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  • Good morning, Hank. It's Tuesday. Here's a sunset from North Carolina.

  • I'm exhausted and exhilarated from the Project for Awesome,

  • which this year has raised over $1.3 million dollars for charity.

  • The fundraiser will be up for another couple days; you can learn more at

  • So this video is about loneliness, and if you are feeling lonely or concerned about your mental health,

  • there is help and there is hope.

  • Okay, when I was in my mid-20s, I experienced a bout of intense loneliness and isolation

  • that was correlated with serious depression. I was living in an apartment building with very thin walls,

  • and so I could hear people all the time. And I had a job, so I saw people every day,

  • including people who cared about me. And thanks to the emerging tools of the Internet,

  • I could Instant Message with anyone I knew anywhere in the world any time.

  • I wasn't short on connective opportunities; I was just short on connection.

  • And the more isolated I felt, the less capable I felt of escaping isolation.

  • When I did talk to people, I often couldn't listen to them well or engage deeply with them,

  • because I was so overwhelmed by my own sadness and worry.

  • But that's just one of the many vicious cycles of loneliness.

  • Feeling isolated made me feel unworthy of love, which made me feel more isolated.

  • The thought of calling people I'd long failed to call flooded me with dread,

  • which made me less likely to call them.

  • And feeling despair made me feel useless, which made me feel more despair.

  • One of the biggest challenges of isolation for me is that I start to feel as if the whole thing is meaningless.

  • Human consciousness is an absolute wonder.

  • I mean, how wild is it that our minds can conceive of the infinite from within a finite universe?

  • But when I'm really lonely, I start to feel like my consciousness isn't for anything,

  • like it isn't serving any shared or greater purpose.

  • I sometimes feel as if my life is just circling its own misery like a vulture over a carcass.

  • And that pain makes me want to withdraw further from the stupid world

  • with its stupid people who believe in stupid b.s., which in turn worsens the pain of meaninglessness,

  • and furthers my isolation, and so on.

  • I'm situating this video in the deep past of twenty years ago,

  • but the truth is that a similar feeling of isolation began to pull me under much more recently.

  • I again started to feel separate from the world, and like everything was a sick joke.

  • And even though I had friends and family members who loved me,

  • I still felt as if I was floating away from all of them.

  • In both cases, these cycles were broken in the end by treating my chronic health problem

  • like a chronic health problemwhich for me means taking medication and going to therapy regularly,

  • but it also means understanding that loneliness is a problem I need to address actively,

  • by being intentional about finding or refinding community.

  • This is hard at firstbreaking cycles always isbut it gets easier, and it's always worth the trouble.

  • Some of those communities I've become more involved in are built around a shared enthusiasm

  • Liverpool Football Club, for instance; others are built around activism, or around my physical neighborhood.

  • Quitting the social internet has also helped me to address my loneliness,

  • because I used those platforms so unhealthily,

  • by engaging in superficial connection that left me feeling deeply alone.

  • But it is not only IRL communities that can run deep, as I was reminded this weekend.

  • Although I am a very introverted person, for me feelings of meaning and purpose

  • flow from the experience of deep connectedness,

  • of being part of communities that are bigger than me but nonetheless value and include me.

  • I hope some of you felt that way during the Project for Awesome this year.

  • I know that for me, the P4A showed up when I really needed to be reminded

  • that what we can accomplish together is truly cause for hope.

  • Hank, I'll see you on Friday.

Good morning, Hank. It's Tuesday. Here's a sunset from North Carolina.

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B1 loneliness isolation isolated felt despair stupid

On Loneliness

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/30
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