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"I'm always by myself." Last night, Casey Donovan spoke about her aching loneliness.

“I can’t just pretend I don’t need another friend. Guess I’m stuck being lonely.”

This is one of the lines from Casey Donovan’s 2017 song titled Lonely.

Speaking on SBS Insight last night, the former Australian Idol and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here winner opened up about her journey with the emotion, one which has been present in different forms throughout her life.

Singer Casey Donovan talks about being catfished. Post continues after video.

Video via Channel 10

“In a world that’s very glitz and glamour, I am always doing things by myself. Coming into an industry where trying to make friends is difficult, because I didn’t know if they wanted to be my friend or if they wanted to be Casey Donovan’s friend. It was tricky navigating that,” she said.

Casey isn’t alone. The moving episode of Insight titled ‘Overcoming Loneliness’ touches on the stories of lots of lonely Australians from all walks of life.

The statistics are startling. 1 in 4 Aussies feel lonely at least three days a week, the program says.

Health wise the impact is compared to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“Sometimes when my mate gets home from work I’ll want to have a chat but I think ‘oh he’s probably had a really big day I’ll just go into my room or sit and watch the box’,” Casey told the show.

“I don’t really like to impose on people’s lives. Whether it be acting or singing, I have my band and we fool around. But the acting world, you show up and you have a job to do. you’ll say ‘gday how you doing how are the kids, yeah great’. But y’know I am sitting there worrying about my lines and basically… well it’s lonely,” she said.

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Casey finds it hard in both her personal and professional career to make friends. Image: Getty.
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For Casey, her feelings of loneliness began when she was a child. She grew up in a broken home with a loving mother and step-father and an absent birth father.

"I had a complicated relationship with my dad, it's affected me in that I block out memory. I don't put expectation into my life. I've learnt to show up and if something great happens, something great happens. If I have low expectations I can't get hurt," she told the program.

Casey's school life was also hard, fuelled most of the time by her anger and darkness stemming from her father's absence.

"I only had a few friends but I was always the 'yes' person. It was never like I was invited, I'd say 'what are you doing', ' oh, we're going to the shops', 'can I come?''"she said.

When it came to self image, Casey as a young girl didn't fit into female clothing, and admits she often thought of herself as a "little fat boy."

"I actually wore swimmers to school every day because the fear of someone seeing my stomach scared the absolute bejeezus out of me.

"In winter I'd tell people I was going swimming after school. I didn't know who I was. My dad didn't love me, this was happening, things were falling down, no one wanted me to go to the shops with them...." she said.

When Casey was 16, she met a man on tour.

"I didn't know who this guy was. He persisted to call me, and being a 16 year old and not being able to go out and drink with everyone this guy's voice became a nice slice of distraction while I was on the road. When I got back from tour he was going to come and pick me up from the airport and his friend showed up... this woman, which was bizarre," she explained.

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Casey's 'relationship' with the man on the other end of the phone lasted for six years.

"I would be in tears and screaming at this chick saying 'he's your best mate, you've shown me where he lived where is he?!' She would swear black and blue he was real. I didn't want to have to tell myself this whole thing was a lie."

Eventually Casey found out he was a lie. She had been catfished for most of her late teens and early adulthood by the woman pretending to be her 'boyfriend's' best friend.

"I hit complete ground zero. This chick had been pretending to be this guy to the point where my first sexual experience was with this girl because that's what he wanted and I thought by doing this, he's going to turn up and everything's going to be rosy and glorious and that wasn't the case," Casey said.

As a result of what she'd been through, Casey spiralled into loneliness and depression.

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"I had got rid of them [other friends] because they didn't serve her [the catfish's] purpose. I was stupid enough to believe that. It was a lonely few years, and music kept my sanity," she admitted.

Casey says there were moments she wanted to die. It was sad, and it was dark.

"I've only just come clean of it in the last few years, looking back and laughing because I have to. I had to move on or I'd be stuck in that moment," she said.

But even though she's put the trauma of the catfish experience behind her, Casey says her life is still pretty lonely. She has two cats that need her, but admitted on the show; "some days I honestly don't get out of bed. I'm just beat. I'll feed the cats, go back to sleep."

After listening to the other stories of loneliness, a defiant Casey told the crowd;

"I am not going to be scared and fearful of the little things like rejections. I enjoy some perks of loneliness, detoxing and sitting with a thought - but I might try new things."

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner or in Australia, contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.

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