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Loneliness--The Other Pandemic
#1
Last night I read a story on my cellphone feed where this one writer shares her ordeal of loneliness stating that she really has no life as a single mother with a young daughter.  And this situation is bound to get even worse if the coronavirus continues to create more situations of cancelled public events and isolation, whether forced or not.  The situation is already enough that we can consider it to be the other pandemic, the one that does not get talked about nearly enough.  As a lifelong single person, I went through the loneliness batter fairly early in life. Didn't have much social life during my 20s, part of that stemming from a prolonged muted adolescence spent in two different boarding schools. Had issues as a child but later determined that it probably was Asperger's even though the diagnosis of that wasn't available at the time. Made up for lost time big though during the late 1970s and some of the 1980s before the AIDS scare made more people afraid of others again.

Many such as single parents may be craving some alone time when children are in school, but more often than not they are out working themselves so they seldom if ever get that, even though the work from home option is become ever more popular. There is often a need to just get away from it all and hide.  Beginning in the late 1980s there was a sharp trend toward cocooning, which in essence means exactly that.  This trend was spotted by a woman named Faith Popcorn, who saw it coming during the days when life seemed like one big party.  In the hale days of my generation's youth, we pretty much lived to go out. Some maybe stayed in once a month on a Monday night or something like that. Staying in on a weekend night unless you were deathly sick was akin to blasphemy.  One with the Asperger's condition is often prone to go so far as to say something impulsively, which will certain get you that alone time, but not in the way you had envisioned, but you'll regret it later on. It does seem that the balance between freedom and connection is getting more elusive.

I do tend to believe that much of today's isolation, whether self-imposed or not, is due to excessive debt and work loads, which I have said many times on the forum is the exact opposite of what so many pundits expected with the advent of modern technology. Remember when we were told that said technology would give most of us so much leisure time that we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves?  There was even a book written on the subject, titled "The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure" by Juliet Schor. I read that book and remember toward the end the author stating that we won't have more leisure unless a significant portion of the society determines that we must have it. Obviously it has not happened yet. Ms. Schor followed it up with another book titled "The Overspent American" in which she describes heavy debt loads as a big contributor to the whole "I don't have time" syndrome.

Here is a link to one article on how the loneliness pandemic seems to snowball:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archi...ss/521841/

Now perhaps the best known song dealing with loneliness and isolation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuS5NuXRb5Y

There are many more articles dealing with the loneliness pandemic.
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#2
This is a really good topic for now. I cannot be the only one thinking about the utter devastation - the mass devastation - of the human psyche when locked up away from others. It's like being in prison except in jail you do have others to interact with. And I must add, even in grocery stores and "essential" places, human beings are not interacting the same. I cannot smile at someone or excuse them in my path with a nod and a grin or anything close to "interaction".

I will try hard not to be a harpy about this, but we entered a really dangerous place when we decided to go hastily into all this ISOLATION. And calling it "self" isolation, that's not even real. We are told where we can and cannot go and how. At least, in many states.

I don't have the answer. Even living with someone - a spouse or roommate or children or parents - can feel completely overwhelming because your lives are right on top of one another. Our essential freedoms just to GO OUT AND DO something is so curtailed. I am sitting here on a Saturday night not at all thrilled to be writing this here, but I keep trying to remind myself the whole world is experiencing it in one way or another. Right now, a few months ago, I would be at my favorite coffee shop writing and losing myself in the movement and the people. I feel more drained now than I have and I deal with depression and anxiety as it is.

Maybe it helps to be heard.
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#3
The social isolation is difficult in the extreme. But even worse than loneliness is being stuck with bad company. Social distancing is no cure for mental illness; if anything it tends to intensify it. Alcoholics and addicts might find this a good time to clean up their acts -- but I question whether the time makes it any easier. Liquor stores may be doing a bigger business these days because inactivity and the absence of social lives. I would suspect that the liquor stores are doing a splendid business these days.

Then come the other swinish behaviors that might be more tolerable in a person that one does not see all the time but become insufferable if one is stuck with those behaviors all the time. That the consequences of abusive behavior get more severe does not deter the abuser.

Some of us thought that this would be the time in which to revive old hobbies, read the Great Books, do correspondence (an old practice that the telephone killed), and maybe binge-watch The Honeymooners, Star Trek, M*A*S*H, Game of Thrones, or Breaking Bad -- or to listen to all of the symphonies, string quartets, or piano trios of Franz Josef Haydn. (Have any of us done that?)

This is a rough time. It is not safe to say that what doesn't kill us will make us stronger.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#4
(05-30-2020, 12:24 AM)TheNomad Wrote: This is a really good topic for now.  I cannot be the only one thinking about the utter devastation - the mass devastation - of the human psyche when locked up away from others.  It's like being in prison except in jail you do have others to interact with.  And I must add, even in grocery stores and "essential" places, human beings are not interacting the same.  I cannot smile at someone or excuse them in my path with a nod and a grin or anything close to "interaction".

I will try hard not to be a harpy about this, but we entered a really dangerous place when we decided to go hastily into all this ISOLATION.  And calling it "self" isolation, that's not even real.  We are told where we can and cannot go and how.  At least, in many states.

Agreed.  We need to eliminate the isolation and replace it with mask wearing. That's why I advocate the mask wearing - because it makes the isolation unnecessary.
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#5
Brick 
(05-31-2020, 02:25 AM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(05-30-2020, 12:24 AM)TheNomad Wrote: This is a really good topic for now.  I cannot be the only one thinking about the utter devastation - the mass devastation - of the human psyche when locked up away from others.  It's like being in prison except in jail you do have others to interact with.  And I must add, even in grocery stores and "essential" places, human beings are not interacting the same.  I cannot smile at someone or excuse them in my path with a nod and a grin or anything close to "interaction".

I will try hard not to be a harpy about this, but we entered a really dangerous place when we decided to go hastily into all this ISOLATION.  And calling it "self" isolation, that's not even real.  We are told where we can and cannot go and how.  At least, in many states.

Agreed.  We need to eliminate the isolation and replace it with mask wearing.  That's why I advocate the mask wearing - because it makes the isolation unnecessary.

Hear, hear!
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#6
(05-31-2020, 02:25 AM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(05-30-2020, 12:24 AM)TheNomad Wrote: This is a really good topic for now.  I cannot be the only one thinking about the utter devastation - the mass devastation - of the human psyche when locked up away from others.  It's like being in prison except in jail you do have others to interact with.  And I must add, even in grocery stores and "essential" places, human beings are not interacting the same.  I cannot smile at someone or excuse them in my path with a nod and a grin or anything close to "interaction".

I will try hard not to be a harpy about this, but we entered a really dangerous place when we decided to go hastily into all this ISOLATION.  And calling it "self" isolation, that's not even real.  We are told where we can and cannot go and how.  At least, in many states.

Agreed.  We need to eliminate the isolation and replace it with mask wearing.  That's why I advocate the mask wearing - because it makes the isolation unnecessary.

That seems strange to me but it's something you said.

To me, I feel isolated from everyone I see daily because of the mask.  Strangers, people in the neighborhood alike, it all feels like we are wearing "condoms" and everyone knows what that is like.  I mean, I hate condoms and would rather not even do it if I have to rubber up.  And before people jump on that idea, there are 2 (or more) human beings deciding on what risks they will or will not take in such a situation.  It seems to me, we are not approaching things as adults but as children being commanded to wear the "condom" even if the involved parties want to waive the risk factor.
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#7
(05-31-2020, 10:38 PM)TheNomad Wrote:
(05-31-2020, 02:25 AM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(05-30-2020, 12:24 AM)TheNomad Wrote: This is a really good topic for now.  I cannot be the only one thinking about the utter devastation - the mass devastation - of the human psyche when locked up away from others.  It's like being in prison except in jail you do have others to interact with.  And I must add, even in grocery stores and "essential" places, human beings are not interacting the same.  I cannot smile at someone or excuse them in my path with a nod and a grin or anything close to "interaction".

I will try hard not to be a harpy about this, but we entered a really dangerous place when we decided to go hastily into all this ISOLATION.  And calling it "self" isolation, that's not even real.  We are told where we can and cannot go and how.  At least, in many states.

Agreed.  We need to eliminate the isolation and replace it with mask wearing.  That's why I advocate the mask wearing - because it makes the isolation unnecessary.

That seems strange to me but it's something you said.

To me, I feel isolated from everyone I see daily because of the mask.  Strangers, people in the neighborhood alike, it all feels like we are wearing "condoms" and everyone knows what that is like.  I mean, I hate condoms and would rather not even do it if I have to rubber up.  And before people jump on that idea, there are 2 (or more) human beings deciding on what risks they will or will not take in such a situation.  It seems to me, we are not approaching things as adults but as children being commanded to wear the "condom" even if the involved parties want to waive the risk factor.

You can talk through the mask. The only problem in communicating comes when one talks to people who rely upon lip-reading. I have been able to pose the question "when will hand sanitizer be available?' and I can ask for fast food or to make a cash withdrawal at a window. And then there is the telephone and the Internet. 

I can do photography from a car window... and because my photography is typically of buildings or landscapes the scenery is much the same.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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