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Case Studies:

Loneliness.

Ashim, an energetic young man of 26 years was bursting in laughter in the office canteen. He is a sincere worker & seems to have a bright future ahead. Ashim’s feeling of loneliness has crept in to his life for the past few years.

No, this is not only the longing ness for a partner; the loneliness is not accompanied with severe depression;neither he feels isolated as he is always in a group & prefers to be with others-so it is a loneliness that is slightly different from the typical pattern.

Most of us experience loneliness at some point in our lives. Traditionally loneliness was considered to be just one aspect of more encompassing psychological distress, such as depression or anxiety, and then about a decade ago loneliness began to be viewed as a unique phenomenon – a problem in its own right.

The young generations today, who are social, extrovert & mixing freely in groups often suffer from prangs of loneliness where they feel all alone even when they are surrounded with friends & colleagues!As Ashim pointed out “In today’s life we may have many friends, but they do not really meet the expectations of a true friend- who is always there in the time of joy & sorrow. Moreover, after regular office hours, which generally extend till night we do not get any time to go out, move with friends & family apart from Sunday’s. We are all too busy now to spend time on friends.”

“Infact today’s friends are all self centered, flocked together for attaining a common interest, but never have emotional attachments to other fellow members.”

Roshan, 9 year old from a reputed school of south Kolkata rightly pointed out “we are all competitors in our school. This we have learnt & developed from an early age & we always want to supercede others when we play or study & never consider our classmates as true friends.”

Mamata, mother of a twelve year old girl tells anxiously, “you know there is a feeling of intense groupism in school, in the club of children. Though they play together, run together, chat together-but the feeling of togetherness seems to be lacking in them.” Mamata even adds that this is probably the cause of growth & development of so many child guidance clinics today like mushrooms.Children today are under severe stress & also a loner where they feel afraid to share with their parents; they dare not tell their difficulties to friends to avoid rejection & abuse from them.Even in the crowded city of Kolkata, where people are seen in a group together, the burning problem that is fast developing is the problem of loneliness in today’s youth.

Rittik, 25 years, of South Kolkata committed suicide for an unknown reason. He was successful in his career & seems to have no problems. His mother was not only depressed but feeling guilty as she was not able to figure out the possible cause of committing suicide. Even the day before the incident, Rittik had regular classes, enjoyed the evening chat with friends, spent a happy evening with parents. His mother doesn’t know why he can take a drastic step like this when things were moving smoothly in his life. She also feels may be he had any other problem, which he never discussed with his parents. His friends were also not able to throw any light about the possible cause of his suicide.

The invisible growing problem of loneliness is affecting the life but we are unable till now to understand it. Even the children today can feel this loneliness even when they are in a group. Rumani, 10 years, told her mother that at school she feels very lonely, without any friend. Her mother was surprised by her comment as Rumani received 8 New Year card this year from her classmates. But Rumani promptly replied, “ Getting cards does not necessarily mean that these children are my true friends. Giving card in a new year is more like a custom to all friends of my school, they expect back lovely cards in return too” So exchange of cards doesn’t definitely mean that they are attached with the bondage of love. Today even the children are more expressive in terms of showing love; they do not fail to greet others in proper time, but failed to attend the bondage of love & friendship with each other.

It has thus been recognised that it is not only adults and adolescents who experience loneliness. Whilst it was originally thought that true loneliness could not be experienced until adolescence - when more sophisticated cognitive abilities and greater friendship intimacy needs emerged - children have demonstrated that they do have well developed notions of loneliness. In fact, children as young as three have shown they too feel the pain of social isolation. The details may be different from the loneliness of adolescents and adults, but the basic experience is the same. In a more recent study (Ladd, Kochenderfer, & Coleman,), kindergarten children's loneliness in school was reliably measured with a series of questions such as, "Are you lonely in school?"; "Is school a lonely place for you?"; and "Are you sad and alone in school?" These studies suggest that young children's concepts of loneliness have meaning to them and are similar to those shared by older children and adults. Loneliness is a significant problem that can predispose young children to immediate and long-term negative consequences. They often feel excluded--a feeling that can be damaging to their self-esteem. In addition, they may experience feelings of sadness, malaise, boredom, and alienation. Furthermore, early childhood experiences that contribute to loneliness may predict loneliness during adulthood.

Loneliness haunts a person in a very particular way when they're young. It comes turbo-charged with a restlessness that can beat them up like the playground bully, especially on a Friday or a Saturday night when it seems like the whole world is doing something exciting and they have been left out.

The answer to the FAQ –“What exactly is the meaning of loneliness in today’s world?” is “It's the realization that, at some level, there will always be a distance between yourself and others. It is the realization that there will always be some areas of life where you will be all alone, alienated from others, separated by differences that seems as irreconcilable. You feel it in those silent areas that exist between your and your spouse, your families, your friends, and your community. There are always things that can't be spoken, can't be understood, can't be harmonized, even in your most intimate relationships and especially inside of family and community life. This is the loneliness you feel when you drive away from the family gathering, finish that long talk with your spouse or stand trying to explain something to your own child. At those moments you can feel like a minority-of-one, unanimity-minus-one, alone morally with most of what's deepest in you.

Often we make suggestions for individuals to overcome their loneliness with the expectation that everybody can do the same things. We often manufacture long lists of tasks to do or attitudes to manifest-.hoping to divert the attention of the lonely person from himself but these suggestions often tend to add to the stresses of their being alone. Then, besides the challenges of feeling lonely, many people face additional pressures, as well. They may become overwhelmed because they are powerless to do the suggested tasks. Or they may feel more discomfort when they try the suggestions, because they still "don't work," for the person & feels lonely. The loneliness is compounded because they may then feel guilt for not "getting over their feelings and moving on with their lives”

We are each prone to loneliness, and often we eventually emerge on our own from this overwhelming state of being alone. Other times, unfortunately, we need help in moving out of this gripping, paralyzing existence.
The hardest thing to do is identify and face how we ourself contribute to our loneliness. The first thing one might like to ask himself is :“What things do I do that keep loneliness in my life?”

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Individual Diagnostic & Progress Status :
 


Name : Tumpa Basu

Tumpa appeared to be confused in the beginning with the following behavioural characteristics.

       Interpersonal & intrapersonal conflict

       Apprehensive fear due to childhood trauma

       Lack of age appropriate behaviour patterns

       Withdrawn & shy

       Communication & Interaction  

From 23/2/2006-13/4/2006 she showed visible improvements in: 

       Functional level

       Mood

       Self Control Strategies

       Social interaction

       Motivation 

She became irregular in April and May. She was absent for a long time in the month of May. This suddenly made deterioration in all the areas.

She has a tremendous fear of failure and cannot accept any comment of teachers to increase and improve her performance. Teachers were asked to motivate her positively-only focusing all her strengths. She became irregular and was not punctual too.

 Concentration

Functional Level

Apathy & Lack of drive  

From September she again showed signs of improvement. 

Present Status 

Needs more development in communication.  Self Control ++

Functional Level                                           Concentration ++

Needs Assertiveness Training                        Motivation ++

 - Ishita Sanyal (Secretary, Turning Point)

 


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