own thoughts. I prefer solitude ...

Wish I could help you with that “awful” feeling.

boomer47's picture
@White

@White

"Wish I could help you with that “awful” feeling.'

Very kind of you.----you just did

-It's not all of the time. Right now I'm feeling fine.

Just finished touching up a painting. (they are never truly finished) I'm just about to watch the end end of 'Unorthodox' on Netflix. Then for something for completely different, I'm going to teach myself how to draw Betty Boop, nude. The face is the easiest bit.

Tin-Man's picture
@Cranky Re: "It's a sad fact

@Cranky Re: "It's a sad fact of life that within our culture, few people are able to accurately identify their feelings at any given moment. NO? Try it. .Actually write down what you are feeling in detail ."

Gonna give that a shot real quick...

Interestingly enough, my lifestyle really has not changed in any significant way as of yet, despite all the public entertainment venues, dining facilities, and various shopping centers being closed statewide at the moment. For all practical purposes, my daily routine is pretty much the same as it has always been, as I have always been something of a "self-isolator" even before self-isolation was ever in vogue... *chuckle*... Nevertheless, there is a deep-seated pit of heavy sadness that has settled into my heart over the last few weeks since this whole virus thing started. It is an ever-present dull ache of mourning that wafts tauntingly around me like a very subtle foul odor that comes and goes with the swirling breeze in such a way that you cannot pinpoint from where it originates. And no matter how good the day has been, and no matter how fortunate I may feel that my family and I are in far better condition than most others in the congested urban areas, that faint smell of stench is always nearby should I turn my head at just the right angle at just the right moment. And it reminds me there are many things that are not well and that may never recover from this devastating sickness that has infected societies around the globe.

I go out in public now, and I SEE the fear and unease in people... I FEEL it, I SMELL it, I almost TASTE it. Yes, for the most part, many/most folks attempt to maintain an outward appearance of calm and polite friendliness. (That's just how we roll here in The South... *chuckle*...) But I know it is all a facade. For better or worse, I am very highly attuned to "reading/feeling" the overall "vibe" within different social settings. And those "vibes" I have been getting lately have been quite unnerving at times. And it causes a sadness in me. A growing, pulsating sadness of loss. The loss of freedom. The loss of trust and respect. The loss of carefree laughter and openly social interactions within groups of people as a whole. And even IF this virus is defeated and laid to rest so that it is no longer a threat, will we truly be allowed to fully retrieve those losses? Yes, our respective governments yammer on and on about how "temporary" these losses will be and how they are "working diligently" to get our lives back to "normal." Personally, though, I have zero "faith" in those individuals/groups/committees that have proven time and time again just how little they give a shit about those of us over whom they reign. And this is one of those times I really, really, really hope I am wrong, ladies and gentlemen. I truly, sincerely, wholeheartedly do hope I am very, very wrong. It would actually be a very happy day for me indeed when this all blows over if somebody would come up to me and tell me, "See? I TOLD YOU you were just overreacting." I would happily give that person a hug and cry with joy. For the moment, though, my doubts and nagging sadness do linger, always on the peripheral of my senses.

boomer47's picture
@Tin- man

@Tin- man

"@Cranky Re: "It's a sad fact of life that within our culture, few people are able to accurately identify their feelings at any given moment. NO? Try it. .Actually write down what you are feeling in detail .

Gonna give that a shot real quick..."

I'm terribly sorry for presenting what is really only part of various models based on some ideas about human consciousness.

It's worked for me, specifically within a therapeutic context .

However, I dare not be dogmatic. After all, I have serious reservations about Freud's model of consciousness, using his invented terms of Ego, Id , and Superego.I think his view is simplistic and misleading . That I think consciousness is far more likely to be a continuum, and either far simpler than Freud leads us to believe OR far more complex than we know. BUT this only my opinion, not a claim a for a discussion.

For your possible interest '"Singapore's Coronavirus Success" on how Singapore has successfully managed the virus.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdDpmAt3lxo&t=859s

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((9)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Oh, not a minor point: Singapore is not a democracy within our understanding of the term. It has been a one party state since it was founded, in 1965 . I was based there in1970 (army) The term 'police state' came to mind when I saw a couple of policemen cutting a boy's long hair ,on the street. There was (and is) a $500 fine for littering /spitting and chewing gum is banned . AND I not only loved living there her, but Singapore is the cleanest city I have seen, anywhere in the world. Their circle line rails system has to be seen to be believed. Not a mark of graffito there or anywhere else on the island. Of course, graffiti is seen as vandalism ,and taggers are arrested and beaten with rattan poles by court order. ==As an American teen ,Michael P Fay discovered in 1975. Singapore also frequently hangs drug smugglers . Has hanged at least two Aussies of whom I'm aware.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_P._Fay

Grinseed's picture
Thanks for sharing that

Thanks for sharing that Cranky. I understand your point about "identifying feelings at any given moment" and your differentiation between loneliness and solitude.

Because of my hearing loss I carry a sense of isolation with me. I don't make good company. When my deafness prevents me from following conversation my mind drifts to thoughts about history or science. I have acquired a harmless reputation of being a being a bit weird socially. However, the concept of being alone never occurs to me. I sometimes think I could survive solitary confinement. I live in my head and I believe my deafness has contributed to that. Enough whining self pity for now.

Loneliness is not necessarily determined by isolation. It can be a frame of mind, The most lonely and emotionally crippling experience I have ever had was in the midst of a huge jubilant crowd. The greatest desire I ever had to be alone was in the company of just one other person.

Anyway, hang in there Cranky, this Covid-19 shit has to end sometime. Keep occupied. As suggested in Spike Milligan's bizarre post apocalyptic movie, "The Bed Sitting Room", best to keep moving or you might turn into a parrot, or worse, furniture. Good advice anytime.

For those unfamiliar with Mr Milligan's movie.. and have the time to watch, which is most of you...

The Bed Sitting Room

(Spoiler: the movie doesn't have an unhappy ending, but its all just very weird and funny. The cast list is pretty remarkable.)

boomer47's picture
@Grinseed

@Grinseed

Good post, thank you.

I saw The Bed Sitting Room many years ago, I think --------

Are these memories right, or close enough----

There was 'the great nuclear misunderstanding ,which lasted 3.5 minutes, including signing if the peace treaty ----

The tube is still operating, by bicycle power----- Train stops, a bloke gets out, runs over to a vending machine and breaks in, takes goods, sprints back to train------there is a bloke inside the frame of a TV, giving theBBC news--------

Grinseed's picture
@ Cranky

@ Cranky
Spot on regards the movie. Nothing wrong with your memory old son. I last saw this 40 years ago and could only recall certain scenes before I watched the opening sequences last night. Its easy to see the surreal influence this movie had on later British comedy. I do miss Spike.

Whitefire13's picture
@ Grinseed...” of being...a

@ Grinseed...” of being...a bit weird ”

And modest, Grinseed...and modest (referencing “a bit”)

Grinseed's picture
@White

@White
You got me..comes from a sustained habit of making strengths out of weaknesses....I admit I have developed a taste for pushing the envelope....it goes with the manic grinning
: )

Cognostic's picture
@Cranky: My first thought

@Cranky: My first thought is that all this isolation must be extremely difficult for anyone with a bit of an extroverted personality. I am an introvert of the nth degree. I have no issue at all staying home 24/7 playing on the computer, practicing guitar, taking naps, texting a friend once in a while, and watching TV.

Here is what I know but only you can tell if it is applicable. Bodies are like batteries. The body of an introvert charges when he or she is alone. Introverts seek solitude to charge their batteries. When the batteries are sufficiently charged they may seek social interaction; however, social interaction is draining. An introvert will go to a party and have fun until they have had enough fun, feel drained, and want to go home.

Extroverts on the other hand, get their batteries charged by social interaction. Being alone drains their batteries. The extreme extrovert is the last guy to leave the party and he only does so because he has gotten a couple of his buddies to go out to a local pub and have another drink with him before going home. Extroverts charge their batteries when they are with people.

The feeling of being trapped or in a cage is very much an extroverts response to isolation. I am 100% on board with your distinction between solitude and loneliness. I can't remember the last time I was lonely.

Perhaps the forced solitude is just bringing out a desire for social contact. Here is the rub though. You are not in a cage. The solitude is not forced. You can go out if you want to. You have made the choice to remain as you are. You are actually in complete control. The solitude is not happening to you. You are doing the solitude.

dogalmighty's picture
@crankorama

@crankorama

The data shows that peoples with the co-morbidities of diabetes(slowed healing), respiratory issues(decreased volume re fluid, or tidal volume issues) and heart disease(inefficiencies that cause fluid retention) have now been evidenced as the main killers with folks suffering with the covid 19 pathogen. I personally would also add renal insufficiency stage 3 and 4 as well ,re the medication needed for edema reduction. I would self isolate and take extreme precautions during my isolation, until there is a widely available efficient vaccine. I would also ask my physician for some form of antidepressant. Isolation causes depressive issues...and loneliness is a symptom of depression...just saying.
I hope you continue doing well.

CyberLN's picture
Cranky, you wrote, “So, it's

Cranky, you wrote, “So, it's obvious I don't get out much. Even with total isolation for the virus I'm not all that more isolated than usual. Then why does it feel so awful?”

I’m not much more isolated either, for a couple of reasons. You ask why it feels so awful now? Perhaps it’s because the option to not do so has been robbed from us by a wee beastie that can sentence us to death if we don’t comply. Not having a choice is a shitty deal, even if we wouldn’t have exercised the action for which the choice was meant.

You’re not alone in every sense. Just one. As for the other ways, well, you have a lot of folks here with whom to whittle away the hours. :)

boomer47's picture
@thread

@thread

Good news today.

Major has decided to stop barking at the dog in the mirror. Right now he's sitting on my lap helping me type and ignoring the other dog.

---I have discovered I have FIVE functions in life; (1) throw ball on demand. Inside, outside, doesn't matter (2 ) Pats on demand (3) Feed regularly (4) keep dog warm in what I thought was MY bed (5) Take dog with me whenever I leave the house, even if only to check the mail. --He gets really upset when I say go to the shop.

Grinseed's picture
"Major has decided to stop

"Major has decided to stop barking at the dog in the mirror. Right now he's sitting on my lap helping me type and ignoring the other dog."

Good to see Major is following social distancing and limiting his company to two.

dogalmighty's picture
@crankaroo
boomer47's picture
@doG

@doG

Well, I guess 'Crankaroo' is better than 'the Crankster",but not much.

I prefer 'Cranky' if I have choice. I'm NOT known as 'Cranky' by family, but Grumpy or Grumblebum. I have a T shirt and everything. Also belong to two groups of similarly inclined blokes. Both groups sadly closed duetothefuckingvirus

dogalmighty's picture
Crankaroo - Kangaroo...in my

Crankaroo - Kangaroo...in my deranged mind, a down under poke.

Poke, poke.

boomer47's picture
@doG

@doG

"Crankaroo - Kangaroo...in my deranged mind, a down under poke."

Oh, now I understand. That must be an example of your wit. (or at least half of it)*** ;-}

***THAT is a lesser example of MY wit-------- Sarcasm is not high humour. Oscar Wilde was witty. Ricky Gervais ain't. He's just a sarcastic and very rich prat.

dogalmighty's picture
I C

I C

Sheldon's picture
@cranky47

@cranky47

Like you I don't generally feel lonely, even when alone, but have been self isolating for 14 days, and at times this has been hard. It's odd but I have also had to go to get my prescription and for shopping. Since my wife left without warning almost 12 months ago I have had to get used to living alone, which was not easy, but for me the hard part was always the idea I may now always be alone, and at 54 I have to admit other prospects seem unlikely. So regular contact with friends and family had become massively important, as had work. Both of which I have now had to avoid. I wish I had some sound advice here, but I fear they will be platitudes. Keep as active as you can, keep some contact with others where you can, and set time aside for things you can still enjoy.

Thank fuck for smartphones, and WhatsApp...I think in the UK we are looking at the infection rate peaking sometime around the end of April, it's a worrying time for everyone. I also spoke to a friend who is a consultant, and he tells me morbidity for those on ventilators currently is your age plus 5, so if I am unlucky enough to end up on a ventilator the odds are 59% that I will die....

I see no sense in worrying unduly, and of course the situation is fairly surreal, so just take care, and as many precautions as are practical. I am back in work on Monday, so be safe everyone.

dogalmighty's picture
Ugh. I thought your lungs

Ugh. I thought your lungs were on the mend?

Sheldon's picture
@ doG

@ doG

Yeah I'm a lot better, bit of a coughing fit usually in the morning or just before bed. I get that quite a lot after any cold or flu though.

boomer47's picture
@Sheldon

@Sheldon

I'm so sorry you have had to endure the anguish of a marriage ending,

ONE and only one serious word of advice: Ignore well meaning but insensitive people who try to tell you at any time that "You should be over it by now" or words to that effect. It takes as long as it takes.

Now, too old at 54? Hardly, unless that's what you want. . I was 43 when my marriage ended. At 54 I was still dating women from dating sites. I met some very interesting women. Also learned pretty much straight away that people on those sites often lie. Mostly about appearance; photos cannot be trusted.

My last serious relationship was in 2010-11. I was 63 at the time. A caveat; it is my experience that the pain of rejection does not diminish with age. Is it still worth it then? Absolutely. I guess there is still a bit of a romantic buried somewhere.

In the meantime; I don't know where you're at in accepting the end of your marriage. At 12 months a scab had not even formed over the wound for me.. It was three years before I had the desire and the confidence to be with another woman. I was 46, she was a 35 yo single mum.

Day at a time mate.

Oh, Social l contacts: I'm close to one of my 3 sibs. I email sis every morning so we each know the other is still alive. I exchange a voice mail each evening with a mate for the same reason. I also belong to two social groups, but they're both closed now.

Since the restrictions came into force,I've set up a Skype-like free app called 'Discord' and have video chats with my mate whenever we both feel like it.

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((9))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Don't know if you have the University Of The Third Age or Lifelong Learning Institutes where you live . If you do, I highly recommend their courses when things are back to normal . My local one runs about 100 classes, mainly running about 6 weeks, but some are permanent, such as the art group.

"The University of the Third Age is an international movement whose aims are the education and stimulation of mainly retired members of the community—those in their third 'age' of life. It is commonly referred to as U3A.

"There is no universally accepted model for the U3A. Its original conception in France as an extramural university activity was significantly modified in the United Kingdom where it was recognized that most people of retirement age have something to contribute and the emphasis has been on sharing, without formal links to traditional universities.

Many English-speaking countries have followed this geragogic model, whereas continental European countries have mostly followed the French model. For historical reasons, Lifelong learning institutes is the term used in the United States for organizations that are similar to U3A groups. "

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_the_Third_Age

Sheldon's picture
Hi cranky47,

Hi cranky47,

Thank you, what you said makes a lot of sense, and yes you're right, I have days when I am fine, and others when I get either that sense of panic, loss, or anger, sometimes all three. I try to move my mind onto other things, though it's not always easy as you know. The current situation is hard, but I am going back to work tomorrow. One day at a time, and try to focus on the positives is all I can do.

It doesn't help that my wife has still not finalised a financial demand, and the worst case scenario will see me back where I was 30 years ago, and I was 2 years or so away from retiring, that betrayal is hard to take, and of course I work in the aviation industry, so who knows if i will even have a job or be able to find work when when this is over. However at the moment if I and the people i care about are alive that has to be enough. I'll tackle the rest as it unfolds.

Anyway I've been cleaning and doing laundry all day so far, now cooking lunch. Take care everyone.

David Killens's picture
@ Sheldon

@ Sheldon

"I work in the aviation industry"

A very long time ago I was in the air force and was an "Aero Engine Tech".

403 was one of my babies.

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David Killens's picture
Yea, it is lonely. yesterday

Yea, it is lonely. yesterday when I was out walking my dog, I ran across a fellow dog-walker who I have had many conversations with. But this time(and it made me sad) was that the best we could do is wave to each other from a safe distance.

Although I can tolerate long periods of time away from anyone else, I do like to talk to others and socialize. It also pains me that this time of year I will spend at least two nights a week at my buddy's watching the hockey playoffs. It is those little things that remind me that I am isolated.

dogalmighty's picture
Ugh, sorry dude. We could

@david

Ugh, sorry dude. We could play chess or backgammon or something online if you want? I am playing chess with my brother presently. Also PS4 with a variety of addicted phreaks I know. I put several friends on my free all you can talk phone service...which has helped immensely...I talk to my cousin for hours each day...just having someone on the phone, helps a lot. Just saying.

David Killens's picture
@ doG

@ doG

Thank you for the empathy doG, but I was just moaning about my lack of face-to-face interaction. I have a lot of things to do, especially my addiction, sim racing. If I am not racing myself, I also view racing.

Whitefire13's picture
@David and doG ... my boys

@David and doG ... my boys are always playing and chatting with their friends through PS4 and something else (I don’t know what but I always have to be quiet when I go downstairs so I don’t embarrass them)

dogalmighty's picture
@WF

@WF

LOL...fuck, I would be down there embarrassing them constantly. :D
My wife has her bf on the phone, speakerphone, what seems like 24/7. I just walk in the room and start talking...its like she is at our home...just shooting the shit. I talk to her husband over speakerphone, and her and my wife just wait till we are finished, just like as if we were all in the room together.
Works well.

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