When did you feel alone?
Corona: I've been single for 7 years & have never felt so lonely as I do now
While the coronavirus has the world firmly under control, I am slowly facing the fact that I would be completely alone in my apartment if there was a curfew. And apart from the topic of loneliness, what if I get sick and nobody can take care of me? These thoughts have made my fears soar over the past few days.
I'm someone who normally advocates single positivity. That's why it is now difficult for me that part of me is wishing I had a partner who is by my side in good and bad days, in health and in illness. Like many others, I currently check the news practically non-stop. I also came across articles that give tips on how to make the quarantine more bearable. However, almost all of them are aimed at people who live in shared apartments or have to stay at home with children. However, I hardly find any tips for people who live alone - although there are around 17.33 million single-person households in Germany alone.
The attitude seems to be that we will get through this; it will be easy for us to isolate ourselves. I wish people would think for a moment about the people who are alone. A quarantine or curfew - no matter how long it is - feels especially scary when you have no one to get through it with.
I can't get rid of this terrible feeling that the walls are getting closer and closer.
It already hits me three times: I am a single freelancer. But so far I've just made sure to meet friends regularly for coffee, dinner or drinks or to go to events so that I don't get lonely and at least have a few social interactions. Even if our government has not yet banned us from leaving the house, I get emails and WhatsApp messages every day in which appointments are canceled. I can't get rid of this terrible feeling that the walls are getting closer and closer. I'm lucky not to belong to one of the risk groups, but I also know what happens when I'm alone for too long.
A few years ago I lived in Berlin for a short time. It was there that I experienced one of the worst periods of depression in my life. It started when I was sick and stuck in my apartment at home because of it. I knew almost no one in town and I didn't want to ask for help from friends I had just met for the first time. The week dragged on forever, and although I felt better physically afterwards, I was unable to get out of bed. At that time I was doing an internship and called in sick. In retrospect, I almost wish they had forced me to come to work anyway. 'Cause the next couple of weeks I spent lying in my bedGilmore Girls to look and eat takeaway. I feel so alone that it hurt me physically.
It was only when two of my best friends came to Berlin to visit me (the visit had long been established) that I was able to escape the vicious circle. I may be single and independent, but that doesn't mean I don't need other people.
Of course, not every single person suffers from mental health problems like me, but loneliness and social isolation have real consequences. It's about more than just missing out on being around. Research shows that isolation can set a chain reaction in motion that can affect mental and physical health. In fact, studies show that loneliness can be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
There are also everyday problems. Shortly after moving to London, I had a bad gastrointestinal infection. When I finally stopped vomiting, I carefully wanted to start eating again, but I didn't have anything in the apartment that was easy to digest. There was a shop right across the street, but I was so weak I couldn't even get there. So I wrote a friend if she could bring me something to eat. When she came by shortly afterwards and I saw her and knew someone was there for me, I immediately felt better. The thought of having to go through something similar all over again on my own fills me with great fear.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Great Britain is one of the loneliest cities in Europe. One reason for this is that most of us don't know our neighbors - unlike most people in the US, for example. Sadly, I do absolutely justice to this cliché. I know my landlord who lives below me, but the only neighbor I otherwise knew passed away recently.
The worrying: According to the ONS, a large part of the population already has no one who can help them in a crisis. And it has not yet been taken into account that people who could otherwise help you should be absent if they get the corona virus themselves.
As others pile up supplies and prepare to work from home on a long-term basis, I wonder if I should flee London and join my parents in the country - to Shorpshire in the west of England. Finally, Mind recommends going to a mental health charity for people with mental health problems, seeing friends or family if possible. I am aware that some people don't even have this option in the first place (or no longer because of travel restrictions). And I'm extremely grateful to have them. Mind also emphasizes the importance of keeping in touch with loved ones and making video calls.
Social media is often criticized, but in this extraordinary situation we find ourselves in, online platforms will become lifesavers. For example, you can reactivate your Facebook account and look for groups that address singles. And if you can't find a suitable one, just found one yourself! Otherwise, it might also help you to use dating apps - at least to be able to write with other singles who are like you. (Hopefully it goes without saying that you shouldn't meet strangers every day - you can't say enough how important social distancing is!)
Of course, I understand that not every single in the world is a fan of social media; some may not even have access to the internet! I am thinking of these people especially at the moment. If you have someone in your circle of acquaintances, just give them a call. It doesn't cost you anything and it brightens up your two days a little bit.
There is something else that has taken up a very large part of my time in the last few days - apart from the online research. And that is talking to my best friends. We all worry for different reasons too. Some have parents with previous illnesses; others are heavily pregnant and are afraid of having to go through the birth all by themselves in the hospital because they are not allowed to visit. Some suffer from mental illnesses, which are now exacerbated. Sharing your feelings with other people can be very helpful. It can make you feel less lonely and lonely. Who knows how long the current situation will last, so try to build up a little routine now and plan your day - from doing sports to netflixing to Skype coffee with your grandma.
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