It's time to de-stigmatise gay loneliness
Loneliness is a well-studied global epidemic.
Defining loneliness is like nailing a jellyfish to the ceiling. So I go with the definition: if you feel lonely, then you are lonely.
The thing is, loneliness manifests itself in a lot of different ways. We can be alone and lonely and we can be lonely while surrounded by people. It makes us do all sorts of things as we try to connect with others (excessive social media use, oversharing, etc.).
Loneliness has many causes: grief, loss of a job, feeling isolated from those around us, disconnection from friends and family, disconnection from self.
Loneliness affects our physical, mental and emotional health and well-being. It's also part of the human condition and we all experience it at some point.
If we all suffer from loneliness at least some of the time, why do we find it so hard as a society - and gay men specifically - to admit it and talk about it? Why is there such a stigma around it?
What makes loneliness so awful that we want to make it just go away? We numb (work, excessive drug/alcohol use, sex/porn, gambling, withdrawing further), deny and avoid.
It's killing us.
As painful as loneliness is, I strongly believe that that the realisation that we are lonely is a gift and is not to be wasted.
It's important to get curious about why we gay men are lonely and use it as an opportunity to know ourselves and those around us better.
Let's get curious together.