IS LONELINESS ADDICTIVE?


If you're an introverted person like me, you'll know the contentment which comes from being alone. Whether you like to stay at home and watch movies all day in the comfort of your own quiet flat, go to coffee shops solo and watch the world go by, or shop on your own and spend time wandering around lost in your thoughts, there is something easy about being in your own company. It's a time when you can be truly yourself and only have to focus on what's going on on the inside, without any anxiety or stress of what other people may be thinking or saying. For me, being alone is the easiest state of being. A time where I can really reflect and be myself. When you're introverted, being alone is great, but is loneliness itself addictive?

I think there are pros and cons to spending a lot of time alone, but I'm also very aware of the fact that I'm quite blindsided in writing this, as I spend so much of my time alone that I've somehow managed to erase any negatives of it from my mind.

For me, being on my own gives me time to recharge my batteries. Someone once mentioned to me that we all need to recharge out batteries at least weekly. Some people need to do this more frequently than others. For extroverts, charging your batteries and refreshing your mind is done by spending time with other people. They need to do this in order to get adrenaline pumping through their body again and to clear their minds of any cobwebs. For introverts, this recharging is often done alone, through not being in contact with other people. Some individuals lie somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, needing more or less contact depending on their mood, while other people sit firmly at one end.



I've come to notice that when you spend time alone, it becomes easier and easier to keep yourself locked down in that state, the more time you spend that way. If you've ever noticed that it's difficult to leave the house to socialise after a few days of spending time alone, you'll know where I'm coming from. Loneliness, or being alone, can pull you in because it feels warm and safe. I think this is especially apparent if you've ever experienced any form of mental illness. Being alone is like a guard against that where you don't need to explain yourself to anyone. You can just be you, in your own space, with nobody to please and no judgements. You don't need to put a false persona on or keep up an act that you're okay. It's an addictive state of peace, which it feels like you wouldn't be able to access if other people were around you.

To me, it's the same as when a person gets comfortable in a relationship. Suddenly, the idea of going out seems like the biggest drag ever. Why would I want to go out when I have everything I need in the comfort of my own home? Couples in relationships often get to a stage where going out doesn't feel necessary, because they're able to keep themselves just as content by staying in together, ordering takeaways and watching a film. When you're introverted and love to spend time on your own, life comes a little bit like this. Every outing becomes questioned with 'but why would I want to go there when life is just as good and so much easier right here on the sofa?'

As I said before, I'm so blinded by the amount of time that I spend alone, that for me, it's just a state of being now. It's a state of contentment. A space which I can fill with books and blogging and the internet. Humans are naturally very social creatures, but in today's modern age, we've discovered a way to be social without actually having to come into contact with other people. Our smartphones and the internet in general are starting to substitute actual human contact and are making it easier to spend time alone and not realise that you're doing it. They're masking loneliness by offering us a digital antidote to it.

I'm always going to need time on my own to recharge and to feel fresh headed again. I know that, because it's the way my brain works and it's the way that I need to work in order to be productive. I also know that I like being alone, but I only like that because of the huge network that I have available to me in my pocket at all times. I like the way that 'alone' has come to be defined in 2017: in your own quiet space, but with a virtual support network still accessible. People are hard to read and difficult to understand, but short tweets, concise statuses and pre-meditated messages make that a little easier. Maybe loneliness is addictive and maybe I have become a victim of that. But as long as I can still enjoy spending time with myself as much as the company of others, I think I'll be happy.


5 comments :

  1. This post sums up my feelings exactly! I absolutely love time spent by myself - Whenever husband goes out with his friends he always encourages me to go out and do the same but to be honest, I'd much rather curl up with a good book or get some blogging done.

    jess xx
    alrightblondie.com

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    1. I get that completely, Jess! I'm glad I'm not alone in this!xx

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  2. I'm old enough to have had penpals in the mid-90s. It's very much the same thing - a network of people close enough to count as friends, to trust, to open out to, but also distant enough so that you can easily find time & space to revel in your own company.

    I don't know if I'd describe it as 'addictive' but certainly I'm a very strong introvert; I need lots of 'me-time', and is one reason I've never felt comfortable in relationships (and I'd rather have friends than lovers anyway). My 'connectivity' angst on social media is more to do with FOMO (knowledge is power!) than sociability!

    But yes, lovely post, I can pretty much relate to it! The one thing I will say is my 'me-time' can be spent outdoors just as much as in - solitary walks in the countryside, writing in quiet pubs, idly wandering through a town oblivious to the noise and chaos around me.

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    1. Thanks for reading! And I agree, it can definitely be spent outdoors. I love a day out shopping or in London on my own!

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  3. Totally guilty of this. I'm an introvert and live by myself. I can so easily spend all my freetime in solitude, that to spend time with others requires effort, but I'm trying to get better at this. I never really feel that lonely though since, like you said, I'm connected to other people at all times through the internet. But it still doesn't replace spending time with another physical human being. Hopefully we'll find a balance to this

    - Courtney
    courtneylthings.blogspot.com

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