Loneliness is having a devastating impact on our older population. Every day, we hear stories of older people who feel marginalised and useless, believe they are a burden on society, and who have no one to turn to for the simple companionship so many of us take for granted.
Clearly mums weren't going to turn up at my doorstep. I would have to go out and find them. This was a bit of an alien concept for me as most of my existing friendships had come about from school and work. I had never actively looked for friends before.
When depression takes hold, those caught in its grips can feel increasingly isolated. The mental health condition is not
However dysfunctional these relationships are, from either angle, sometimes we all do need and yearn for that special mother-to-child bond. It's uniqueness is undeniable. So why don't we all reconcile this Sunday? It would be the super-perfect Hollywood ending to an estrangement.
Living with the feeling that your life and existence mean very little to anyone at all can create a dangerous state of mind, only worsened by the idea that the reason for your loneliness is shameful. Those who are estranged are too often reminded of the isolating family myth - that everyone else in society is enjoying a functional and close family experience.
As adults we often view loneliness as a sign of failure, and a successful person is surrounded by a multitude of friends. In reality, this is not the case, for generally one has only a small handful of what can be considered loyal good friends, the others are merely acquaintances.
We all write it, a simple phrase that echoes a desire to remain connected to people who are personally or professionally important to us. Throughout most of our lives it may not mean much, but as people get older and potentially their number of contacts diminishes, keeping in touch takes on a whole new meaning.
So next time your mind wanders to how that friend of yours is, rather than push that thought to the back of your mind, call them. Next time an elderly person starts talking to you, take the time to listen and talk back.
I've been thinking about friendship a lot recently. Because friendship is a weird thing in recovery. Any recovery. From anything. Recovery teaches you that you can never assume how a friend will act.
With those I know well, its: 'How are things with you?', 'Oh, you know. Nothing yet.' Sometimes, in my head (and once out loud) I shout 'You can't out-complain me! Your baby is alive and mine is dead!'