The awakening came with my own experience, as so many things do in life. We must experience them to become aware that if a problem exists for me then it also exists for others.  I’m speaking of the experience of isolationism. 

This is a common condition so many people are living with today in their own homes. It is caused by a result of addressing our need to isolate due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting us all. It affects all of us, but those most affected are the people living alone. By separating ourselves from others in the effort to shut down the raging COVID-19 virus, we are creating another condition just as serious…….loneliness!! 

Loneliness can strip you of your humanity, leaving you sad, depressed, full of fear about your future. You can question your value to others as well as yourselves. You begin thinking you have nothing to look forward to. 

Thoughts like, “No one will miss me” can become a daily mantra. This is NOT the place to stay!!

We all experience loneliness to some degree in our lives. It is just a part of growing up. But, look closer at extended withdrawal from other humans. Most of us need the interaction of others to give meaning to our lives. Feedback gives us value to know we are not alone in the world. We need interaction with other humans.

This is my story. A couple of months ago, my ex-husband died of cancer. It was an unexpected result of a noble fight he had fought for years. But, due to separation, I was totally unaware of the seriousness of his condition.

Last week another reality knocked on my door. My only sibling died. Even though it was expected due to a serious fall, the finality of this transition threw me into an underlining panic. She was in another state so I could not take any immediate action toward her funeral. 

Her death had happened and my emotions felt like a panic that kept saying, “I simply cannot be alone”. And yet, I felt so alone. I knew I needed to take action. 

I needed to do something to change my environment. So I did. I called a close friend in New Mexico. Hopped on a plane and flew there. 

I consider myself to be a pretty independent, self-sufficient person, but the reality of the repeated loss of family, living alone and the need for the growing separation we have been asked to do to beat the pandemic is taking a toll on us emotionally. I felt the increase of stress in my daily life. 

Isolation is not your friend. It is a serious issue with all ages, but particularly older people living alone. 

Many of our older citizens do not have the option of the internet to help with connecting with others. For most of the seniors Zoom is not known as a word for connection, but as a fast speeding bird known as Speedy Gonzales, a cartoon character we watch on the big screen at the movie house in days gone by. 

Let me repeat. Isolation is not only affecting our seniors, but all ages. Our youth are pulled into isolation with the computer games, which fill hours of virtual game play and rob them of human connection. 

I was fortunate. I could reach out to a treasured friend who I knew would be happy to take me no matter my mental condition. I could financially hop on a plane and fly to my happy place, Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had the freedom to take the time to escape my emotional and physical prison.

 Not everyone has this freedom. So what can you do to reconnect with your needs to change your isolation? 

Human connection is your life force. Become aware of the importance of human connection for your mental and physical health. 
Take responsibility for your care. As Jack Canfield, creator of the series of books Chicken Soup for the Soul, always stressed while I studied with him, each of us are totally responsible for our lives. Can’t push that off on someone else. It’s time to step up and fight for you. 
Take action. Sometimes this requires talking with a professional support person to get you moving. Mapping out a plan of action with more activity such as a walking exercise, calling a friend every day, involving yourself with things that give you joy and fill the alone time. Projects are great for taking your mind off of negative repetitive thoughts. 
Build your human connections. Get a support friend buddy that you can be accountable to. We all need to be accountable. That buddy is not for shaming when you don’t take action, but supporting you to keep on reaching for your challenge of self-care. 
Connect with love. Grow your self-love. For me, I’m adopting a puppy in June. Nothing showers us with unconditional love like a pet. 

You are building a new habit!! That’s tough stuff but so rewarding and beneficial for taking you out of the loneliness of isolation imposed by our present situation. Someday you and I will return to a new normal. Our world will adapt to this new normal. You might even like it better!! 

Many of us will be stronger and more caring for ourselves and others. That’s a good thing!! 

Reach out. If not to a friend, I am here. Waiting for your call. YOU are not alone.