Amanda Brunker: Davina McCall's teary video has made it OK to admit loneliness
Why does it take Davina McCall to speak out about loneliness to start the conversation?
To me, loneliness is possibly one of the most corrosive conditions in modern society.
The feeling of isolation drives many to drink, millions to madness and, tragically, too many to suicide.
Davina’s teary Instagram message on Christmas Day would have reflected the feelings of thousands of people.
Having recently split from her husband, Matthew Roberts, after 17 years, her world is in turmoil.
She’s famous, has enough money to retire and an impressively long list of celebrity friends to call, but when your heart’s broken, all the good stuff can seem immaterial.
Mind you, as my dad has always teased, he’d much prefer to be miserable in comfort which, as 50-year-old Davina would be, definitely helps.
She has properties worth around €9m, including a €4.8m Georgian mansion and a €1.7m villa in St Tropez.
Sadly, few ever escape the feeling of being truly lonely. At some point in our lives, Davina McCall is all of us.
I know I’ve felt terrible loneliness. As a busy working mum married to a busy working dad and with busy friends, I still feel lonely at times.
Prolonged loneliness is the true killer. Sometimes, forcing a small smile or a kind “Hello” can help lift your state of mind or that of someone else experiencing a lonely moment.
Those sensationalising Davina’s message, in which she sent everybody a “Christmasy hug” and encouraged those feeling “terrible” to “curl up with a duvet”, need to be realistic.
Being sad is not the same as being depressed. Having sad emotions on Christmas Day is normal.
What isn’t normal is the 1,050 children who witnessed violence, abuse or abandonment and called Childline on Christmas Day; but that’s another story.
I didn’t experience loneliness myself this Christmas, just a lot of teary moments as a result of gratitude and guilt for others less fortunate – I’m a big softy underneath it all.
There have been Christmases when I’ve felt empty to the core. I’ve felt rejected, abandoned and totally alone, but we can all bounce back. As the saying goes, it’s OK to not be OK.
Davina has had a fairly emotional life. As someone who was abandoned by her parents at the age of three and has battled drug addiction and anorexia, she has demons.
While she might have made more money from her workout videos and her TV presenting career, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that her now gaunt body might be a manifestation of stress and not just the result of sit-ups.
Either way, she did a good thing by sharing her feelings. She helped normalise loneliness, hopefully making it easier for others to speak up.
She reached out, and that’s something all of us need to do more. It might not always seem like there are people around to help, but if you don’t ask, you don’t