You Are Not Alone • ep. 093

A tween or tween girl with curly black hair sits on a bed and leans on the shoulder of another girl with curly black hair who has her arm around her, both girls knowing she is not alone.

How Are You

I wanna check in with you gals and ask, how are you doing? Like really, how are things going, how have you been? Hopefully you’re doing well, but if you’ve felt lonely lately, or whenever you do in the future, this episode is for you.

We Feel Lonely

Loneliness has been on the rise over the past few years. Multiple studies and polls have shown this, especially among young people. So if you’re feeling lonely, you’re not alone. There are a lot of reasons we feel lonely.

More Busy = Connecting Less

I think one of the biggest reasons is we’re not connecting with people in person as much as we used to, in a lot of ways. Today your lives are busier than ever: your schedules are packed with school, clubs, work, sports, after school activities, and homework. Even at lunch you hardly have time to talk to each other. And the stakes are higher in all you’re involved in–gotta overachieve, be ultra-competitive, and out-perform your peers so you stand out. With all that rigid structure, there’s not much room for free play, hanging out, and interaction. Today’s kids spend less time with their friends than previous generations. Part of that is because you’re so busy, and you don’t have time to connect, so you feel more lonely.

Devices Aren’t Connecting Us

Another reason, like it or not, is the impact of smartphones and social media. In some ways we are more connected to each other digitally–like you can instantly text a classmate, or check friends’ posts to see what they’re up to, or video chat with people on the other side of the world. But the connections we make with people through devices are not as strong as the connections we make in-person. And like I said, you’re not spending as much time with people in real life. You get together through your phones. And even if you are together in-person, often everybody has a phone in their face and they’re not actually engaging in conversation making connections with each other. On top of all that, smartphones and social media also have big downsides: FOMO seeing what others are doing and you’re not, content that makes you feel worse, and unfortunately cyberbullying. So it makes sense why, even though we’re connected to others through devices, we feel more isolated.

We Feel Alone in Struggles

A lot of times we feel alone because of conflicts with our family, friends, other relationships; or we’ve experienced mistreatment, discrimination, or abuse. Also we have personal struggles with puberty, mental illness like depression and anxiety, body image, disordered eating, or other health struggles. Those are all heavy to experience and hard to talk about, and because they’re internal battles we can’t see anyone else going through it that can understand us, so we feel especially lonely.

You Are Not Alone

I want you to know, actually, I NEED you to know: you are not alone. I know it seems that way, it feels that way, but you don’t have to go through this alone. There are people who can relate and resources that can offer you support. When you notice you feel alone, you might respond by withdrawing even more. But that’s only gonna make you feel even more lonely. If you’re not quite ready to reach out to someone, here are a few things that could help.

Resources To Help

Journaling: write down all of the thoughts that are swirling around in your head. Put them on paper so you don’t have to hold them in–let them out. Share what’s going on, what you’ve been thinking, how you’ve been feeling. Use as many pages as necessary to release it all. Writing can be therapeutic, meditative, and reflective. It may also help you start to process what’s going on and even brainstorm solutions or just the next step forward. You could also write down a few things you’re grateful for, or things that aren’t going wrong/might be going well, to help you keep perspective so you don’t continually spiral downward. Try journaling.

Music/Poetry: listening to someone else say, sing, or play how you feel can be very cathartic. Especially when you don’t know anyone personally who’s been through your experience, music and poetry are powerful artforms when you recognize someone else can express how you feel, the writer really gets you, making you not so lonely. You turn on a song, have a good cry for a few minutes as it plays, and a lot of times you feel better by the end of the song. Knowing there is someone else in the world, even just one person who understands you can help you recognize you’re not alone.

Talk to someone: let them know how you feel. A close friend, a trusted adult, a parent, a sibling–tell someone why you’re feeling alone. And it’s not so they can solve your problem, because they may not be able to, but it’s so you don’t have to keep feeling lonely when you know you have a person you can talk to. And I recommend talking to them in-person, but if that’s not a possibility, then reach out via video chat, text, DM, email, or a note you can give someone and talk to them in-person later. You may find that the person you talk to can relate to what you’re going through, and then you’ll both not feel so alone. Remember, we need more connection with people to help us not feel lonely, so talk to someone.

Support group: having multiple people who understand or have experienced something similar can be very strengthening. A support group could be a few friends, it could be a coaching group with a mentor in-person or online, it could be a meeting with kids your age and a therapist leading discussions. Hearing multiple perspectives from people, even when you’re in different stages of the process, can be encouraging for you. It’s like a mini community helping you know you’re not alone.

Therapy: working with a licensed therapist can really help people work through their struggles. Therapists can offer compassion and perspective, and can share tools to help you deal with future challenges. I’ve seen how therapy has helped myself and many others. Of course in the name of connection, I recommend in-person therapy, however it can still be effective virtually and there are many resources that offer that.

Get Help

If you ever feel so incredibly alone, or feel you’re in crisis, but you don’t know who you can talk to, in the US you can call the crisis lifeline at 9-8-8, or text 7-4-1-7-4-1. If you live outside the US, do a quick online search of your country and “crisis line” to find the number you can reach out to.

I’m gonna say it again. You are not alone. I know this because I get messages from countless girls who feel the way you do, who have, if not the same, very similar concerns and struggles. They understand you. You are not alone. Please know that I love you. There are people in your life who love you and who want to help you not feel alone. There are also resources that can offer you support, and I hope you’ll reach out to those so you’ll know that you are not alone. 

You Are Not Alone Poster Printable

I created a “You Are Not Alone” poster for you to print out, personalize, and post on your wall where you’ll see it, remember it, practice it, and believe it — that’s the important part.



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