The Lonely Tribe
Most of the times, I am a loner. I just love my company. Love to be with myself, and talk to myself. Leave with alone with a book or two (even a newspaper or magazine would do), some music of my choice, a paper and a pen to write, a pencil to sketch, that's all I need. I can sit like this for hours without speaking a word to anyone. I can be silent for hours and never feel the need to fill that space with words. It's bliss for me.
But then I've had my share of loneliness too.... that very silence, which I so love, comes to hound me.... that very space becomes a void..... I get uncomfortable with myself at times, and look of approval outside. I've experienced it all. Now let me ask you, the reader,
WHAT IS LONELINESS?
Have you ever felt alone in a mall bustling with shoppers? Felt the deafening silence of nothingness in a discotheque or a party? Felt nobody needs you and nobody is there for you, chances are you are becoming the part of the lonely tribe which is increasing in numbers all over the world. People are increasingly feeling lonely - age, gender, occupation does not matter.
WHAT CAN BE THE CAUSES OF LONELINESS?
In the age of social networking, virtual friends, round the clock updating of your activities on Face book or Twitter, having a robust number of "Friends" on FB, why are we getting more and more lonely? Even, if you have your occasional friend's get-together, family dinners etc., don't you feel something amiss somewhere. Is it not the genuineness of relationships that we miss these days? The warmth of true and caring relations? What do you say?
Loneliness is increasingly being seen as a clinical condition, no longer as an indulgence. It has bad effect on a person's health and can be contagious too. (On the lighter side, I read that Divorce can also be contagious amongst friends!)
WHO IS GETTING AFFECTED?
Starting from the most obvious age group is elderly people or couples. The nuclear family, children studying or working or staying away are some of the well known factors of loneliness in elderly. Also, the couples who kept the marriage alive or rather chose to be the marriage only for the sake of children's future ultimately tend to feel empty and lonely - devoid of anything to look forward to in their most personal relationship.
FIRSTLY I AM NOT SURE WHAT IS MIDDLE AGE?!
I just don't know how to define this age! If we go by years, then the quality of health services available and the awareness about health issues now are making an urban citizen better off than what it was earlier. I read that the life expectancy has gone up now. So middle age could be 40-45 years, may be.
The other factor of determining, generally, what is middle of one's life can be how old one's kids are. As kids till 11-12 years need a lot of attention, and afterwards learn to handle themselves, as far as basic things like feeding, dressing up, studying etc is concerned. But, the point is that overall the marriageable age of both girls and boys have gone up considerably in last few years. These days it's OK for boys to marry at 30 and 27 is not late for girls, so by the time they have teen-aged kids, they would have reached the mid of their lives, as I think about it.
I AM TRYING TO UNDERSTAND MID LIFE CRISIS!
As I have understood midlife crisis (?) is when your kids don't really need you as a parent so much, and they begin to see you and judge you as a person, and as a person you know you have reached where you headed to years back... and as an individual you have understood and accepted your weaknesses and your shortcomings (as opposed to the days when you believed you can change the world!), you know you have hit the mid age, now it depends on you, what you do with this feeling.
The Youth are Lonely too
The stiff competition in every field, the peer pressure, the role models being the hep film actors, the expensive life style (to keep up with), with parents giving less attention to children's emotional needs or a disturbed family life can be a few factors why youngsters can get lonely at heart. Also, a romantic relationship trouble or not being able to keep pace with studies or a family tragedy, any such thing can affect the psyche of a youngster.
I was reading about Internet addiction today (52% of kids spend about 5 hours daily on Net), Cyber bullying, addiction of online games, thereby lack of social skills are aloofness can certainly affect the life of a youngster, pushing him or her in the shell of loneliness.
DEALING WITH LONELINESS:
People feeling 'lonely', I read somewhere, tend to look within, searching for happiness, finding ways to fill the void, sometimes by material abuse too. Although, personally I have felt that the during the pangs of loneliness I have tried to look for a solution outside, tried to fill up the void by things and activities like reading, watching more TV, involving more with friend circle for frequent outings. It's like I've tried to fill up every possible nook and corner of my mind and my heart with anything available easily to me.
Sometimes, it may help, when you strike the right chord by choosing an activity which fulfills your needs giving you the much needed mental peace. Sometimes, you may be lucky to find that reliable friend who pulls you out of your loneliness, so it depends on you how you think you can be helped.
Yet another way could be associating yourself with helping other people in need. Joining a NGO in whatever little way you can; to some yoga and meditation or gyming may suit. I know, we people are busy and at times, we don't have time to deal with our own mental state, so joining a NGO is quite difficult. But even a visit to a blind school, or an orphanage or a school or institution for small kids of weaker section run by NGOs or an old age home and then spending a few hours with them, learning how can one contribute to their cause, not necessarily financially but otherwise, also makes a depressed person feel better.
I learnt about one such thing, when I visited a Blind School and was told that I can contribute by recording my voice reading the textbook lessons of social Studies or Hindi or Science for the blind school children. You have to believe me that it actually made me feel so good about myself, when I begun to go for these recordings on my weekends.
So, the way to deal with your loneliness can differ, but definitely, it is YOU who knows how to deal with yourself. It's equally important to do some introspection and find out what has left you so empty, so lonely and so desperate and then deal with the issues slowly.
A depressed and lonely person should always remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I should not give up so easily and also "I will be a phoenix when I rise out of my ashes" and YES, it's possible.
I had read a Hindi novel long back, and these lines really touched my soul and I always remember them, when in crisis :
तुमने एक ही बार वेदना में मुझे
जना था माँ
पर मैं बार बार अपने को जनता हूँ
और मरता हूँ
पुनः जनता हूँ और पुनः मरता हूँ
और फिर जनता हूँ
क्योंकि वेदना में मैं अपनी ही माँ हूँ.
( पुस्तक : नदी के द्वीप लेखक : अज्ञेय )
These beautiful lines written by Indian author Agyey mean that a mother gives birth to a baby after bearing the labour pain only once. But, the child grows, and sometimes his life puts him through pain and sufferings, which almost kill him but he endures everything and resurfaces. He gives birth to himself each time he learns to fight back and emerge as a winner, hence throughout his life, in his moments of pain he becomes his own mother in labour.
Have you ever felt lonely? What did you do to deal with it?