We’ve all experienced it. That hollow feeling of loneliness.
Even while surrounded by people, it’s possible to feel utterly alone. And most times, it seems like no one even notices.
You’re left wondering if you’re invisible or just really good at hiding your feelings.
You’re not alone in this. It might shock you to know that many people feel the same way and brush these feelings under the carpet.
But here’s the thing – it might not be as invisible as you think. There are subtle signs of loneliness that are often overlooked by everyone, including us, and in this piece, we’ll dissect six of them.
Some may make you uncomfortable.
But remember, my intention isn’t to make you feel worse. Rather, I aim to shed light on these signs so we can tackle them head-on.
Maybe you’re already aware of some of them…
Let’s dive in and see.
1) You’re withdrawing from social interactions
This was a big one for me.
There was a period in my life when all I wanted to do was retreat into my shell. I stopped hanging out with friends, avoided social events, and even started distancing myself from my family.
I thought I just needed some alone time. But the more I withdrew, the lonelier I felt. It was like a vicious cycle.
Isolating oneself is a common sign of loneliness. It seems counterintuitive, right? But that’s how it works sometimes. You feel alone so you isolate yourself, which only makes you feel more alone.
Now, consider how this withdrawal could impact your energy levels. It’s not just about being physically alone; it’s about how that isolation drains you.
2) You’re constantly feeling tired
Another telltale sign of loneliness is constant fatigue. No matter how much sleep you get, you still wake up feeling drained.
I remember waking up after a full 8 hours of sleep and still feeling like I’d run a marathon. My body was tired, but it was more than that – it was like my soul was tired too.
This isn’t just about physical exhaustion; it’s about emotional exhaustion as well.
Loneliness tends to weigh heavily on us, making us feel drained and weary most of the time. If you’re constantly feeling this way, it might be a sign that you’re lonely.
Feeling tired during our waking hours can indicate that more aspects of our lives are impacted by loneliness, particularly, the quality of our sleep.
3) Your sleep is disrupted
You’re tossing and turning, looking at the clock, counting sheep – but sleep just doesn’t come. Or perhaps you fall asleep only to wake up several times throughout the night.
Disrupted sleep is another sign of loneliness. It’s like your mind is so filled with thoughts and feelings that it’s hard to find peace even in sleep.
There’s something incredibly lonely about lying awake in the middle of the night when the rest of the world is sleeping. It’s a silent struggle, one that leaves you feeling more alone than ever.
If you find yourself regularly battling with insomnia or erratic sleep patterns, it might be a sign that you’re dealing with loneliness.
How our bodies feel, and how we treat them can often be a reflection of our inner state. This is particularly true not only about our sleep quality, but also when it comes to how we deal with food during times of loneliness.
4) You’re overeating or undereating
Changes in appetite can be a clear sign of loneliness. Some people tend to overeat when they’re lonely, while others lose their appetite entirely.
According to a study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior, loneliness can trigger an increase in the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite.
This could explain why some people tend to binge eat when they’re feeling lonely. On the flip side, emotional distress can also lead to loss of appetite for others.
Either way, significant changes in your eating habits might be your body’s way of signalling that you’re feeling lonely.
It’s worth mentioning that emotions rarely come alone, so loneliness likely won’t be the only thing you feel…
5) You’re feeling more anxious
I’ve always been somewhat of an overthinker.
But during a particularly lonely phase of my life, I noticed that my anxiety levels were through the roof. I was constantly worried about the future, filled with self-doubt, and always second-guessing myself.
It was like I was stuck in my own head, and the more I thought, the more anxious I became. This endless cycle of worry and stress was exhausting.
Anxiety can be a side effect of loneliness. When you’re alone, it’s easy to get caught up in negative thought patterns, which can lead to increased anxiety.
If you find yourself feeling more anxious than usual and can’t quite put your finger on why, it might be a sign that you’re feeling lonely.
With such intense emotions, it is only natural to withdraw from some of the activities that we used to enjoy…
6) You’re losing interest in your hobbies
Remember that painting class you used to love?
Or those hiking trips that would leave you feeling refreshed and alive? If you find yourself no longer interested in these activities that once brought you joy, it might be a sign of loneliness.
I recall a time when even my favorite hobby, photography, felt like a chore. The passion and excitement I once had seemed to have faded into the background. It was a silent indicator that loneliness had crept into my life.
Loneliness can strip the joy from activities we used to love, leaving us feeling detached and disinterested.
f you’re experiencing this, it could be a sign that you’re dealing with feelings of loneliness.
And finally, probably the most telling and prevalent sign…
7) You’re feeling a chronic sense of sadness
Feeling lonely can often manifest as a lingering sense of sadness. It’s like a cloud that hangs over your head, casting a shadow on even the brightest days.
During my loneliest times, I found myself feeling inexplicably sad. Even when everything seemed to be going well, there was this underlying sadness that I couldn’t shake off.
It’s important to understand that occasional bouts of sadness are normal, but if you’re constantly feeling this way without any apparent reason, it could be due to loneliness.
Recognizing these signs is the first step towards addressing loneliness.
Remember, it’s okay to feel lonely sometimes. What’s important is not to ignore these feelings but to acknowledge them and seek help when necessary.
You’re not alone in this; help is always available.