There’s a lot of conversations about loneliness recently as it’s been a discussion topic for mental health awareness week. Feeling lonely can affect your mental and health and we often hear members of the Online Community talk about how lonely they feel.
We’re talking about loneliness in this blog so why not stay and read more if you’re looking for some company, or to find others who are also feeling the same as you.
The past couple of years during the coronavirus pandemic, most people have experienced loneliness as social interaction was stopped and we were told to stay at home to keep safe. For a lot of people, feelings of isolation and loneliness doesn’t just come from being physically alone, but something that can is often felt when you’re affected by cancer.
“The last 12 months have been a nightmare and finding out I've got testicular cancer recently is just the icing on the cake. I’m struggling really bad trying to deal with everything and I feel so alone.”
Community member, Testicular cancer forum
"I am really struggling having no voice to communicate with people and am finding it very lonely as I don't know anyone else in the same place as me so that's why I joined here to see if I can make some connections or friends xx"
Community member, Larynx cancer forum
Community members are often talking about feeling alone when it comes to their personal cancer experiences. We know how important social connection can be and the benefit of joining Macmillan’s Online Community is that there’s thousands of people who understand how you’re feeling.
Feeling alone when people are around you
Having people around you can still leave you feeling lonely. You may wonder why you are feeling this way as you have family and friends by your side. The feeling of loneliness can come from those around you not truly understanding what you’re going through either living with cancer or supporting someone with cancer.
“There is no magic trick to deal with this, but this forum helped me enormously as it felt like my world was closing in on me and I felt so utterly alone and lost. everything I looked at tore me to pieces as I would see it without him. It was just awful. This form made me realise I’m not alone. It is so supportive and comforting to be able to share feelings her without judgement and receive love and support on return.”
Community member, Carer’s only forum
“Of course everyone is different but it is a guide and makes you feel less alone, sometimes you have the best family and friends but they can't understand exactly what you're going through like someone in your shoes."
Community member, Womb (uterus) cancer forum
“Firstly, hang in there, you are not alone and this chat forum is full of so much optimism, hope, support and success stories. I am reasonably new here too, I have found it to be a comfort even knowing we are all in this unwanted journey together.”
Community member, Breast cancer forum
Feeling lonely after losing a loved one
The loss of a loved one can leave you feeling lonely as you’re missing them. You don’t have to go grieve by yourself as our Bereaved spouses and partners forum and our Bereaved family and friends forum are spaces for you to get support. There’s lots of other members sharing this space to talk about how they are coping following a loss of a loved one, reading some of the posts below may help you feel less alone in your grief.
“Everyone on here knows what you are going through, you are not alone on here.”
Community member, Bereaved family and friends forum
“Having read these posts, I am so glad I am not alone in feeling the way I am right now. Its been 15 months since my wife died and I genuinely thought that I was getting there …but, like many here it would seem, I still feel lost and so so tired at times. Understandably, people move on with their lives and I think there is an expectation or belief that I am doing the same. I am trying but it seems now, at times, to be even harder than a year ago. And love my friends and family as I do, I know that they really don't get it.”
Community member, Bereaved spouses and partners forum
Feeling alone when supporting a loved one
Being a carer and supporting a loved one can bring a range of emotional and practical challenges. It’s not uncommon to feel lonely when you’re supporting someone as you may have stopped working or attending social events to provide more time to offer support.
Sometimes not having all the information about your loved one’s situation can make you feel lonely as you’re involved in their care. Of course, it’s an individual’s choice what information they share with you, but the dealing with the unknown can make you feel lonely with processing everything.
“Dad knows he very poorly but will not ask life expectancy which is driving me insane because there's so much we want to do and don’t know how much time we have to do it. I feel so alone and just don't know where to turn.”
Community member, Supporting someone with incurable cancer forum
There’s other carer’s, family members and friends in the below Community groups who are regularly supporting each other. Having someone who is also in a similar situation can make you feel less alone why not join and post in the below groups:
Don’t forget that the Macmillan Support Line is there to lend a listening ear and offer emotional, practical and financial support, every day from 8am to 8pm. You’re welcome to get in touch if you need some additional support and someone to talk to by calling 0808 808 00 00 (for free), send an email or use live webchat during the opening hours.
The information pages on the Macmillan website can help explain how to cope with loneliness. Hopefully the above blog helps to reassure you and offer some comfort when you're feeling lonely.
Why not post a supportive message in the comment box below so those who read this blog know they are not alone.
I have never felt lonely before but I do now. I have two different types of unrelated cancers which need surgery and probably ongoing treatment. My wife has switched off emotionally. Some sort of coping mechanism because she fears losing me. But she wont talk or listen to me. This is killing our relationship at a time when we need to be closer and I have no idea what to do about it.
It’s Megan here from Macmillan’s Online Community team, thank you for posting in the blog comment section. I’m sorry to hear how you’re feeling and what’s brought you to the Community, from what you’ve said I’m glad you’re reaching out for some support.
I had a look at your profile and noticed that you’d not yet joined any Community groups so if you’d like to tell us a little more about your diagnosis, we’d be happy to help you find the relevant support here on the site.
Our Community groups are safe and supportive spaces for you to chat to others, ask questions and offer support back The New to the Community forum can be a good place to start. You’d be welcome to start a discussion and talk to others who can understand what you’re going through.
We know cancer can affect personal relationships in different ways and sometimes it can help to talk things through with someone who’s there to listen. The Macmillan Support Line teams are there to help and they’re available to help 7 days a week from 8am-8pm. To get in touch you can call freephone 0808 808 00 00, send an email or use live webchat during the opening hours.
When you contact the Support Line there will be options to speak to the Information Nurse Specialists, the Information and Support advisers, and the Money and Work teams. They can provide emotional support, practical information, and financial guidance alongside offering a listening ear.
I hope the above information is helpful and if you have any questions about using the Online Community or finding additional support, please don’t hesitate to get back in touch. You can contact the Online Community team every day by sending a private message to the Moderator account, or by emailing email@example.com.
It is very difficult when faced with a situation that seems to offer no hope. Having lost many special people over the years, I was given the following and I carry it with me everywhere as it really speaks to me. I hope some of you will resonate with the content: Some things cannot be fixed; they can only be carried. Grief like yours, love like yours, can only be carried.
Survival in grief, even eventually building a new life alongside grief, comes with the willingness to bear witness, both to yourself and to the others who find themselves inside this life they didn’t see coming. Together, we create real hope for ourselves, and for one another. We need each other to survive.
I wish this for you: to find the people you belong with, the ones who will see your pain, companion you, hold you close, even as the heavy lifting of grief is yours alone. As hard as they may seem to find at times, your community is out there. Look for them. Collect them. Knit them into a vast flotilla of light that can hold you. Megan Devine “It’s OK not to be OK”
Thank you for posting your supportive message IFixEverything. I'm sure those reading your post will draw some support from it.
I hope as a member of the Online Community you’ll find it to be a friendly and comforting space to connect with others who can understand how you may be feeling. If you need any help using the site or finding the support you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Online Community team.