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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg


Mar 12, 2020

Claudia Cragg @claudiacragg speaks here with Val Walker @ValWalkerAuthor about her friendly, candid, and comforting guide for isolating times when we have no one to count on, 400 Friends and No One to Call.

As we potentially enter a time for mass isolation, the guide may just help some to cope a little more and also encourage those who ARE coping to help those who are not. 

Despite the inclusive promise of social media, loneliness is in any case, even in far more 'normal' times, a growing epidemic in the United States and throughout the world. Social isolation can shatter our confidence. In isolating times, we’re not only lonely, we’re also ashamed because our society stigmatizes people who appear to be without support.

As a single, fifty-eight-year-old woman, Val Walker found herself stranded and alone after major surgery when her friends didn’t show up. As a professional rehabilitation counselor, she was too embarrassed to reveal how utterly isolated she was by asking for someone to help, and it felt agonizingly awkward calling colleagues out of the blue. As she recovered, Val found her voice and developed a plan of action for people who lack social support, not only to heal from the pain of isolation, but to create a solid strategy for rebuilding a sense of community.

400 Friends and No One to Call spells out the how-tos for befriending our wider community, building a social safety net, and fostering our sense of belonging. On a deeper level, we are invited to befriend our loneliness, rather than feel ashamed of it, and open our hearts and minds to others trapped in isolation.