[Not including the trigger warning triangle (left) I have just used to notify you the reader that this post may contain difficult subject matter for some]
All three images are quotation based and on the same subject. That subject being ‘Isolation’.
Why three images? And why isolation?
Well I have chosen three images as they give differing perspectives on ‘isolation’ and I have chosen isolation as I know that I am isolating at the moment.
But also, and mainly, in the hope that others who are experiencing these things will know that they are not alone and that there is hope.
This first quote is by the French novelist, poet and playwright Jules Verne and you can certainly see how he feels isolation not to be a good thing at all.
The source of this next quote is unknown…
And whilst agreeing that isolation is not a good thing, the author (whomever that may be) has quite cleverly directly linked the subject to illness and wellness. And certainly you can see where he or she is coming from and what message he or she is trying to convey.
The third of my initial three images – the third quote – that I want to share with you also has no specific source linked to it. Likewise, it also seeks (in my opinion) to see isolation as a negative. But also not only to recognise the effect of isolation, to also offer some hope from it.
But what if the isolation is not inflicted upon you but is instead chosen by you? Chosen – if you will – because it seemingly provides some safety some security.?
And what if, even in ‘social’ isolation there is – because of the ever present voices and the internal dialogues – no real isolation, no real safety, no real security? Only – or so the mind tells you – less danger?
And indeed, how do you get others to understand that?
As a parent, I have always been mindful of the effects of bullying. The effects of other people’s harmful and critical words on my children.
My son, was bullied at school by one of his teachers and it impacted him so very deeply that it completely changed his personality and outlook on life, for quite some time.
And I cannot begin to express just how much this saddened me and even angered me. And I am not someone who angers that easily. Thankfully we manage to put an end to it and my son was able to slowly but surely recover from it.
Bullies seek to inflict their poison, their hatred, their anger, even their own hurts and pain – on their victims. To invade and impact their victim’s life in a negative and harmful way. So much so that you seek to do all you can to avoid them.
But what if the bully (or the bullies) are not external but internal? What if they are not outside your head but inside your head? What then? What if they are the voices (which admittedly do appear external) and the internal dialogues that you just can’t silence? Because, trust me, for some of us that is exactly how it is.
And yes – since this post is about isolation – I can completely understand the logical and natural question, “Then if it is inside your head how will isolating from others help?”
Well it is because mental illness can do that. In my case, the voices – the internal and seemingly external dialogues – twist and turn, manipulate and corrupt, so much of what happens or what is said.
If words can be a weapon, my mental illness is the one holding that weapon, and thus ‘words’ (as well as actions) are ammunition to my mental illness. So by isolating I remove so much of the fresh ammunition available and all my mental illness has available to use as a weapon is conjecture and suggestion and memory. Albeit that all of those are also twisted and manipulated in their use.
And, in the interest of honesty, I should also admit that just as my son’s personality changed when he was bullied, I am also very much aware that my personality, my behaviours, change as my mental health declines. And I don’t like the results of this or the potential for harm that it can bring with it.
And that therefore, leads to the tendency, the compulsion to isolate. And it is a compulsion that I dislike and know is also unhealthy and yet find so hard to fight. For the truth – and without truth there is no true healing – is that in isolation there is little healing only darkness and amidst social interactions, whilst yes there is ammunition for the bullying voices and dialogues, there is also ammunition to be found to fire back at the voices. Evidences of acceptance, of purpose, of worth, of hope. Evidences that lay amongst the spent shell casings of snipes and jeers, ridicules and threats my mind has already fired at me.
And yet finding them within the battlefield of my mind, picking them up within the mental Mêlée of madness that sometimes takes over can be so very difficult. So you seek to reduce the onslaught, to lower the level of attacks or potential attacks, to cut-off the enemy’s (your mind’s) ammunition source. To find, a quieter, more stable battlefield. But the alternative always offers darkness, a world of internal sniper-shots.
Will I self-destruct? No I really don’t think so. Thankfully I still have some strength and thankfully a very strong faith. And thankfully I am aware that Isolation can be as much a prison – death row – to some as it can be preservation to others.
And so I fight on. prayerfully, carefully, I fight on. This is nothing new and nothing that will defeat me. There is hope. I know that there is hope. And thankfully there are folk in my life who are watching out for me. As long as I let them. Something which I have never been very good at doing.
No matter how hard the fight. No matter how great the battle. No matter how strong the apparent need or compulsion to isolate, I need to try not to. To at least keep some communication – real face to face – communication and interaction going. And I urge others, who are in a similar situation, to do the same thing.
If you are feeling like me at this time, or ever, if nothing else, please please feel free comment or to contact me. You really are not alone, no matter how alone you feel or alone you feel you need to be.