Aug 01, 2016
Tagged with: Loneliness


There is no pill for loneliness.  So said by a friend of mine who has bipolar disorder and a visual impairment.  How right he is.  There are many things we can treat with pills – high blood pressure, arthritis, ADHD, headaches … but the cure for loneliness requires something much bigger and even more vital for our health:  relationships.

Babies stop growing if they are not touched enough, even when receiving proper nutrition.  If lack of touch continues, babies die – literally.  We, humans, are social animals.  We need each other.  And, it’s not just babies who die without proper care, it’s all of us.  So says the study below:

Loneliness Can Kill, Literally – Huffington Post

For people with disabilities, the risk of loneliness is greater than the population at large, according to this study published in the United Kingdom.

Why are a quarter of disabled people lonely? – BBC News – BBC.com

Loneliness is on its way to reaching epidemic proportions – even larger than that of the obesity epidemic.  See 2016 Washington Post article below:

Loneliness grows from individual ache to public health hazard – The …

We are living in an age of virtual relationships.  Yes, it’s lovely to snapchat and link in and facebook.  But, what are we experiencing?  Certainly not touch or eye contact or the profound feeling of in person connection.  I suppose that’s the bad news.  The good news is we can stop this loneliness epidemic – together!  Here are a few proposals:

Celebrate National Friendship Day, Sunday, August 7th!  Let’s call someone we haven’t talked to for a while.  Better yet, go see someone we haven’t seen for a while.  Or, let’s go someplace new and smile at 5 people we are not friends with – yet!

Notice our neighbors.  Are there people living near us that we could be friendlier with?  Could we bring the paper or the mail to someone’s door and introduce ourselves?

Put our devices down for an extra hour per day.  Look at people’s faces when we are with them.  Really talk.  Really listen.

Mother Teresa said, “Peace begins with a smile.”  I daresay a smile might also be the beginning of the end of loneliness.


Author: Elizabeth Vander Kamp

  • bobl07

    This post is very important for people who have a disability at an older age. I also think that, just like other teen, a teen with a disability can struggle with this issue. It was very important for me as a youth to stay as active as I could be. In school, they did not allow me to play football, but I was part of the speech and debate team. This allowed me to be involved with schoolmates and travel to tournaments for competition. It was very instrumental in my development as a teen.

  • Elizabeth Vander Kamp

    Thank you, Bob, for your comment. I think it is an important topic, too, for any age, perhaps especially teenagers because they look to their peers for validation.

  • Bob McKenna

    Elizabeth, Great article! Since sustaining a spiral cord injury 30 years ago, I have found that I have deeper and closer friendships because I decided to radically love myself and share my ‘true self’ with the world. It may sound so obvious, but others can’t love me 100% until I share who I truly am 100%. They can only love what I allow them to ”see”. Friends and family can be ‘freaked out’ by my honesty and compassion, but ultimately they open up about their own thoughts because they know they are safe with me. We are able to change this existence by reaching out to others and creating the world we want to live in: one of peace, love, and harmony. So fly your freak flag at high mast everyone! Our adversities are opportunities to grow. Normal is boring. So when I have pangs of loneliness and self doubt, it’s a clear indicator that I need to make some new dreams a reality.

  • Elizabeth Vander Kamp

    Brother Bob!!!!! Can I get an Amen on the freak flag flying at high mast! Thank you for being a beacon of light in this world and lining the way with love, peace, and harmony! Thank you, too, for your thoughtful comments.

  • julia

    I have been noticing lately how often I’ve been willing to just be in touch electronically with people, such that I expect that to be the interaction we’re having… it does not actually feel like friendship does. it’s not the same as chatting in the kitchen together while preparing a meal…or going on a walk together, even in silence. also, years ago, when I first received a text, I remember it feeling as though I was being “touched” by someone, when, I wasn’t. There is no substitution for the presence of another being. Thank you for this post.

  • Elizabeth Vander Kamp

    Julia, thank you for your thoughtful insights. I could not agree more about there being no substitute for the presence of another being. I hope our beings can be together sometime soon! In all mediocrity and love, Elizabeth