A lot of people think that staying with family together at home is too easy, they feel shielded or restrained like being in a box, so moving out is an opportunity for them to get independent or truly free. While for many others, the reverse might be the case, where, for different reasons, home doesn’t seem enjoyable or secure, so by leaving home, it’s their way of having a fresh-start somewhere else.
No doubt that a great advantage of this is that you won’t have to live up to anybody’s expectations or principles except from your own. But let us be reminded with the popular adage that says, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’. As one becomes the captain of their own ship, they will definitely have to maintain that ship. You will be responsible for every single thing when living alone. You have to do the dishes, laundry, cooking, cleaning, paying the rent or mortgage and don’t forget all the bills that comes with a house- the electricity, gas, water, TV license, trash/recycling and repairs when appliances in the house starts breaking down which might make you need help with the stove installation process. If your home has leaking pipes, no one will call an emergency plumber for you.
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As youths, we are eager to do so many things on our own but apart from the responsibility involved, have you ever thought of the impact living alone might have on our mental health? This is an area that often gets overlooked as we are more interested in the excitement of having, living and calling the shots in our own home. The first thing that comes to mind is freedom. Freedom from parents, friends, neighbours and even the community that seems to be constantly watching our every move. We are finally able to get rid of the threat of you can’t do this or that ‘under my roof’. Is such freedom really worth the detriment of our mental health?
There is a significant rise in the number of individuals who live alone in many Western countries, based on a variety of reasons. People who live alone are more prone to developing many mental illnesses inclusive of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD with the cause of this being boredom, loneliness or social isolation. Some research also points out that living alone can attribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviours. There is what is called Common Mental Disorders which is abbreviated as CMDs and it is a general term given to a variety of illnesses that affect the overall behaviour, mood and reasoning of an individual.
There have been several studies on how living alone can give rise to certain CMDs. An example of this is seen in a survey from Finland as about 5000 people residing in the country showed a doubled increase in depression in those living on their own as opposed to those living with their spouse or partner. CNN medical correspondent and neurosurgeon, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is of the opinion that people should begin to see loneliness as a chronic disease that is capable of affecting one’s health and as a result, action needs to be taken and the therapy generally prescribed is focused on the creation of social ties.
The truth is living with people may provide great comfort and feelings for social inclusion, and many other aspects that guard against psychiatric issues. People face the risk of dying early when living alone due to loneliness. Social isolation and loneliness are often correlated with severe conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, increased cholesterol levels, mental disorders and even Alzheimer’s disease.
So, when next you think of moving out and living on your own, you probably should have a second thought and decide if it is really the best option for you.