Holiday Lonliness - A Problem For Many With Mental Illness
Many individuals with mental illness feel disconnected from others, resulting in feelings of loneliness. During the holiday season, this loneliness may become pervasive and overwhelming as those struggling with mental health issues may have difficulty perceiving a connection with family and friends. Sometimes this is the result of shame or embarrassment that interferes with building and maintaining needed relationships. Other times, isolating is a symptom of the underlying illness itself. Yet, science has shown that humans have an innate need to feel connected. Having a connection with others improves our overall sense of well-being. Feelings of loneliness, on the other hand, are linked with detrimental mental health consequences.
Loneliness is not the same as being alone. Loneliness is a subjective feeling that is based on one’s individual perceptions about his or her relationships with others. Even when surrounded by supportive friends and family, feelings of loneliness may still be present. The perception may be irrational and untrue, but such disconnectedness has a very real affect on one's self-esteem and sense of well- being.
Getting Help and Support
It takes great effort and courage to confront loneliness -- and even greater effort and courage to make the necessary changes to find relief from its consuming grip. But, it is possible. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can help you change faulty and irrational thought patterns and behaviors that are contributing to your feelings of loneliness. And, treatment with CBT has been shown to be effective for a variety of other symptoms associated with anxiety disorders, depression, and bipolar disorder.
Blog by Sheryl Ankrom, LCPC
To schedule an appointment with Sheryl Ankrom, LCPC, please call 1-800-461-9533.
If you have any questions and would like to speak with Ms. Ankrom directly, she may be reached at 1-800-461-9533, Ext. 160.