incredible-marketing Arrow

The Loneliness Paradox Of The Modern Digital Age

Social media is perhaps one of the wildest phenomenons to ever take over mankind. If you think about it in a certain way, the few millions of years man has developed is a relatively short amount of time. If we think then about the development of the modern world, from electricity to engines, the telegram to phone calls, moving pictures to virtual reality, from email to text message to video calls, we have skyrocketed in our communication as well as our connection.

Connection has always been the golden promise of technology. Each technological advance is supposed to bring us closer together and make small the many miles which can separate us world over. Social media in particular held that promise and advertised it with all its might. Meet friends all over the world. Find people you haven’t seen in years. Connect with everyone. In many ways, social media has delivered, so much so that platforms like Facebook have become a foundation of everyday modern life. Yet, in the age of followers and friends, likes and dislikes, group threads and direct messages, people feel incredibly alone. Human beings have a foundational operation in physical contact, in person experiences, and an intrinsic need for closeness. Though we are connected through digital platforms, we are disconnected by the digital devices which those platforms operate on. As a result, we are reinforcing some of our most deeply held fears, especially if we are survivors of trauma. We fear that we’re alone. We fear we don’t belong. We fear that if we were to disappear, even from social media, people might care so little, it would be as if we never mattered at all.

Study after study has showed that increased usage of social media platforms increases mental health struggles like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and more. We’re spending hours upon hours online connecting with people through social media platforms. We’re spending time glued into our devices when we’re right in front of others, and they’re doing the same. We’re finding difficulty truly connecting. Most remarkably, we’re creating lives that look good online, lives that are so busy and full that we rarely have time for authentic connection. We’re too busy and too preoccupied with social media to do, in real life, off-screen, off-line, what we turned to social media to encourage us to do in the first place. We can’t connect with others in real ways, yet, we’re connecting to ourselves through a fake world of connecting to others digitally. By doing so, we’re telling ourselves and the world “I don’t have time for you. I don’ have time for me.”

Struggling Through Solitude

Alone time isn’t a bad thing. Feeling lonely on occasion is normal. Being alone for periods of time can be extremely healthy and important. Pervasive, problematic, dysfunctional loneliness is something else and its becoming a widespread problem in our world.

Some of us are introverts and find our place of comfort in our isolations. Others of us are extroverts and are rarely unaccompanied. The rest of us are some kind of combination of the two. Yet, who we spend time with or how often isn’t what defines our sense of loneliness. Loneliness can be a bottomless pit of struggle and despair when we’re surrounded by people, in a room of our friends and family, in the places of the world we feel happiness. Loneliness is at the bottom of every alcoholic’s bottom, the high and the withdrawal of every drug addict’s substance of choice, the binge and the purge of anyone with an eating disorder, the benefit and the cost of every problematic coping behavior we develop. Most often, we develop these coping behaviors to cope with feeling lonely, out of place, out of touch, and disconnected from ourselves as well as others.

Our time in trauma treatment helps us learn more about ourselves and the specific ways that we need to feel connected to others. After graduating treatment, it is all too easy to slip into our familiar isolating behaviors and call separation solitude, when we’re really just sitting in our loneliness and fears of being alone. We always have to return to the foundation of action to remedy our human paradox. Action means putting down the phone and calling a friend. Action means setting up coffee, lunch, movies at home, walks in the park, art therapy, or any kind of activity with someone else. Action means remembering that every single human being on the planet has issues with loneliness and most of them are in the same position we are, wanting to be connected to others. Action means connecting in healthy, authentic ways with people we can trust, and forgiving ourselves when we connect with people we can’t trust. Action means living life in a way which fills the void of loneliness in a productive way. Action means nurturing and healing ourselves to know that we’re never truly alone.

When you graduate trauma treatment, the rubber meets the road, as it is said. To live successfully in recovery from trauma, addictions, or related mental health issues, we need the care and professionalism of an experienced, specialized staff who provide us excellence in treatment. Our alumni learn how to thrive in their lives not in spite of trauma, but because of it. We’re always here to welcome those in need of help at The Guest House Ocala. Call us today for information and resources: 1-855-483-7800