Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week.

With many people currently living alone during isolation, this week is especially relevant.

Invisible (Manchester) are focusing on the difference between loneliness and solitude during the pandemic; inspired by the novelist and author, ‘How to Be Alone’, Sara Maitland.

‘What if, instead of a huge disadvantage, being alone were framed as an opportunity for developing the self? Solitude seems to be more or less a necessity for creativity.’

During our Virtual Mindfulness Session with our guides last week, we spoke about the positive things we’ve done due to lockdown. Many of our guides, including one of our volunteers, are living on their own. One of our guides, Laura, said: ‘I have found time to focus on self-growth and self-reflection.’ One of our volunteers stated: ‘I have learnt to enjoy spending time on my own.’

An interesting thought from Maitland: ‘Spending time alone is in fact spending time with the person you know best of all and who knows you better than anyone else does. Solitude deepens self-knowledge… the words “solitude” and “loneliness” ought to have similar meanings: “solo” and “alone” do after all. But faced with courage and determination they do not. Loneliness is a negative, sad feeling. Solitude on the other hand, is bliss. And practice makes perfect. So practice.’

Written by Millie Maltby, Invisible (Manchester) Guide Support Officer