There are seven and a half billion people on this planet, yet sometimes we can feel so alone.
There are differences between being alone, loneliness and feeling alone. I love being alone and am rarely bored or lonely, although I will admit to having missed my husband during this summer, as he has a new job and has been unable to be with us much. This week my youngest daughter is also away, and I miss her too.
Feeling alone, is that empty sensation of isolation; thinking there is nobody to whom you can relate, nobody who can share or understand your thoughts, feelings and experiences; nobody you can talk to.
But, more people understand than we think.
I went through a bad time in January. Something happened that I did not feel able to talk about to anyone. Not my friends, not a counsellor, not even the Samaritans. I was so ashamed. That feeling of isolation became a trap of despair. The medication may help balance the chemicals in my brain which determine my bi-polar: they do not help me deal with misery.
Eventually, one of my friends bullied me into telling her, so I did – in a weeping, red-faced, snot-snivelling phone-call from a small gravel carpark somewhere in the middle of nowhere. And - amazingly to me - she did understand. To her, my elephant of shame was a mere mouse of amusement!
She encouraged me to tell a few others, and I found that they all not only saw the mouse, but totally understood how it was an elephant for me. Furthermore, they were all distressed that I had thought, even for a moment, they would not understand.
My close friends, my doctor, my vicar: all there for me. Not judging, not condemning and certainly not laughing – although I am aware that, for some, my shame would be laughable.
Sometimes we need a sense of perspective. "It'll all be the same in a hundred years," says the grandmother in a book I read recently. Her words are to comfort the distressed heroine. I never had a grandmother like that: I wish I had.
Because our mice have muscles. Our mice are on steroids; they have been working out. They have imbibed some green gelatinous gunk from the laboratory of the mad scientist who lives in our brain and have grown so they loom, enormous and terrifying, over us. Our mice are elephants for us.
I am not talking about the difficulties we go through which are obviously tough; caring for dependant relatives; dealing with disability and pain; juggling inadequate finances; coping with grief. I am talking about the things we feel isolate us from others and of which we are ashamed.
We don't necessarily need to go public with these things: I am certainly not sharing any further than this; but – be comforted – more people understand than we think.
And they can help us put things in perspective.
It is, after all, just a mouse.
A Moodscope member.