This morning, everyone at my gym was on edge. Just a few days ago, crazed gunman, George Sodini walked into a Pittsburgh-area gym and opened fire on an all-women exercise class. He killed three women and then himself. On YouTube, it was discovered that he had said, "It is easy for me to hide from my emotions for one more day -- take a drive in the car, listen to some music, daydream, or just do some mundane task around the house that really doesn’t have to be done, that's not too important, and there you go -- one more day. One more day turns into one more year." He wrote that he realized "how totally alone, a deeper word is isolated, I am from all else."
The psychological community doesn’t call "loneliness" a "disease." But it lingers long—and as you can see, it can have profound consequences. Reba McEntire’s song, “Once You’ve Learned to be Lonely” describes how it attaches and stays with someone: “It becomes your comfort zone, Once you’ve learned to be without someone, And settle for the silence of an empty room. Oh, it changes you. But once you’ve learned to be lonely, And lonely is the only thing you’ve known, It begins to feel like home.”
Please, everyone, let's not wait until someone goes berserk before we take note that s/he has evaporated from interacting! Anyone reading this who knows a person who has become emotionally isolated, please reach out to him/her NOW. Offer the comfort of your humanity. While we can’t change the outcome of the horror story at that gym, maybe we can prevent another disaster from occurring SOMEWHERE with SOMEONE ELSE!
Dr. Gilda Carle is a media personality, relationship educator, author, and Match.com's “Ask Dr. Gilda” columnist. Known as the "Country Music Doctor," she applies Country Music lyrics to help us optimize our lives.