Loneliness Redux

Loneliness Redux

It was John Donne who wrote in 1624, “No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe”. Can’t say I disagree with this – the more I build protective walls around me, insulating myself from the world at large, the more lonely I feel. Humans are social animals and merely going through the motions, only interacting superficially, does not involve any connexion with others. I find I need some contact but I’m shut away.

The keep stands fast, ringed by its moat,
Secure, yet isolated.
Defending me from close approach;
Connexions subjugated.

All who try to find a portal,
Some water-gate unguarded,
Can only beat against stone walls
With which my self’s surrounded.

Fear builds these walls, fear of getting hurt, fear of censure or ridicule. These fears seem to feed on depression, growing stronger until they overwhelm me, forcing me to withdraw and take refuge behind the reinforced barriers of my mental “panic room”.

The trouble is that once those doors are closed, once the shutters come down, there is a coldness as my links to those around me are severed. Feelings are dulled and remote, like outside sounds heard through a closed door. In here I am safe from danger but also disconnected from positive influence – a dilemma.

Perfect isolation
Brings a deathlike stillness.
Colorless desert; expanse
Of infinite emptiness.

How to resolve this? It is paradoxical that in my loneliness I feel a need to be alone, to get away and be by myself for a while. To regain my balance, rebuild my strength and, hopefully, recover my happiness. Because at the moment I am down. Have been for some days or weeks now – not quite sure how long.

The blighted trees were once so green
But now stand gray and twisted.
My woodland haven, tranquil scene,
Destroyed, demolished, blasted.

I feel exhausted. There are reasons – I know what they are but not how to resolve them.

Solitary inmate; my prison
Is of my own making, no less
Secure for that. I hold no keys
That will unlock these cold steel bars.

Outside my cell the corridors
Are silent, no guards to patrol.
My small cell lost in this fastness.
I cry out; echoes fade to naught.

Trying to find some inner peace is difficult right now. I try to recall times of happiness and comfort such as walks in the countryside, views across lakes to distant hills and forests – but instead I find I am transported to exposed rocky slopes with the cold wind howling around me as the rain lashes down and thunder rumbles ominously in the distance. I am a long way from shelter and the day is rapidly drawing to an end to leave me on my own in the stormy night.

Trudging endlessly through the long night, the search for a place to rest seems a Sisyphean task. But I cling to the hope that the storm will abate, a new day will dawn and I will at last find a place to lay my head. To cast off my weariness and return to the light.

3 thoughts on “Loneliness Redux

  1. Hi Ben,I'm not sure what to write. I'm struggling to come up with the appropriate words and I really do not know if what I am thinking is the right thing to write down or not.I want to say I understand what you're saying in your post… not just what you're writing. I also know that I do not know exactly how you feel as each of us is so unique in that way. I have been going through this myself. Battling the depression- or rather- living with it these days, because I am so distant from the connection with others. I am not making phone calls I need to make in order to stay in my friend's lives. My son is getting himself as ready as he can for college and then… then… that thing they call the "empty nest" will actually become real for me.I'm at a point in my life where I am looking at, analyzing my friendships, what kind of friend I am, and what is it I want and need right now. I'm not sure what that is or how to get to it if I do figure it out. So much fear. So much keeping myself safe. So much sadness. I wish I could help you find your way. Perhaps it would help me find mine. Reading your posts gives me such a feeling of connection with you because I go through so much that is similar, it seems. Even though separated by an ocean, even reading a post about how difficult it is for you right now, the fact that you put it out there, the way that you bring what you're experiencing to the people who read your blog, makes me feel a connection. That's a good feeling. It may be a tearful thing this morning, but I feel connected with you, even if it is through a blog post and a comment. I wish I knew what else to write. I feel a lot, but I don't know how to give those feelings words right now.I hope you find connection too. I hope you find the happiness inside again. I hope you see those beautiful hills and forests and the storm subsides.Brightest blessings to you from across the big blue,Bird

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  2. Hi Bird,It helps me to know that there is somebody who understands – I fall back on imagery and metaphor because I lack the words to describe the emotions directly.I know what you mean when you talk about not knowing what you want and need, and not knowing how to find it. It's akin to an empty space inside; you can feel that something is missing but you can't remember what used to be there."Living with" as opposed to "battling" the depression is a good way of describing the resignation – not giving up but accepting it as the way things are and that they are not likely to change any time soon.I've got too much bottled up inside right now and although I don't feel overwhelmed and under too much pressure, I do feel confined – as if I am slowly being buried under the sheer volume of accumulated issues.There's a need to do something but I can't work out what it is yet. Just a nagging feeling like worrying that I've gone out and left the door unlocked. I'm missing one vital piece of my puzzle: I see this impenetrable muddle all around me and know that when I find that key it will suddenly resolve into order.Friendship, kindness – beacons of hope. Lighthouses that can guide this storm-tossed castaway to land. Thank you. Shanti.Ben.

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  3. I'm so sorry you're feeling down. Unfortunately I know what it feels like to be depressed. Depression is always just around the corner for me. My trigger is not getting enough sleep and/or rest and the only thing that helps is to be totally alone and not having to deal with responsibilities. When I feel like this I have to call my parents or my mother-in-law to take my son for a day or two (or more if necessary). This leaves me feeling defeated, but after I've had enough alone time to restore my energy levels I feel so much better.I hope you'll find peace and quiet within yourself very soon! (I really love the way you put these emotions into words by the way. You have a true gift!)

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