Mental Health Awareness 2022: Stories of Loneliness
How to overcome loneliness found in COVID times to find a meaningful career
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this year’s theme is ‘Loneliness’. We understand that these past two years, thanks to Miss Rona, have been some of the loneliest and uncertain times we’ve collectively had in a very long time.
This month reminds us of the importance of checking up on each other, stepping away from our laptops/computers and just going out for a walk. It is true that ‘no man is an island’ so talk to each other and take care of not just your body, but also your mind!
We asked a few of our colleagues how they experienced the lockdown and what loneliness means to them and here are some of their responses.
For privacy reasons we have decided to not include the names of the individuals who submitted their stories.
“Am I going to die? Will I be able to get toilet roll…? Who knows?”
Loneliness within the pandemic hit the world hard, too hard. Suicide rates shot high, at one point more people had ended their own life than people had died from the virus. Everywhere you went, no one wanted to know if you were okay, rather if you had been sick. Eye contact depleted, heads went down, no one smiling, hunched at the shoulders. Everyone was out for themselves. Shelves became empty, people started hoarding, fear upon fear upon fear. Am I going to die, will I be able to get my toilet roll…? Who knows?
During my pandemic, my family refused to be in the same room as me, scared I carried the virus, no number of tests proved me fine. Lonely dinner times, no real conversations, no sun, just me myself and I.
Being in a house with three other people who avoided me like the plague was one of the hardest things, taking loneliness to a whole new real level.
My dog became my only form of sanity. I only left my room five times a day by the end, walking my dog, eating, and washing. Surrounded by four white walls, white furniture, I was going mad. Relishing in my weekly food shops, stretching my legs and seeing some form of life as minuscule as it was. I cried when I went back to work. Scared of the real world, excited all the same. Talking was strange, I felt almost croaky, how was I supposed to behave? I walked in front of the ambulance; I had forgotten the basics like crossing a road. The pandemic not only isolated the populations and showed the real colours of the world. It made people alone and embrace the negativity. Life will never be the same. I don’t know about you, but I am still trying to find the spark I left behind in March 2020.
“Covid restrictions caused me not to reach out to people I know in person which truly led me down a dark path to a point where I was questioning the point of things”
To begin with, life was good, I had a full-time job, friends, and amazing work colleagues. However, this all ended abruptly when I was laid off due to covid restrictions, this ordeal sent me into a spiral with me losing a job I loved, colleagues who I shared many conversations with and the overall freedom to use a full paycheck to do whatever I wanted with. Coming to terms with the loss and further Covid restrictions caused me to not even reach out to people I know in person truly leading me down a dark path to a point where I was questioning the point of things…
This all changed when I started to rely more on my virtual friends, people I have known for the last 10 years of my life, people I have played countless hours of video games with and many more on movies and discussions, people that truly cared about me and others because “it’s the common thing to do”. They came to me when nobody else could and I now keep those friendships at the forefront of my mind as a reminder of what they have done for me.
Not too far into 2021 I managed to secure myself some part-time work doing random odd jobs to make ends meet, all of this was in person but with very little interaction, it didn’t feel like home, somewhere you can meet and greet and have fun while working. Finally, I managed to secure a job at Bridge of Hope Careers/Prosper4, my first official remote job and with it came a few surprises I was not expecting but welcomed.
Firstly, the meetings as there are a lot, with common conversations requiring meetings and group calls taking the social level of the job to a new level. The second in effect with interaction and loneliness is the messaging and emails, not a single day has gone by without me getting hit with messages requiring interaction. With all these factors, the life of working from home has not only felt welcoming but interactive with moments of solace few and far between.
For me, loneliness is something personal, something that has held me back, but it has also been a tool to achieve greater things.
“Being alone can sometimes make you your own worst enemy”
These past few years have been rough for me in terms of being around loved ones. Most of my close friends are in different countries currently and my girlfriend lives in America so during the peak of the pandemic, it was impossible for me to see any of them, and it really took a toll on my mental health.
It's still hard, even after the world is slowly starting to open back up again but I have the hope that I can see more of the people I care about when possible.
Being alone can sometimes make you your own worst enemy and I'm sure several people experienced something like that so everyone should be proud that they are able to see their loved ones after these hectic few years.
What can you do if you are dealing with loneliness?
If you or anyone you know are dealing with loneliness or mental health issues please seek help, don’t feel like you must go through this alone! Check out the ‘Barriers to Employment’ section on our support center page for helpful links.
#choosehope #mentalhealthawareness2022 #covidtimes #employmentsupport