Loneliness [en]

[fr] Sur la solitude.

This morning I stumbled upon the article Only The Lonely, in which Stephen Fry talks about depression, wanting to end things, mental health, and loneliness.

Here’s the passage that made me think a bit more about the nature of loneliness:

Lonely? I get invitation cards through the post almost every day. I shall be in the Royal Box at Wimbledon and I have serious and generous offers from friends asking me to join them in the South of France, Italy, Sicily, South Africa, British Columbia and America this summer. I have two months to start a book before I go off to Broadway for a run of Twelfth Night there.

I can read back that last sentence and see that, bipolar or not, if I’m under treatment and not actually depressed, what the fuck right do I have to be lonely, unhappy or forlorn? I don’t have the right. But there again I don’t have the right not to have those feelings. Feelings are not something to which one does or does not have rights.

In the end loneliness is the most terrible and contradictory of my problems. I hate having only myself to come home to. If I have a book to write, it’s fine. I’m up so early in the morning that even I pop out for an early supper I am happy to go straight to bed, eager to be up and writing at dawn the next day. But otherwise…

There are two important things here. The first is that feelings are there, and the question of whether you have the right to them or not is irrelevant. They are there. If you feel this way, then you feel this way. That way? That way. That’s it.

The bit on loneliness got me thinking. Everyone knows how lonely it can be to be in a relationship that has stopped functioning. How one can be at a dinner party surrounded by people and still be lonely.

Loneliness doesn’t have much to do with having human beings around you. What makes you “not lonely” is being connected to others in a meaningful way. Feeling recognized for who you are, and not for a social or professional persona you project when others are around. For me there is no contradiction in what Stephen tells us of his busy social life and his feeling of loneliness. It’s apples and oranges.

Having a social life does not mean you have authentic relationships with others.

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1 thought on “Loneliness [en]

  1. I had to read this a few times through to really get it. One of the things that pops out to me personally is it takes two to feel lonely, probably. When I’m feeling alone, it’s probably because I haven’t shared much of myself lately. I hide a lot of feelings. I let out enough so people think I’m human, but most of my frustrations are put down in the 3 morning journal pages I write daily. So, maybe if I “get out there” more, I could feel more connected. Thanks for that great post!

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