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The Loneliness Monster

For some, the following requires no introduction. You’ve known the familiar pang of anguish before. For others, you may struggle to grasp the extent of it all. But, in either instance, I have a feeling you’ll share a similar sentiment as me… emotions are tough to sort through alone.


There’s a monster running rampant, one that seems more prevalent than ever before. It’s not a monster you hear about in ghost stories around the fire or the kind that they create in mega-packed action films, and it isn't known for knocking down buildings or for hiding underneath your bed at night. This monster is silent and unseen, slithering amongst the seedy shadows, a monster that settles into your bones and makes itself nice and comfortable in the deep crevices of your mind. 


The monster I speak of is no amateur. It has honed its craft to near perfection, preying on every piece of self-doubt and insecurity in the depths of our consciousness, and twisting them into a sinister narrative of falsehood. The lies it spews, the horrible things it makes you believe… as if they were as true as saying ‘the sky is blue’...  the way it is able to manipulate your own perception, and the ease with which it can rip apart your carefully crafted tapestry of human connection, all a part of its malevolent agenda. 


Maybe there are those instances when it sits as a passenger in the vehicle of your soul, maybe you escape its wrath if only temporarily. But then the monster comes sauntering along, as though it never really left, smacking you in the face like the threat of an old ex-girlfriend. Its tendrils drag you into the familiar expanse of solitude, a barrenness that carries an audible echo of emptiness, and yet you feel the heaviness of its weight return. 


This is known as the soul-sucking loneliness monster, I’m sure all too recognizable to those that have felt its presence.


Now, I wish I could end it here, leave it at that, and tell you what to do in order to rightfully protect yourself from such an unruly beast, but really that would be all too convenient for me. 


As humans, we prefer to simplify things, label them, put them into boxes or categories. It tends to make them easier to digest and to understand. We prefer the black and white version.


All right or all wrong, all good or all bad. No gray. 


Such is the case here: Writing off loneliness as the monster it can be is the most comfortable reality. And yet, that wouldn't paint the entire picture. This particular monster happens to possess some layers of complexity lurking beneath its surface level atrocities.


We say we loathe the feeling of loneliness and all that it encompasses, and at a glance, that statement holds truth. The emptiness that loneliness can inflict is vast. Nevertheless, there is also a part of us that may yearn for its company. No, it isn’t the hateful comments or the monstrous internal acts of violence loneliness inflicts that has people asking for its companionship. It is more about the premise of what the monster may offer us in return.


What with the portrayal given above all too fresh, I'm sure you're questioning what that could possibly be… what is the half deflated life raft that loneliness may extend?


It just so happens to be one of life's most coveted human needs, safety.


Safety is capable of existing in loneliness. Within the quiet nothingness there is no external influence that exists, no scrutiny, no judgment, and no rejection. Away from the callous nature of people and the pain they are capable of inflicting, we sit atop our deserted island, partially grateful to have escaped the ‘dangers’ that await in the waters of human connection, while the other half already longs for even the tiniest scrap of interaction. 


How can someone simultaneously despise something and yet crave it at the same time?


Here lies the peculiar duality. Loneliness is not the one dimensional being we make it out to be. It is both a prisoner and a sanctuary all in the same breath. Our mind begs for a key to break free from the cuffs of emptiness and isolation, and yet that is also what we fear most.


This is the paradox of loneliness. You don't know whether to run or concede… and the irony is so many spend their life doing both. 


Loneliness can be a part of so many mental health challenges that individuals experience. If you are struggling with increased loneliness or other difficulties, please reach out to The Mynd Clinic to book an appointment and receive support.

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