Loneliness is not simply feeling alone, or even simply not talking to anyone. Some people need time to themselves, and that's ok. Some people don't like having friends, and that's ok as well. But loneliness is a different beast. Loneliness is more than a state of being, it is a state of mind. It is the belief, or perception, of being alone, isolated, without connection to others. It is often associated with a craving for human contact.
For me, loneliness is very much this. It is strong, and as I look back through time I see I have been this way since I was a small child.
As a child, I cannot remember positive contact. I would get spankings from my step-dad as a child, but I can't recall ever receiving positive contact. No hugs or kisses, no holding hands. I received very little in the way of physical contact as a child, which I believe is a factor in the development of my loneliness.
Another factor is this. I cannot recall ever in my life having a serious conversation with my parents. I cannot recall ever having meaningful conversation or development of emotional connections. Now, as I look back I can see the issues they struggles with. But we belong to a church that focuses on the development of the family unit, and so it is difficult to accept sometimes that they are my family. We believe that families can be together forever as family units in heaven. This is a very important doctrine to us. And yet, there was a time when I would have preferred to suffer in hell than to be with them forever. I cannot convey the intensity of what that means to someone who does not believe as I do, but surely you can grasp some concept of that. That I would have chosen hell over heaven with my family.
But things change, and we grow. I no longer have that view, for multiple reasons that I won't state here. But can you understand how it is that I became so lonely? Of course there is much not spoken here, but can you see the pain and suffering, the isolation? It is a miserable thing, and that is why I do all I can to reach out to others, so that if there is anything I am able to do, they no longer feel alone. And because I know the pain of this, as do many, I decided that it is my responsibility to help. To show people the pain they ignore as they stare into the eyes of the masks that we wear.