Chronic Illness, Disability and Loneliness (Part 2): Introduction
Loneliness is a widespread problem, which doesn’t just affect the elderly. Those with chronic illness or disability experience more loneliness than the general population. Chronic illness, disability and loneliness is a big topic. So, here it’s broken in two blog posts, part one is available here.
Part one looks at:
- chronic illness, disability and mental health
- what is loneliness?
- my own experiences
- and yours
This is part two, which covers:
- types of loneliness
- health risks of loneliness
- how to access help
Types of Loneliness
Loneliness can manifest in various forms, here I include 7 common types. They are: emotional, social, existential, situational, chronic, transient and cognitive. We may experience one or many types simultaneously. It is possible to also experience a blend or even another type (this is not an exhaustive list).
1. Emotional Loneliness: This is the feeling of missing deep emotional connections with others. You might experience this when you lack close friends or intimate relationships.
2. Social Loneliness: This type involves feeling isolated from social groups or communities. It can occur when you don’t have a sense of belonging or when you’re excluded from social events.
3. Existential Loneliness: This is a deeper sense of isolation related to questions about life’s meaning and purpose. It can arise when you feel disconnected from the world or struggle with existential questions.
4. Situational Loneliness: This type is temporary and results from specific life circumstances, like moving to a new place, going through a breakup, or experiencing a major life change.
5. Chronic Loneliness: Some people experience long-term, persistent loneliness, often due to a lack of fulfilling relationships or social connections. It can have negative effects on mental and physical health.
6. Transient Loneliness: This is a fleeting feeling of loneliness that comes and goes. It’s a normal part of life and often occurs even in the presence of social connections.
7. Cognitive Loneliness: This type involves feeling intellectually isolated, where you may have unique thoughts or interests that others don’t share, leading to a sense of disconnect. Understanding the specific type of loneliness you’re experiencing can help you address it more effectively and seek appropriate support or solutions.