Cosmopolitan June 2018 - Page 108

FEELING LONELY ? YOU ’ RE NOT ALONE …
FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO COMBAT LONELINESS 1

you , you , you

When You Feel All Alone

At 27 , Stefanie Costi came face-to-face with her greatest fear — feeling completely alone . Here ’ s how she pulled herself out of it ...

I

always believed feeling lonely was reserved for old people — not something a 27-year-old in the prime of her life would experience . I had a great job , a big fat Greek family , great friends and a boyfriend of almost two years who I adored . I couldn ’ t possibly be the lonely type , right ?
It all started in February last year . My boyfriend , who I thought was The One , unexpectedly dumped me . I was a mess . I binged on too much junk food and every episode of The O . C . to try and cope up with my feelings . This wasn ’ t my first breakup , but there was something different about this one . The dark cloud lingered over me and wouldn ’ t lift . For 10 agonizing months , I was in this black hole with my feet dangling over the edge , unable to feel the ground beneath me . I was afraid people would see me as a failure , so when my friends texted ,
I ignored them — I didn ’ t want their pity . I stopped attending family gatherings out of fear that I would be asked about my ex . I embellished my weekend plans to colleagues so they would think I was a social butterfly . But the truth was , I felt completely alone — and the more evenings I spent by myself , the deeper I fell into this black hole , which saw me scrolling Instagram and comparing my solitude to the sunny poolside pictures my friends were posting .
When people ask me what pulled me out of my slump , the honest truth is the death of my beloved grandfather . I stood at his bedside as my extended family came by in droves and the outpouring of love made me see just how many people I had in my life who genuinely cared . I eventually worked up the courage to sit down with my best friend and she said she had noticed the change in me and was upset that she couldn ’ t have helped me get through it sooner . That ’ s what true friends are — they still love you at your lowest .
IS LONELINESS ON
THE RISE ?
We all go through times of
feeling alone ; some more and some less . A 2016 Lifeline Loneliness Survey revealed that 60 percent Australians ‘ often felt lonely ’. And the UK has even appointed its own Minister for Loneliness .
Closer home , the National Sample Survey Office ( 2004 ) reported that 4.91 million people in India were living alone and suffered from loneliness . Another study from April 2017 found that 12 percent of Indian youth reported feeling depressed often , and eight percent said they felt lonely quite frequently .
“ Loneliness peaks for women in adolescence and young adulthood ,” says Dr Michelle Lim , a clinical
FEELING LONELY ? YOU ’ RE NOT ALONE …

FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO COMBAT LONELINESS 1

Acknowledge that your loneliness is real .

2 Reach out to a confidante . If you don ’ t have one , visit iitc . ar . in , www . hopenetwork . in , or aasra . info . You don ’ t have to be in crisis to do so .

3

Find your people . Join a community group .

4

Start small by building one relationship . Think about your acquaintances . Perhaps you don ’ t need to find a new person — there ’ s someone who has been there all along .

5 Call someone you haven ’ t chatted to in a while .

Photograph : SHUTTERSTOCK . COM
108 COSMOPOLITAN JUNE 2018 FOR MORE GREAT STORIES , VISIT COSMO . IN
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