Hey, I’m Zack and this is my story.

This is me on the day I finally moved into my own place last summer. There was so much unpacking to do.

I was so pleased to have some help to move in. Because of my learning disability I get 10 hours of support a week to help me with my finances, planning and shopping.

It took me a while to get things straight but once I’d unpacked it really felt like home.

I had all the time in the world so I brushed up on my cooking, watched TV, and played loads and loads of video games.

After a while I began to feel restless. There was so much time to fill and no-one to share it with.

Sometimes I felt really sad but I didn’t know why.

Night time was the hardest. I hated being on my own after it had gone dark.

The TV became my friend. I didn’t care what was on as long as it filled the silence.

I ate way too many takeaways and drank far too much.

I went to bed but I couldn’t get to sleep. I just felt so lonely.

Things always seem worse at night and I hardly slept for worrying about what might happen to me.

A warm, sunny day made everything feel better but I was desperate for someone to talk to. My support worker suggested that I needed to get out and make new friends in my community. Of course this was long before the coronavirus lockdown so I took her advice.

My only way to get out was public transport but the timetable was so confusing and I’d just missed the morning bus. I couldn’t afford a taxi so I had to wait over an hour for the next bus.

I tried not to make eye contact with anyone and I just stared out of the window.

It felt like the longest journey of my life.

“You don’t mind if I sit here, do you dear?”

“Lovely day, isn’t it? There’s nothing worse than being stuck at home on your own all day.”

I think Jean was a bit lonely too and just wanted someone to listen to her. It worked out well. She talked and I listened.

“Now yesterday, I met a lovely chap, we chatted for hours…”

Jean told me about the new community cafe that has opened in town. I decided to go, but walking through the door was the hardest thing ever. I felt like the odd one out. The only person who was there on their own.

I sat in a quiet corner by myself. I might as well have been invisible and I felt miserable but then Jess came over and that was the moment when things started to change.

Jess was brilliant. She introduced me to her friends.

She also helped me find out about things that were happening nearby. We made a map together to highlight all the places that are important to me in the community.

Sometimes we went on the bus together and I am gradually gaining the confidence to go to new places and meet new people on my own.

Best of all I discovered the Community Garden Project. I now volunteer there 2 days a week. It might even lead to a job.

I never used to speak to anyone but now I chat to everyone and I’ve made loads of new friends through social events.

Things are better at home too now that I’ve got some company. This is my cat, Oscar.

I’m so glad I made loads of friends before the coronavirus pandemic started.

It feels like ages since Jess and I were together. Social distancing has been really hard but my friends and family have helped me realise that I can stay connected even when I am on my own. It’s easy to call and message friends and family whenever I need to chat to someone.

I still get lonely sometimes but I’ve learned that time alone can be okay too. Just me and Oscar.

I feel safe and I know where to get extra support if I need it.

We can all get lonely sometimes whatever our age or ability. There’s loads of help out there so if you’re feeling lonely, isolated or vulnerable then check out some of these services.



If you need to talk to someone urgently, Samaritans is available around the clock. You can call Samaritans for free on 116 123.

This video was created by United Response to highlight the issues of loneliness that were raised by the people we support. Watch our Animation Diaries to find out more!