When I first wrote about my feelings of loneliness six years ago, living alone for the first time at age 71 and hating it, one of my closest friends said to me: ‘How can you write like that, Esther, haven’t you got too much pride?’. He too lives alone, but tells me that he prefers it. He thinks of himself as self-sufficient, and proudly independent.
But I wonder if my friend was being honest with himself, and me. There is a real stigma about admitting to loneliness. You dread people thinking that you crave company but nobody wants to know you, that you are inadequate, and above all, that if you do admit to feeling lonely that you will be a burden to your friends and family.
By Dame Esther Rantzen DBE, Founder of Silver Line and Broadcaster. Read the blog: Social Care Institute for Excellence