Cate Williams (60) has experienced the debilitating effects of loneliness.
Cate Williams (60) has experienced the debilitating effects of loneliness.

Loneliness kept me trapped in the house for five years

LONELINESS is something everyone feels from time to time but for Cate Williams it debilitated her life to a point where she did not leave the house for five years.

Ms Williams suffered a nervous breakdown due to loneliness and it triggered a case of agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder, which leads to an avoidance of places or situations.

Ms Williams recounts how that disorder deeply impacted her way of life.

"Eventually I had a nervous breakdown and became agoraphobia and I wasn't able to get out at all … I was shut in my house for five years, I did get out whenever I could but I was lonely, really lonely," she said.

"To the point where one day, I was sitting in a chair and I knew if I got out of that chair, I would suicide so I didn't get out of the chair, I stayed in the chair all day."

The Kingscliff resident said from her experience, it helped to reach out to people and ask for help.

"I deliberately built trust by completely opening up to people and saying, 'could you provide this place of safety for me' and I was astonished at how much help I got."

"It was there and it was probably there all along but I just didn't know and that is the trap of loneliness, you don't realise that people will help."

Local charity Be Someone for Someone conducted extensive research on the concept of being lonely with the results indicating the feeling of loneliness can be a signifier to mental health problems and poor emotional health.

Jennene Buckley, CEO of Be Someone For Someone's founding organisation Feros Care said they were hoping to use this research for targeted approaches to help people like Ms Williams.

"What we have now is a clearer snapshot so that we can breakdown the issues into more workable chunks and reach those suffering from loneliness in new, more targeted ways.

"Our hope is that this research helps not just our own work to improve the lives of those suffering or at risk of loneliness, but that it informs Government, health care, public and private enterprise, and community organisations, so we can work together and fight this epidemic on all fronts."

If you need any support contact Lifeline at 131114.