But do we have to let aloneness define who we are? Or can alone time, however it arises, offer the opportunity to dig deeper and find hidden resources? That's what happened to me. I found that a sense of alienation didn't necessarily need company in order to be subdued.
Today there are 800 million people aged 60 and over, all with an increased life expectancy, so, it shouldn't come as a shock to learn that soon there will be more older people on the planet than any other age group. Hence why understanding and improving the mental health of this generation is of significant importance to all of us.
I found that the student lifestyle itself was actually pretty good for creating conditions in which depression can flourish, particularly in terms of alcohol. Students are notorious for their high levels of alcohol consumption and lots of society activities revolve around drinking, particularly in sports clubs. Alcohol is a well-known depressant and can have a significant impact on your mood.
"Only the lonely, know the way I feel," Roy Orbison sang in his 1960 hit single. More than 50 years have now passed and during
In 2011 the Centre for Social Justice conducted a telephone poll, the largest of its kind, of single occupants aged 75 and over. We found that nearly a quarter of a million people - a city the size of Brighton - were to spend Christmas day alone.
When we think about our wellbeing, we think of avoiding major diseases, being financially comfortable, enjoying our daily lives and achieving our goals. Often we never stop to consider those invisible yet vital qualities of support, understanding and love that are provided by the people we keep close to us.
FGM is personal, cultural and moral, but it is also something which the state, acting to protect defenceless citizens, has a fundamental duty to stop.
One in four people newly diagnosed with cancer in the UK will lack support from family or friends during their treatment and recovery - that's more than an estimated 70,000 people every year not getting help at a time when they need it more than ever. Of those, around a third - an estimated 20,000 people each year - will receive no support whatsoever, facing cancer completely alone.
Being a parent is hard. In fact, let's just be honest about it, it's really hard sometimes. We often don't admit it, except to our closest friends and family, but it's probably the most challenging part of our lives. A recent survey by the NSPCC reported that in the first eight weeks after birth around three in five mothers felt isolated with no one to turn to, and two in five mothers even admitted to 'getting angry' with their baby. And this is before they've even started walking and talking!
Joe, 91, lost his wife 10 years ago and his only son died of Cancer. "I think about them all the time" the charmingly humble man tells me, "its just that Christmas brings back memories of family Christmases when my boy was little.. it is one time of year I don't look forward to.."