Let’s start off from my last post:
“I feel like I’m supposed to be getting more social, but that push is more like a “living up to society” requirement and not one of my own right now. We’ll see….”
So in my Gerontology class about a week later we had a speaker come in and discuss loneliness and the aging. She provided this statistic and it really floored me.
Here’s some information/links I found:
“Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity.” Douglas Nemecek, MD, chief medical officer for behavioral health, Cigna https://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20180504/loneliness-rivals-obesity-smoking-as-health-risk
From Amy Mornin on https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/americas-loneliness-epidemic-is-more-lethal-than-smoking-heres-what-you-can-do-to-combat-isolation.html: “There are several reasons why loneliness can be deadly. First, it reduces your immunity, which can increase your risk of disease. But, it also increases inflammation in the body, which can contribute to heart disease and other chronic health conditions. Stress will also affect you more if you’re lonely. Financial trouble, health problems, and everyday obstacles may take a bigger emotional toll on individuals who lack social and emotional support.”
So getting back to my last post, this obviously scared the shit out of me. I’m learning so much in my class and thinking to myself I need to plan for the future and stay as healthy as possible to enjoy it, but I never thought about how loneliness had such an affect on the quality of our lives. Many of you know I work from home and sit behind a computer all day as a mobile app developer. I’m divorced and live by myself …well I have two dogs : ). My social life is pretty much nil, other then a couple of folks I go out to dinner and hikes with on occassion.
Like I said in my last post I thought this whole social thing was more of a society push, but this information has pretty much changed that thought process. I believed I’d be fine if I was older and alone from time to time. I’m doing it now and enjoy my freedom and privacy, but….jeez I certainly don’t want to being checking out any earlier then I need to.
Amy’s article goes on to explain more:
“Loneliness isn’t the same thing as being alone. Some solitude is good for you.
But, being alone needs to be a choice in order to be healthy. Elderly people who want companionship yet lack visitors, for example, are more likely to experience the physical and emotional effects of being alone.
It’s also quite possible to feel lonely even when you’re around people. If you don’t feel as though those around you truly understand you, or if you fear that they wouldn’t accept you if they knew the ‘real’ you, being around people won’t necessarily resolve your lonely feelings.”
That last paragraph really resonates with me. I feel it everyday and it has gotten to the point where I’m tired of just the basic chit chat shit. I crave for deep convos without judgement. Let me be clear this is not just an older adult “thing”. I crave for nonverbals showing I’m not crazy. I crave someone just getting me as I am, not agreeing with everything I believe, but just accepting me.
I feel like this is the only place where I can get some of this fullfilment, but understand I need a lot of this face to face with someone. I need to be touched. I need to be hugged. I need some coffee time chats : )
How about you?