Reaching into the Darkness…

Reaching into the Darkness…

I hope everyone is having a positive start to 2022. I have started the year as I mean to go on and am surprisingly positive about the months and years ahead. Over the festive period, I happened to catch the following words of wisdom from Dr Anand Patel who was speaking to Bob Mortimer on the Christmas edition of Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing. He was talking about loneliness which is something that I know all about.

I had a terrible holiday period which was beset with staffing problems galore, illness and a small domestic fire. I drifted for far too long throughout 2021 but I have a lot of ambitions still to achieve in the coming years. It is time to start achieving these and moving forward with a stronger support team. I am taking steps to ensure that I am not put in a similar situation at Xmas 2022.

When I heard Dr Anand Patel (pictured below) speaking on Gone Fishing, it really struck a chord with me. I have been let down by numerous individuals in the past and it is about time that I cut my losses and moved on to enjoy life to the full.

Of course, the social care crisis makes this difficult as I need support to get the most out of life, but you never know when you will strike lucky with caring individuals walking into your life…

So without further ado, I will share what Dr Patel said about loneliness over the holidays. It is obviously not just a seasonal problem and everyone needs to work together to ensure that no one is forgotten about and made to feel worthless. If you can pick up a telephone or pop round to surprise a friend then I suggest that you do it without making any excuses.

YOU have the power to make a difference.


“Christmas is for everyone to drink and be merry. It’s a wonderful social occasion for us. Reasons to actually be together are so important for us because we ‘re such social animals. You know, we actually get… an area of our brain lights up when we are kind to someone else or we do something for someone else or we care for someone else. And it’s the same part of the brain that’s involved in parenting which is why you tolerate your pooing and screaming children for so long, because that part of your brain gives you pleasure.

“So actually, if you are with people and say, for example, you are cooking for them, or doing something like that, you will gain great benefit from that but they equally will gain benefit from that occasion because it reduces their isolation if they’re isolated, or if they’re feeling a bit lonely, because, I mean, loneliness is an absolute scourge.

“Last count there were nine million lonely people in the UK. Four million of them are older. Between, like, the ages of 16 and 24 there are thought to be 40% of young people feel lonely, most of the time, so there’s huge numbers. Being lonely has a similar effect on your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The absence of contact is really damaging for us. And I know it can be a bit shameful. You know, I think people are taught to be that you have to cope. You know, you have to just be strong, you have to get on with the fact, you know, your partner may have died or something. And actually you just have to be sucking it up and actually I don’t think you do.

“Pride is great but it’s not the same as actually having the nourishment of people around you. If you feel that loneliness is something that is affecting you, reach out.“

To watch Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, you can access BBC iPlayer by clicking here. 

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