Leonard Cohen wrote a poem which includes….’Finally I called the people I didn’t want to hear from…After the third ring I said I’ll let it ring five more times then what will I do…………(omitted material )….I decided to keep to the same street and go into the fourth drugstore and call them again’

For me, this is a pithy example of what bitter loneliness and desperation feels like.Most of us have been there at some time and I believe this is a huge,terribly painful and largely invisible,societal issue. This can occur for a wide variety of reasons including sickness,relationship breakup,depression,relocation,and financial hardship.Wanting to meet people and wanting to avoid them can characterise this, as well as desperately reaching out to those from whom we expect furthur rejection.

Although there may be a time for solitary healing,developing options for a safe support structure is really important.Organised groups,clubs,hobbies,or activities can be a platform on which to rebuild.Because they are already organised it requires relatively little effort just to attend.They are usually regular,which is important to structure time and allow friendships to grow, as well as provide leadership and supervision.They also allow a degree of space so one might not feel intruded upon when not ready to share deeply.

Constructive and safe groups (perhaps surprisingly) include Public Speaking Clubs like Rostrum or Toastmasters.You can go as an observer without obligation and without having to say anything until you are ready.Their locations and contact details can be found on the internet.Church groups can be supportive and social without necessarily being religious.Voluntary work may provide an opportunity to meet a variety of people in different settings.There is a website called Perth Meetups which contains a huge number of opportunities to join a very wide range of social and activity groups.Sporting clubs are a great way to meet people.Mens Sheds are useful for many people as are Book Clubs.The point is that being brave enough to do something is important.It is likely that your painful feelings wont change until AFTER your avoidance behavior has changed.Unlike the character described by Leonard Cohen perhaps, you can put in place structures so that you can call those you DO want to hear from.

If you are seeking the services of a Perth Psychologist or Perth Counsellor please contact me at makomdavid@gmail.com