People Are Lonely. You Can Be Visible Here.

A new nationwide survey by Cigna has found that nearly half of U.S. Americans are lonely. Rhitu Chatterjee at NPR reports:
Using one of the best-known tools for measuring loneliness — the UCLA Loneliness Scale — Cigna surveyed 20,000 adults online across the country. The University of California, Los Angeles tool uses a series of statements and a formula to calculate a loneliness score based on responses. People scoring between 20 and 80 on the UCLA scale are considered lonely, with a higher score suggesting a greater level of loneliness and social isolation.

More than half of survey respondents — 54 percent — said they always or sometimes feel that no one knows them well. Fifty-six percent reported they sometimes or always felt like the people around them "are not necessarily with them." And 2 in 5 felt like "they lack companionship," that their "relationships aren't meaningful," and that they "are isolated from others."

The survey found that the average loneliness score in America is 44, which suggests that "most Americans are considered lonely," according to the report released Tuesday by the health insurer.
Loneliness is a major health issue — affecting both physical and mental health. It affects people of all ages, although this study found that younger people in the U.S. are currently more likely to feel lonely than older people. And, of course, this phenomenon is hardly unique to the United States, with loneliness being a concern in many other places around the world, too.

Previously, I have written about loneliness — my own and my desire to try to build a space that might alleviate others' loneliness.
I feel deeply for people who are lonely in a sustained way, and don't want to be.

There is community in this space, like many spaces, but it isn't always easy to get what you need to alleviate loneliness, even in a non-virtual room filled with people. Because sometimes it isn't company we need; it's to be seen. To matter.
And I'm keenly aware that it isn't always easy to feel like a part of an online community, when you can't find something to say. I have been thinking a lot lately about how the current state of politics changes the nature of commenting, too: Not everyone who wants to connect in this space wants to say something about the shitshow that is the relentless onslaught of bad news.

I've been trying to create a balance there, by offering more, and more frequent, threads on non-newsy subjects, and by opening lots of threads where we can just talk about how things are going.

Which definitely offers a way to connect for lots of Shakers, but still leaves out a lot of people who are shy or don't feel safe sharing more personal details. It also doesn't solve the problem for people who want to "show up" in political threads without something to say (besides, perhaps, FUCK!!! OMG NO YIKES FUCK).

So, to that end, I want to introduce Visibilibunny.

( •,•)   Hi!

Copy and paste Visibilibunny for use in any thread where you want to be present — or want to be seen, or want to show your support for me, or another contributor, or another commenter, but can't find the words.

(You can, of course, delete the "Hi!" and/or replace it with other text.)

This is not an obligation. I realize there are plenty of folks who are perfectly content to be lurkers, and that's okay! This is for people who want to be visible, and haven't found a way to do it, or do it consistently.

When you're feeling the urge to connect, but can't find the words, just drop Visibilibunny into comments. ♥

One of the terribly common consequences of Donald Trump's divisive presidency — and the bigotry, rape apologia, and general malice it has empowered — is the fissures in relationships, which can leave us feeling very alone as the result of a profound betrayal of trust, or quite literally alone as the result of irreparable damage. The sustained anxiety and stress of national politics, of the threat of war or looming catastrophe of inaction on climate change or the vile harm of conservative policies, can leave us with fewer resources to navigate difficult relationships, resulting in strains that become breaks.

A lot of people are struggling with alienation and loneliness at the moment, for the above reasons and/or different reasons altogether. I want to do whatever I can to try to alleviate that for the members of this community who are hurting. Love is the center of my resistance, and I will see you, if you want to be seen.

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