What does loneliness look like?

What does a lonely person look like?

What does a person who feels very detached from her friends look like?

What does someone drowning in her own negative thoughts look like?

What does someone on constant high alert look like?

What does someone having hourly anxiety attacks look like?

What does someone using alcohol to try to banish the intrusive thoughts look like?

In this photo I am age 22 on a girls holiday in Turkey. This is me with my sister who joined us for a week, I was holidaying with my best friends.

We spent two weeks in the sunshine, I was surrounded by friendship, with constant chatter, gossip and laughter. By day we soaked in the sun and by night we dressed up, ate lovely food and partied. Every night you could find me singing at the local karaoke bar, dancing like no one was watching… sometimes on the bar. To anyone watching I was the party girl, having the best time, care free.

Yet I was extremely lonely. I was having daily, sometimes hourly, anxiety attacks. I was scared.

At times I felt so detached from my friends. At times I was so lost in my own thoughts I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I struggled to eat and was using alcohol to get through the days and nights. This is no reflection on them at all. It wasn’t their fault I felt lonely. At the time I didn’t know why I felt so lonely.

Yet I now know why. I had PTSD and generalised anxiety - it would take me 4 more years to discover this... by then it had become a lot more complex 🫣

Don’t get me wrong I do have some great memories from that holiday yet to this day the stack of photos (most that I captured) bring back the memories of loneliness and trigger some painful thoughts. Yet the photos tell a very different story (some will never be revealed 😅😅) as it looks like I was having so much fun.

It is mental health awareness week. The theme is loneliness. Do you really know who is lonely within your circle?

Please be kind to everyone around you. If you know someone is lonely then reach out to them. If you don’t know someone is lonely then reach out to them… and always ask twice if someone is ok.

If you are reading this and feel lonely, please know that it can be changed. There are so many tools and services that can help you overcome your challenges, release the traumas and help you reconnect with yourself and others… you can feel less lonely in your circle once more ❤️

Be kind always. Mental illness doesn’t have a look.