Loneliness: Struggles of Isolation

Loneliness doesn’t mean I’m alone; it means I’m isolated. I can be hanging out with people, or sitting right next to my own husband, and I can still feel deeply alone. For me, I can grin and bear it most days of attack. But not all days. And not everyone can.

The ironic thing about loneliness or isolation is there will always be those people who say “oh I’m here! you can talk to me anytime” …Anytime? How about the last time we hung out and we never talked about real life? How about last weekend when I had nothing going on, and I dwelt quietly in my own silence. “Anytime” seems like a pretty flexible word when it’s only heroically attached.

Besides…

Loneliness isn’t defeated by distractions.
To engage in friendship long term is something I feel utterly inadequate to speak about, and yet…these are they who we depend on. If someone wants to help defeat loneliness in another’s life, they must also help defeat boredom, incessant questions, empty chatter, and yes, isolation itself.
We must be a people who act like…well…people.

The last thing I want to do is create a formula to nullify loneliness. That would be the epitome of recreating the problem. Formulated relationships are isolating. Maybe that’s why it has little effect when someone says “I’m here for you” but then never is “here” so to speak. Or they’re around and yet still very distant.

Nothing kills like the silence of my closest friend. Nothing nullifies my worth, like my husband dealing with something on his own. Just when I thought we were a team. I’m locked out.  I’m on my own, waiting, alone. Isolated.
Marriage isn’t the key to escaping loneliness, and this is a myth that I long to dispel for those who sink headlong into this new arena. Loneliness doesn’t mean a marriage isn’t working; it means you’re human…very human.

I have a big family that I love, but sometimes there’s nothing lonelier than being in the midst of that group. When there’s an argument on, and I’ve taken a firm stance on the minority side of things… whew! It’s pretty lonely out on that branch. It’s isolating. And they’ll wait me out. …so they think. Instead…there becomes a rift.
They’ve forgotten all about the argument…or most of it… and I still feel the burn of scorn in my inner being. Oh God! What’s more isolating then pretending nothing hurts? Few things are. I won’t lie. I know a few things are worse.

I grew up playing a part. Being known as a title instead of having a name. That’s what happens when you have a parent working in public service. …That’s also what happens when you have a charming charismatic brother who all the girls think is hot. From one title to the next, I was pretty use to the shadows.

So something happened when I got out on my own. A freedom that I wasn’t use to. Some people saw me, and I wasn’t use to being seen or noticed. I wrote it off …for the most part. Yet it was fun too. And then… I got married, which was awesome! But it didn’t take anytime at all before I sunk back into a shadow. My man…the theologian, the musician, the science man, the darling religious dictionary.
And I…I grew up to be the distasteful hard-nosed confident woman who shares her opinion…her unwanted opinion… without even realizing that it was an opinion or unwanted. Here I thought I was making jokes, making friends, and stating the obvious.

I can be such a fool.

Loneliness doesn’t require a lack of people or contact with people. It only requires isolation. Sometimes it’s people and dear friend which are exactly they who bring it.
I’m sure I’ve been a villain as much as a victim. I am not careful. I am only sincere.

Instead of being or finding a cure, I try to learn to walk -long walks- in isolation without it fully killing me. What’s a little more death? I make it through. I live. I’m strong. …and people hate my strength. Around another corner will be another thoughtful person waiting to take me down… down into isolation. My fire swamp. I’ve lived there quite happily for sometime now. Why should I care what becomes of me?

One. Two. Three. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. Repeat.

And yet… like many other human beings… I would theoretically like to be known, be seen, be remembered affectionately. Yet if my choice is self-inflicted isolation of the shadows or isolation of the strong being attacked for their strength. I hardly know which one to choose. I switch between the two like my life is a game of hot potato.

The hardest part is finding the strength to know others suffer this too.
Or so I assume. When you’re isolated it’s hard to tell.
I want be strong enough to say I suffer, not for sympathies sake, but because I fear someone else might think they are alone in their isolation, or that their loneliness is consuming and who can see them now?
It is hard to see from here, but sometimes I can still here a voice calling to me. Or I can still here my heart begging me to get up, one more time. Maybe if I feel this…maybe someone else does as well. Maybe I still have a voice that can be heard, that can help.

One. Two. Three. Breathe…

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Walking through Depression

Perhaps all my growing up life I’ve heard about depression grimly. It’s a defeat, it’s shameful, it’s dark, it’s a weakness the devil can use. And I suppose I’ve felt all those things at one time or another, but now… Now I finding myself standing in the midst of a struggle I thought was over, and I am not cowarding to it. I’m standing in the middle of it, trying to understand why it’s back, how to cope, and what is to be learned here. In a sense I’m trying to make peace with my depression now that it has found me again and I am no longer a child. And why not?

Early this year, I listened to a man anxiously talk about “spiritual battle” and he tried to say if you have any weakness in you, you need to pray it away, because the devil will use it against you. I remember for a nano second this shook me, and then I told myself…yeah, that’s not how God works.

God uses the weak to overcome the strong. So why should I fear my depression? Why should I fear my weaknesses?

Hey, I’m not a hero… I feel stupid to have to admit to my husband I have depression in my life. It’s been gone so long, I really, really thought I was free. And I was. I don’t know what this new occurrence is for, so I’m trying to tactful use to for my own humbleness.

I have to talk back to that voices in my head that say to me, “no loves you” “you’re worthless“. The first time I heard (again, but first time in my adult life) it scared me half to death. I was mostly asleep, and it woke me up. Where did that come from? I’m not worthless, and I know that.  I think I know that.

Depression is terrible, but it is temporary. It can be overcome. It will be. I have not prayed it away, because I need to know why it’s found me again. I need to know why God’s people suffer this. And I know…many others do suffer this, and they suffer it like I did years ago when I felt like I was drowning. I felt like I was dying, everyday I lived through it. Everything felt defeating. It was horrible. But that was in the past. This time it’s different.

This time I try to fight by knowing I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I try to fight by encouraging others to fight. My life is not my own. I am one part of a intertwined people, a generation, a heritage, a voiceless sea. Yet we are not voiceless, we can be heard. Our stories can become beautiful, inspiring, hope-filled, courageous, remarkable, lovely, dream worthy.

Too often people fear their insecurities or their weaknesses, but guess what? Everybody has them, and it doesn’t disqualify any of us from becoming great. Or becoming at all. We can still learn, relearn, retrain, cope, and reassess whatever problems come to us through those drippy leaks in our system. We don’t have to ignore or hide them, and we don’t have to display them on the table of shame. It’s just a part of living. A part that needs a certain amount of attention and detail, just like all our other traits, qualities, strengths, weakness, ect.

We can change. We can adapt. But we can do it in a natural and holistic way, that wouldn’t demand invasive reconstruction. We are they who are still becoming and discovering that thing which we were created to be. There’s no need to rush that. Here in the midst of the desert of life God often trains, sends, accompanies, protects, and meets with his people. In comparison to some, this is a hard place, but knowing it’s still close to God, it’s not so terrible.

But in case the sand is blowing your face, leaving tiny irritating  wounds, or the sun is scorching your head and your body feels dry, almost lifeless, or if you’re in the night, dark, arid, mysteriously anxious & vulnerable …I get it. I’ve been through this desert before. It gets scary. But it’s not so bad when you know you are not alone. …and you are not alone this time.

I am here again, but today I am not afraid. I will overcome. I will be a light. I will cry and break and struggle …and I will win.  I will always win. Because I press on to know the truth, and because I fight for more than myself this time…and from here on out, I will always be fighting for more than me. And we…. We are overcomers.

 

Related Posts:
Silent God

Struggles

Hope For Today