All of us experience loneliness at times. The emotion of loneliness usually indicates a feeling of disconnection from others. Some of us end up feeling lonely after spending extended periods alone, but it’s also possible to feel lonely while in the presence of others. Usually, loneliness is not a comfortable emotion, and while it’s normal to occasionally experience it, prolonged loneliness can lead to depression in some people.
It’s important to remember that loneliness is not necessarily a permanent state and that it can be uncomfortable to step out of your shell and find new ways to connect with others. Forging social connections, however, can be beneficial in dispelling loneliness.
Sometimes though, loneliness is an indicator of depression. How to tell the difference? Loneliness is a specific reaction to feeling alone or isolated, and would not affect your overall quality of life. In contrast, depression is a broader feeling of disconnection that permeates all aspects of your life. If you find that you are experiencing loneliness (or depression), seek help from a licensed therapist, counselor, or your doctor.