Fighting loneliness at sea


Source: Pexels

By Maridol Ranoa-Bismark

There’s something about the vast blue sea that makes seasoned mariners suddenly feel like a solitary bird flying alone in the sky.  The silence is deafening; the endless expanse of blue so alienating you feel like plunging headlong into the waters and swimming right back home to your family.

Life coach-psychotherapist Dr. Randy Dellosa explains why the sea and the ocean tend to drown us in that I’m-alone-in-this-world feeling.

“The seas and oceans can be associated with family beach vacations. Hence, it can make the seafarer homesick.  Also, the thrill and enjoyment of seeing and being in the ocean fades and becomes a monotonous sight because of the constant exposure,” he says.

No wonder the phrase “feeling blue” is equated to loneliness, that feeling of being left out with no one to turn to.    It’s also linked to sadness.

If it’s any consolation, most seafarers share this feeling.  Dellosa explains that they’re away from loved ones and/or friends. Yes, they have company on board.  But not all of them are people they’re comfortable with.

Work-related stress which they can’t take a break from, adjusting to workmates of different nationalities, and diversions on board, like alcohol can make things worse.

So these seafarers still feel lonely, even in a crowd. Yes, Dellosa says.  They can have fun,  be happy even.  But loneliness creeps in again once the lights are out, they’re  alone on their bed, and everybody has called it a day.

“Lonely people feel a decrease in energy , motivation, focus, and self-confidence.  Their appetite may suffer and they may experience shallow, unrestful sleep.  Not only do they feel sad. They may also feel irritable, anxious, or more stressed.  They have a tendency to ruminate on worrisome thoughts,” observes Dellosa.

He warns that intense loneliness can spiral out of control and cause clinical depression which requires medical and psychological treatment.

It becomes terribly harder on special occasions like a loved one’s birthday, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

How do you fight loneliness?  Dr. Dellosa’s tips:

  • The most important thing to remember is not to wallow in loneliness. Feel the loneliness so as not to suppress it. After a few seconds of feeling it, imagine breathing the loneliness out of your system. Then focus on work and other distractions.
  • Interact and engage with people on board. Nothing increases loneliness than isolating yourself. Male seafarers must keep clear of boundaries with females to prevent infidelity.
  • Spirituality helps people understand their difficult situations from a higher perspective. On board, people can maintain a personal schedule for prayer and Bible study time.
  • Connect with friends and loved ones through social media or other means whenever internet signals are available.

Smart’s Marino All Aboard SIM

 The good news is that Smart Communications Inc. came up with a way to fight crushing loneliness among Filipino seafarers around the world.   It’s called the Marino All Abroad SIM.

The leader in mobile teamed up with Magsaysay Maritime Corp. to give its seafarers  the most affordable, dependable means to stay connected with loved ones.

The Smart All Abroad SIM, a new prepaid roaming SIM for seafarers, has a downloadable dialer that lets you call, text or send email to the Philippines and other countries at reasonable rates.

All you have to do is download the All Abroad app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Then fill out the registration form by entering your complete name and a confirmation number you’ll get via SMS. Remember to turn on your phone’s data roaming and mobile data services to avail of the program.

The All Abroad SIM is automatically set to ‘roam’ at no cost to the user. A regular SMS or email with a maximum of 100,000 characters starts at  PHP2 only, while calls cost only PHP8 per minute.

You may also subscribe to Smart’s P300 call or text buckets, which provides SMS at only PHP1 per message and PHP3 per minute of calls for Smart, TnT and Sun.

And once the All Abroad SIM is loaded, you can ‘convert’ the regular load to All Abroad Load.

Now who says seafarers can’t beat that monster called loneliness?

Check out the Smart Marino FB page.