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;
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.
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.