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The Through Line ~ Loneliness

Who would have imagined, that loneliness would be the through line for a web of connectedness, that it would be a driving factor for what I do today, helping people create deeper, more meaningful connections through their interactions and stories.


Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says loneliness is an epidemic and equally as harmful as cancer, obesity, addictions and more.   I learned about Dr. Murthy’s ideas on loneliness and its impacts from his book “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World”.  I received this book after attending an event in 2021 to learn more about the positive impact Denver Health is having through its programs in our greater community.  I was invited to the event by my childhood friend Mike who has been a consistent source of fun and support for over 20 years. 

 

Mike and I became friends right before my sophomore year of high school and his friendship helped me from another semester of feeling disconnected and lonely.  You see, my freshman year was tough, as I was in a new school where I didn’t have many friends. It was the first time in my life that I had truly felt alone. Mike and I stayed friends into college and our connection deepened when I was able to reciprocate with Mike after he had a devastating experience leaving him feeling lost and lonely.


When I faced crippling loneliness after having Ruthie (Addressing the Elephant In the Room: The Loneliness Saboteur) knowing I had friends like Mike, who came to visit and meet Ruthie reminded me that brighter days lay ahead. 


I didn’t realize loneliness was so prevalent until I read Dr. Murthy’s book. I think we always feel like we’re the only ones who are feeling lonely, which is the very definition of loneliness.


I am so grateful to Mike for inviting me to the Denver Health Event, which led to the book, which led to a better understanding of loneliness, which led to even more drive to help people connect on a deeper level than just what they do and how much they like or don’t like the weather.


And just this week, it led me to having the privilege of connecting with a 22 year old woman who utilized the STEP Program at Denver Health.  The Substance Abuse Treatment, Education and Prevention (STEP) Program was created to respond to the growing need for therapeutic support for young adults.   


This young woman was asked to share her story at an event celebrating the STEP Program being Colorado’s first licensed youth withdrawal management program. My role was to help her craft her story, help her find the words to connect with the audience and authentically share her experience.


As she shared her story today in front of a room packed with 100+ people, there was that through line… that the hardest part of being an addict was the immense loneliness she felt and how at Denver Health’s STEP program, she found therapists and staff that welcomed her with love, with understanding, and without judgment. She said  “Just that, was the beginning of me realizing that I wasn’t alone and that I could change the course of my life.”


To the young woman who spoke today, thank you for sharing your story with me and so many others.  Denver Health, thanks for all you do to help people feel seen and heard.  And Mike, thank you for your involvement in Denver Health, introducing me to the incredible work they are doing, and for helping me stave off the loneliness saboteur through your friendship and support since high school.


We all feel lonely from time to time and for many, on the regular, yet we feel we are the only ones.  Reach out and connect with someone today, find out how they are doing, how they are REALLY doing.  Share how you are REALLY doing, and let’s help each other fight this loneliness epidemic.  


At Articulated Intelligence we help you build communication skills that give you the confidence to connect, the stories to get to know one another, and the follow through to create trust and long term relationships.  

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