The Anxiety of Loneliness

October 7, 2020 TJ DeSalvo

I’ve been living in a new place for nearly three months, and the anxiety of loneliness is getting to me. This place is more removed from basically all of my close friends and family, so I’m not going to be able to visit them as often as I once was. Obviously, this has been difficult for me. This post is my attempt to try and come to terms with that.

Anxiety Due to Loneliness, Not Necessarily Being Alone

The first thing I want to get at is that there is a big difference between feeling lonely and being alone. Specifically, you can feel lonely without necessarily being alone.

I live in a large city – it would be impossible for me to be alone here. But the paradoxical thing about that is it’s actually really easy to feel lonely. Overcoming loneliness is a matter of finding a genuine connection with someone, and that isn’t as easy as it sounds. As much as it helps to try to put yourself out there and meet other new people, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. So when your primary group somehow becomes more distant, it can be difficult to replace.

How to Combat the Anxiety of Loneliness

If you are in a similar situation as I am, though it is less than ideal, there are ways you can feel less lonely. The obvious one would be to do as much as possible to continue communicating with them digitally. Modern technology has given us endless options to keep in close contact with people, even if they’re far away. There’s no substitute for actually being there with the person, but in the absence of any alternatives, doing that is an invaluable strategy.

Now, the tricky thing is actually finding other people around you to further mitigate the anxiety of loneliness. It’s tricky because, as I said before, it isn’t like you can just choose to find a new close friend and then have it magically be so. The close friends I have now didn’t come about because I actively sought them out – actually, for most of them, I don’t even remember how I met them because I’m assuming, the circumstances were so everyday that the details weren’t worth remembering.

All this may make it seem like a hard thing to do. But actually, I don’t think it is. Because if one finds a close friend in the most everyday circumstances, all you have to do is continue your everyday life, and eventually something will come of it.

I will say, though, that the most important aspect of this whole process is always keeping an open heart for the prospect of finding a new friend. If you’ve closed yourself off, if you’ve consigned yourself to loneliness for the rest of your life, then you’ve already lost. But keeping your heart open means that any potential interaction has the capability of transforming into a lifelong friendship. Will it happen all the time. Of course not. But I would argue that it’s better to live under the shadow of that potentiality than to have given up.

Have you experienced the anxiety of loneliness? Tell me your story in the comments.

APA Reference
DeSalvo, T. (2020, October 7). The Anxiety of Loneliness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 18 from

Author: TJ DeSalvo

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October, 8 2020 at 1:53 pm

My partner of 28 years died from complications arising from immunotherapy and radiation therapy that were recklessly being used to treat his lung cancer. After his death, I felt like my entire world had been ripped away from me. I lived with my partner’s family for about three years, but then decided that perhaps living on my own, would help the grieving process. Well it did not.
Living alone in a small apartment with all the things we had shared worsened my grieving and quickly spiraling into depression and loneliness anxiety. I have difficulty sleeping at night, have little appetite for food and whenever I am returning to my apartment from visiting someone, I feel a great deal of angst. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic intensified the need to isolate and also my loneliness anxiety.
Although I have been seeing a grievance counselor since my partner’s death, my state of grief and loneliness anxiety seems to worsen. Since my therapist does not have a license to prescribe anti anxiety meds, I have asked my PCP for a prescription for Valium, but she totally refuses. In the meantime, I live with high anxiety.

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