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June 24, 2016, 12:17 p.m.

On being lonely

Thoma Loneliness

I have been meaning to post about loneliness over the past year, and then recently an article popped up, that moved me into action on sharing my thoughts on the matter.

The first article is taken from the UC Observer and was authored by a gentlemen name André Picard entitled "All the Lonely People"

Loneliness vs. Solitude, or the difference between being lonely or alone. At times there is a fine line between the two of them. At other times there is bottomless chasm between the two, and god forbid you fall in.

What about community vs. isolation. To me, that's a little harder to discern. I'm not gonna lie about it or shrug it off but I have fought so fucking hard at times to be a part of a community, a scene, a myriad of social groups only to be left feeling hollow, like I failed or that the others in the group totally did not care what I had to articulate or express. I was only there, to use or exploit.

Throughout the half a century of my life, at different junctures with it laid bare before me, I realized that I no friendships that truly endured, were even remotely close to being healthy or resilient. I did have 3 friendships that were truly resilient and robust, we went through some truly bad shit together but in the end that bad shit and traumatic experiences only served to be stronger than we could bear.

I have had friends that became suicidal or seriously fucked up emotionally, to include yours truly. Now, I hope this is not coming off as overly dramatic, or reeks of a pity party, because I guarantee you the last thing I need or care about is your pity. Could I stand to use some empathy or no bullshit understanding though? Sure. But I ain't holding my breath or sitting by the phone for it.

So, society and culture wise, I seriously have come to think that "predatory" capitalism coupled with our technological fetishes and addictions have become a force multiplier in driving us further apart and alienating the masses of humanity under a false pretense of democratization. We are becoming more superficial, more machine like and losing our abilities to interact on what I would call a genuine face-to-face socially interactive society at an alarming rate.

"Social engagement has been commodified; it’s increasingly a privilege of wealth." - André Picard

"If we want a sense of community, and its benefits, we need to invest in services that encourage independent living, and in public spaces and programs that nurture interaction. Yet, we underfund and devalue places that bring us together like libraries, parks, recreation centres and community gardens. We often make it difficult to volunteer with all kinds of bureaucratic hurdles. Being lonely also has stigma attached to it: it’s often associated with having poor social skills or being odd. We look upon those who are reaching out to make a connection with suspicion. How often have you heard: “How can I meet people?” For most, the answer to that question is not Tinder or Grindr." - André Picard

"This brings us to the plethora of virtual communities. How can anyone be lonely if they have 100 or 1,000 Facebook friends? The reality is that social media tends to make the lonely and isolated even more so — like hungry people staring through a window in at a lush buffet but unable to partake. The paradox is evident: we have never been more connected, or more adrift. We’re all scared of being alone, of not being loved or needed or cared about. And the lonelier we feel, the harder it is to reach out. Is that simply inevitable for a swath of the population? Is it a necessary byproduct of our fast-paced, dog-eat-dog society?" - André Picard

You can scoff, laugh and ridicule my thought processes here if necessary, but I really believe that we are truly becoming zombies in the wake of all this, and that ironically it is to a certain degree why we have such an obsession for zombies and why zombie based content is so wildly popular because it is literally mirroring what is going on with most of us internally.

"Society has changed a lot over a few generations, and many age-old support networks have broken down. Families are smaller and more spread out, so we are not surrounded by relatives. People live longer and move across the country for work, which makes us rootless. For many, the alternative to living alone is institutional living — particularly true for the frail elderly. There are 400,000 seniors living in “care facilities” in Canada. How many of them are lonely? Do we even consider the physical, emotional and social impacts of this mass institutionalization of our elders?" - André Picard

In my experience at some level most people that would like to befriend you or want your companionship is because they are opportunists, in effect you have something they want, be it physical, or some intangible quality. You can have friends, surely, that is if you have money, drugs, marijuana, power of some sort, a body they want etc, or perhaps it is your status? But is something that they want the benefit of that comes with your acceptance of friendship. Please don't get me wrong that these are absolute broad strokes, generalizations ok? But...

Then sometimes time, and distance just kick our asses sadly as fallible human beings, and we just cannot sustain or maintain the relationship anymore, it just becomes too hard. For some of us when this happens, we take it way too personally perhaps and way to hard emotionally. I have been down that road, and it's a road filled with personal pain and hurt, that in hindsight was not worth it perhaps.

For me any sense of community that I have experienced in my lifetime was based on finite moments, that were fleeting and ephemeral at best. But my search for community or a sense thereof has been never ending. However, for the past 3 years or so I have consciously made the decision to forego actively pursuing any new friendships or membership in any groups, communities, scenes and what-have-you.

To paint a perfect picture for the past 3 years there are long stretches of time, where the only physical contact I have with other human beings is my wife, and my immediate family, Veterans Affairs, and a few other health professionals. There were times when I only went out of my house once or twice a week. The sense of depersonalization and derealization was to the point that I felt like a fucking ghost in this world, or perhaps I was already dead. Really, no lie. Hands down.

But at the same time, there were and are moments where I feel beyond liberated and free compared to other inhabitants on the beautiful blue planet that we have collectively turned into a malignant tumorous piece of shit. Isolation can be a deceitful and tricky, double-edged razor sharp sword for the mind and soul.

"In his book Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, author Charles Montgomery writes, “Social isolation just may be the greatest environmental hazard of city living — worse than noise, pollution, or even crowding.” Study after study deliver similarly grim prognoses: loneliness is as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day; having no friends may increase the risk of premature death by about 30 percent; social isolation can be twice as deadly as obesity; it’s as big a killer as diabetes and it hikes the risk of dementia by 64 percent. Loneliness is a quantifiable health hazard." - André Picard

"Biologically, what’s happening is that the fear lonely people experience stimulates stress hormones (a reaction sometimes known as the fight-or-flight response), which in turn triggers inflammation, a major risk factor for heart disease. When that stress is constant, it also greatly increases the risk of depression and suicide. Being isolated often translates into being inactive, and that’s what increases the risk of obesity and diabetes. Loneliness is bad for your heart and bad for your soul, yet isolation is commonplace. More Canadians than ever live alone, and one in four of them describe themselves as lonely. An estimated one in eight seniors lives a solitary life without friends or family. The rates are even higher for people with disabilities, and those with severe mental illness. The homeless are, almost by definition, alone. For every lonely adult, there is a kid eating lunch by himself or watching from the sidelines as others play." - André Picard

I remember telling my little sister that I literally felt like an alien, like I never even felt like I was really truly part of humanity, and that I was never meant to be part of this world. I try not to give up, and still have not given up. But, I have come to accept and embrace the fact that my social scene/life is barely breathing and on life support if you will. But, you can still be alone, remaining positive, staying on the path and never giving the fuck up.

"But there is one key health determinant that’s often forgotten: a sense of belonging. Being connected — to family, friends, neighbours, a community group, a running club, a mosque — can literally add years to your life." - André Picard

Being alone is nice because it lacks so much overhead, as far as energy expended dealing with negative emotions. Being lonely can hurt so bad, that you wanna die. But... Being lonely is more feeling that fact. I mean it could be a fact, that you don't have many friends or no friends. But, that does NOT mean you have to feel or be lonely, it's just a place in our minds and hearts that we don't really have to live in.

As the late Mother Teresa reminded us, “Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.” - André Picard

I am not alone in being lonely, I mean just take a look at this thread from 2 years ago on Reddit

I think that in a way "feeling lonely" is actually a trap, or sort of a red flag, telling you to stop and look deep within, get brave and now you have to truly and genuinely get to know you...

Warning/Caveat: In many of my posts I place music that has touched me deeply, but it is usually music that is not of the mainstream culture, and of an extreme nature in general. Not all the time but many times, and what follows falls into that category. So, if that is not your cup of tea don't watch it, or read the lyrics. If Metal, Punk, Hip Hop or Oi music is not your thing then stop now.

One song and it's lyrics that have affected me deeply regarding loneliness and isolation is entitled "The Missing Links and I will share it with you now. I hope you get the same feeling I do every time that I hear it.

you either have the truth or the non-truth you have submittance to the world of the debauchery or whatever you want to call it To the lower drives, to the lower instincts, ya know

To the... lower man

Because the greatest threat in our world is the selfless human being... The man who has no sense of who he is

he is... absolutely everything about him is conditioned by the world he's just a role player

So the slave mentality, the man who submits has in fact chosen to submit to external authorities regardless of how tyranical they are

rather than face the journey on the Siddartha road

towards and understanding and attainment of his own self

it's very necessary in this situation in the world in which we are where there are unconscious people walking around and I'm sorry to have to say that but when your'e walking around that's what I see in peoples faces and eyes

is an absence, an avoidance, an escapism

chronically....

but from what....

Knowledge?.....

No....

It's something deeper than than that....

From the dawn of time we came... Moving silently down through the centuries...

Leading many secret lives

No one has ever known that we were among you

Until Now....

But it's based on a people who would rather submit to the external tyrannies of Big Daddy

Who would rather cling to the handrail and rather lean on one another

Than face the anxiety that arises when you have to go on the pure journey for truth When you have discover what your really here for on this planet, and who you are yourself

The hard truth is better than a comfortable lie so Who are we really, I'm feeling so deprived Give me the answers I've always tried to find Through books written way before my time

Those tales of men who were so wise Manipulating a truth so well disguised Those tales of life after the tides wiped it all away Mistakes they tried to hide

Who were we before Eve gave us life And who is Adam, an experiment, a guise? Who am I, an experiment, a lie I feel we're all blind to the truth but where does it lie?

It's all written but we won't look or listen There's too much pain in the truth, in that wisdom We're all links in a chain, but something's missing Maybe the answer's in a place not so distant

Where do we come from, that's the plight of humankind

Are those ancient ruins a reference, a time line? Did they come to ruin us or help define What we would ultimately become in due time

If those stories of gods enslaving minds Holds any weight then I've defied my kind There's no glory in tainting human life But I'm no follower so I still search to find

Some sign that there's more to this life The folklore and religions that divide It's all true or it's all a fucking lie It's all proof none of us know where our souls reside

It's all written but we won't look or listen There's too much pain in the truth, in that wisdom We're all links in a chain, but something's missing Maybe the answer's in a place not so distant

In solitude, soul... Ten thousand nights alone

You claim an eternal soul Where are you when you watch the box, when you watch the wall?

Outside your circuitry, nerves crawling out of me I've seen things you'll never know Shared a bed in hell, in hatred of myself Clawed my way back all alone

Your heaven is my hell, everything I hate most in myself I find embodied in you Through each solitary night, every moment of my life I plot to steal your throne When I see all the shit you do I can't put enough crime between myself and you Blood and urine stain these streets where all my nightmares learned to breathe Metropolis carved out of bone What I need I'll take, I've got a lot at stake Your heaven is my hell, everything I hate most in myself I find embodied in you Every knife turned in my side, every moment of my life

I plot to steal your crown

Nights of desperation break on the shores of dawn Solitude has seven skins, no one shall enter ever again Feel the locusts inside me rising to a boil Hum of the silence rises like a snake crawling down my throat But your kisses leave toothmarks Your embraces kill You whispers linger inside my head But I know if I taste your poison I'll never get my fill Came to be in solitary, climbing the ranks of humanity Choices I've made have isolated, but this is my reward: I've been saving while you've spent I've been sweating while you've slept There's going to come a time When I can call your empire MINE.


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