More and more millennials are succumbing to the deep disconnect of loneliness, according to a new survey.
Often ignored, misconstrued for over-thinking — loneliness is the one problem today’s youngsters are grappling with. Best depicted in the young adult series, 13 Reasons Why, where the 17-year-old Hannah feels so lonely that she decides to end her life,. This is a reality in many young lives today, be it due to the technology-savvy lives they lead or the immediate gratification this generation aspires for.
A recent survey conducted by BBC shows that youngsters, especially people between the ages of 16 to 24, are found to be the loneliest. We spoke to millennials to find out whether this is true and how they can learn ways to tackle this deep disconnect.
Rama Udaseen, an interior designing student, says, “There was a recent episode where I felt really alone. It changed my perception about friendships and that is what mattered to me most. People today don’t take relationships seriously. You see posts online, you meet up but do you really know one another? To avoid feeling this way, I keep myself occupied. Currently, I’m going to take up pottery classes. Not only will it keep me busy, I will also get to learn something new.”
On the other hand, there are a few who believe that loneliness is not a dire problem, whatever age it may be. Delving deeper, Arun Joseph, a BA graduate, opens up. “I don’t believe that people between the ages of 16-24 are depressed. Despite what is said and done, we do what we want; it is not welcomed by family and friends. That might be a reason as to why people move away from society and live an anti-social life. We feel loneliness at some point or the other in life. I don’t think age is a factor. The expectations people have from the younger age group are high. People older also feel lonely, especially if there is a great deal of expectation on them as well. I think loneliness is a stage where we start thinking too much about ourselves.”
Emphasising the importance of mental health, we talk to experts to find out what the cause and remedy can be.
Priyanka MB, a clinical psychologist, says, “According to a theory by Erik Erickson, this is the age when youngsters face identity-role conflicts, and ponder between intimacy and isolation. While they try to introspect, work on their identity and explore relationships, they face various obstacles along the way. The root cause of loneliness amongst youngsters is the same. It elevates to a different level based on the kind of childhood experiences they have had. Relationships and their meaning have also changed over time. The intimacy and level of closeness people share today is very different.”
Talking about the problem at the ground level, Manoj Sharma, a psychologist from NIMHANS, throws light on how one can manage such feelings in a healthy manner, “It is important to understand your feelings of loneliness; when do you feel lonely; what makes you lonely. Maintain a diary, it will help you know yourself better, and what makes you feel better. This will help you understand what feelings are associated when you feel this way. It is important to be reassured that you are not the only one who is lonely, avoid the use of substance or technology to manage such feelings. The best way to tackle it is by learning methods of relaxation or indulging in activities that comfort you. It is also advisable to involve in family-based recreational activities.”
As youngsters who shape our tomorrow, it is important for us to value mental health; to not consider it a passing phase, and to act on the problem when loneliness strikes.