Long scary article warning.
I’m not into Psycho-babble so what I’m talking about is my thoughts NOT some learned opinion. Thus when I get it wrong, remember I’m no Sigmund Freud.
Alone is defined as being:-
Without anyone or anything else :
Not involving or including anyone or anything else :
Separate from other people or things.
The effects of loneliness are well documented and prove conclusively that total isolation from others is physically bad for us. For example it can raise blood pressure, you catch more bugs and after a while it’s difficult to shake infections. It will screw with your sleep pattern, your attention span shortens and your powers of reasoning are generally reduced. That’s just the physical side.
MENTALLY it can literally be a killer as it can cause hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, and you will become unable to keep your emotions under control. In short the very things you need to cope with disaster, survival, and ultimately after the danger has passed will be affected. Worse bit about that? All this can happen in weeks if you aren’t prepped for it and able to FIGHT IT.
I suppose the first questions are:-
What sort of person are you and do you need company or are you happiest on your own? So, are you gregarious or a loner?
A VERY IMPORTANT thing to determine as it has a bearing on how you MAY cope.
- You may think you are at your happiest when you are alone yet if you come across another do you WANT TO OR EVEN MIND speaking or interacting?
- Do you mind the presence of others or resent it?
- Do you miss your parents, relatives, siblings, partner, and kids if they aren’t there with you?
- Do you live on your own BY CHOICE and like it?
- Do you go out of your way to SHUN human contact?
- Or do you occasionally NEED contact with others?
Interesting questions aren’t they but the more you don’t mind or even enjoy the presence of others the more I’d be concerned about what may happen if you are on your own for a protracted time without the correct mindset.
The next question after that is:-
WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF CONTACT WITH OTHERS?
Does it have to be “personal”, one on one, is it sufficient to just talk to someone? Some live alone by vocation or choice in the outback, off grid, hermit like but still retain the basics of communication i.e. a radio, TV, phone, or the Internet.
Here is a thought for you and a measure of how you gauge contact.
Does having the Internet constitute enough contact for you?
After all Skype is face to face isn’t it?
Is this the minimum level of contact you’d be happy with?
So what happens if all communications fail, what would that do to you? After all power outages are one of modern-day normals and I’m pretty certain they psychologically affect most people who live their lives in zero’s an ones. Ask any teenager whose PC, mobile, or Internet fails how their day is going. You are talking immediate unhappiness, stroppiness, if not rage!
All tough questions and you’ll need to do a fair bit of soul-searching here. It’s a time to be brutally honest with yourself too. After all being pre-prepared is best for when or if you end up a lone survivor?
What’s the effects of loneliness over time and why is that important?
Loneliness is a breeding ground for developing (shall we say) “unusual behavior patterns” if not “personal issues”. The lack of human contact can affect your mind and this is enhanced by grief about your lost ones. Loneliness is what I call you being “without a moderator” someone to help you behave “normally” and to cope. Without another, some people just turn into an untidy mess or the complete opposite i.e. obsessive neat freaks. Both these are a common thing to find. Not forgetting some become extremely possessive about what is theirs.
From then on in it’s a short hop to obsessive behavior and ultimately into extreme psychosis. (The severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.)
Incidentally does anyone or has anyone live(d) with a “neat freak”?
It ain’t easy and no, SWMBO isn’t one and neither am I thank Gawd!
If applicable you’ll know that they spend all day keeping things ‘just so’ and can go into a complete strop or panic if “random” (aka you) walks though the door.
The same behavior is sometimes seen with those who live alone in a stressful environment like on the streets. Just touching their stuff or invading their personal space can invoke a strong physical and emotional response. This I’ve experienced where you even straying into their home (a doorway or favored spot) can be dangerous to say the least. Heck I got the same when I was on the streets and that only lasted for a few months.
It is vital to learn street etiquette folks as that will be life saving when everything goes to pot.
Once you start along the “unusual behavior track” I feel you are just another victim looking for somewhere to happen as you’ll lose objectivity and the ability to “free think” your way round problems. You’ll still react but not always in the best way.
I don’t think I’ve scratched the surface of this and definitely don’t know all the answers so feel free to comment. This will continue in the next article entitled Loneliness, Coping strategies.
Just one request though.
Talk practically please, pure psycho-babble is meaningless to most folk and especially me!
As said, this will continue
in the next article entitled
Loneliness, Coping strategies