Alone in the crowd.

I’m rarely lonely when alone.

I’m often lonely around other people.

It’s the connection. It’s the lack.

I feel disconnected from the people around me, even when they’re family and friends. It’s like I’m surrounded by a bubble that prevents me from reaching and being reached. It’s like we function on parallel but different, non-intersecting planes.

Most of the time, when I start to feel this way, I make my excuses and leave. Yet permanently abandoning interactions with other people is not much of a solution. Much as I like spending time with myself, I’m not yet a hermit. And a surfeit of alone time can be unhealthy. *

We’re wired for community.  

We need other people. We need to connect. When I’m alone and separate from others for too long, I start to feel not right in my skin. I start to feel not right in my soul.

It’s worse when I’m depressed. I feel even more disconnected, even more separate. I need what I feel constrained against gaining all the more.

One way to break the perceived barrier would be to speak up. It’s what friends, family, and therapists tell me to do.

I need help. I feel lonely. My thoughts scare me at times.

We need connection and yet, to me, it feels risky and fraught with danger.

My willingness to take risks is inversely proportionate to the potentially negative consequences. My head amplifies the possible negativity until sharing as a way forward seems impossible.

Why is the right course of action so often the one we prefer to avoid? Children reject green vegetables as a matter of course, despite their proven health benefits. Why are we so contrarily opposed to the demands of the human condition?

Connection is vulnerability. Vulnerability feels like risk. Risk feels like a threat, and threats are things we prefer to avoid. Attempting to connect requires that we open up and expose the soft spots. I don’t like to do that.

The idea of sharing my truth brings up boatloads of fear, despite it not being life-threatening. The threat is imaginary, perceptual. My logical brain reminds me of this truth. My logical brain tells me to be courageous and proceed.

My instincts tell me to hunker down.

I end up dancing on the deck on a summer evening, surrounded by people I love, surrounded by people who love me, feeling desperately alone.  

* No Man is an Island. John Donne. Poetry. 1694.

8 thoughts on “Alone in the crowd.

  1. I’ve found that my willingness to take risks is inversely proportionate to how badly I want whatever that thing is. Take it from a recovering alcoholic, you can go places where you never thought you’d go if you really need to go there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so sad (especially the ending).
    I can totally relate.
    The truth is that I don’t want to have to say anything. I want them to know what to do and how to reach through that barrier. I like to think that I’m perceptive enough to help them. Why doesn’t it work the other way? Why do I have to observe them and figure out what makes them tick, yet I have to give them all the answers on a silver platter?
    I understand that doesn’t serve me well.
    So I will tell you that I did try telling them what and how to do it. Most of the time, it does not help. They don’t listen.
    So I learn not to ask.
    I don’t mean to sound bitter. This is just my reality and an explanation of why I feel more alone around people than when I am by myself. No, I am not a hermit, but I wouldn’t mind being one. They tell me to wait until I get older. That I will need people then. That makes me sad. I don’t want to have people jut because I will “need” them one day. I see that as deceit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This. Thank you. This is what I try to explain to people. They say “talk to us”. They say “reach out”. But they don’t ask, and they don’t really want to here. What they want to hear is “things are fine, things are going great”.

      It is hard not to be bitter about not getting what you give. ❤️️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Notes and commented:
    When she said;
    “I end up dancing on the deck on a summer evening, surrounded by people I love, surrounded by people who love me, feeling desperately alone. ”

    I so much wanted to dance with her and tell her that she’s not alone in this, I feel exactly the same way unlike all others dancing around us refusing to see this sad, yet a reality. We are all alone, right in the middle of billions around us. That’s really scary!

    Liked by 1 person

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