Self-Isolation and Broken Friendships

Maybe this is something that I should be talking about with a therapist. I am writing this while I completely isolate myself from all of my friends and acquaintances alike, have been doing that for a couple of years actually. I don’t know if it’s meta to write about something while doing precisely that, to be very honest the term meta has been bastardised so much that I am not quite sure what it means anymore. That could be said about a lot of words now, that’s just how language evolves, anyway, back to isolation. I had been in denial about this for years until today in the shower I had a sort of epiphany if you will. This blog post would’ve looked a lot different if I hadn’t had that revelation, it’s quite scary to have random epiphanies about yourself like that. It feels weird to know that I know quite a lot about myself than I let on.

‘Pushing people away’ like I already mentioned, I only had this revelation this afternoon. I only associated this want to push people away with damaged boys that we see in a lot of coming-of-age stuff, I never thought that I’d be one of them. But that’s the thing right, we are in constant denial about what’s wrong with ourselves, good god I was in denial about being in denial.

Pushing people can manifest in various forms. You can take a confrontational road and be verbally and physically nasty enough to make them hate you, or you could just destructively shut them out altogether (like yours truly) nothing can be more insulting than ambivalence or apathy towards someone’s presence in your life.

Now that we have access to mental health resources more than ever, the importance of reaching out and making sure to check in with someone else has fuelled a fantasy wherein everyone ones just assumes that you want to stay connected to them. Obviously, there are actual problems with pushing your loved ones away, for instance, my desire to isolate stems from the threat I relate to proximity with.

The guilt and shame I felt as I pushed people out of my life was unbearable this afternoon as my discovery of the problem was still fresh, now not so much, why? I positively have no answer. Navigating where I stand or even orbit in my life and others is probably the most painful and debilitating activity I partake in, no matter how much I mull over it I can never master that, it’s merely impossible. I can’t communicate, and that effectively drains me and makes me push people violently away, fortunately — for me, of course — forever. It’s so much easier to isolate than to have these vulnerable conversations that make me realise how far I’ve fallen from the kind of person I want to be.

I hoard. I still have all the textbooks that I used from 8th to 12th grade, I just can’t part with them, I can’t help but feel like I’ll need them someday. I have a lot of such unnecessary objects in my storeroom, closet, in the drawers of my study table and dressing table, my washroom cabinet, I can list places forever. I think this hoarding habit fuels isolation, it alleviates loneliness. Which is paradoxical I know, I have an intense need to be wanted, but I just can’t let myself be. These objects from my past comfort me, I don’t think everyone could understand the companionship of objects and why could that ever be comparable to the warmth of a living person—the desire to arrange them as blockades or to use them as playthings.

David Wojnarowicz, a very famous Polish-American artist, known for rage and tenderness in his art, also had an inclination towards objects. His art filled with lost-and-found objects, from comics to clocks and maps. During his last days, he gave his friends a battered leather jacket and skeleton. And that’s precisely the appeal, I am lonely, and I can trust these objects from my past to outlive me, call it Horcruxes of a sort.

I think something miserable has happened here, the lonelier I’ve gotten, the less adept I’ve become at navigating how to be in social settings. It has grown around me like mould and it stenches. This deterrent destroys any kind of human contact, no matter how badly I desire them at odd moments of the absolute fractured state of being. I don’t care to have meaningful social interactions with anyone anymore. I can’t deal with all the complexities that come with knowing someone, even the most relaxed friendships I’ve had have been laced with tension, they lose a bit of their charm. I can’t seem to revive them and then slowly the want to reach out tragically fades out entirely, sometimes for no reason at all.

The pain of losing a friend is so enormous because it’s something that is supposed to last longer. It’s a hassle, and I’ve started resenting friendships altogether. This loneliness is ever-expanding, extending and keeps itself alive. When it crashes over your being, it isn’t easy to just dismantle it at whim. When I try to imagine it as something breathing and active, it reminds me of a tapeworm, something disgusting and uncomfortable that has made a place inside me without my permission.

The pleasures of good friendships are abundant, but like everything, it comes with a price. Look objectively like an outsider with clear lenses, these relationships are far more lopsided and messier than often perceived. We have an idealised notion of friendship, being someone’s ride or die, I’ve loved my friends — as much as I can, at least — but I don’t think I would help them cover up their messes or would feel anything more than regret for hurting them if they decided to up and leave my inconsistent arse someday. I’d feel a void of their presence, but what can you do if you don’t know how to care of people? You let them go.

When someone just leaves without an explanation, it can be devastating. After all, nothing hurts more than a heart left wondering why. Even though we go through a slew of the inevitable tide of changes through life, we expect friendships to last forever. It challenges our experiences, we want somethings to remain unchained, eternal. Going through the hurt of someone no longer wanting to share your life can be painful, pulsing through that it’s hard to make amends when they’ve already hurled you into their list of bad friends.

Surprisingly, it is our act of thoughtfulness that unbalances everything. People need to feel they merit their favourable luck. The receipt of some help can get abusive, it implies you have been picked just because you are friends, not really because you are deserving of it. The injury will come out gradually, somewhat more genuineness, flashes of hatred and jealousy to a great extent. Before you know it, your friendship blurs.

Even then if given a chance, people hardly amend the mess of their lives. I had been given a second chance to reconnect, and I failed fantastically would be an understatement. They graciously tried to look past my failure but unfortunately, I couldn’t. Do we really want to make an effort to get together for weekends? Do we really try to give them the benefit of the doubt? Continually thinking about how much effort to make, what do we owe each other? Are we really giving it our all? Should we really air our grievances before it’s too late and the hate starts to accumulate, and we start to resent them forever? Every relationship needs communication to sustain, and I am simply not arsed enough to go through the “mortifying ordeal of being known.”

Maybe I am not alone with this one, we give a lot of slack to ‘bad’ friends as we if know how to love and care for people exactly the way they want, especially without proper communication. Don’t give in to a pang of guilt so overwhelming to the people who once loved you, or those who you no longer want to be friends with, that they become toxic.

I don’t have the heart to carry the love that I pray for, I am stubborn with my inconsistencies, and it holds secrets that I am not privy to, but self-sabotage is the norm here. I am lonely, what’s more, left to stay? I’ve stopped writing about myself, my heart is filled with cobwebs. I fear that no one else will forgive this haunting. Not only is my grief affecting my health, but it is also becoming tough to ground myself in kindness. We live like worms, always defeated somehow.

Photo by Edwin Andrade

3 thoughts on “Self-Isolation and Broken Friendships

  1. I came across your post just after I finished writing in a journal about wanting to throw away all the progress I have made because I don’t deserve it.

    I share a lot in common with you. At my worst, I pushed people away too. I’m the nasty, verbally abusive kind, not the isolating kind. I think that because depression makes us hate ourselves, we want to make other people feel the same way about us, because it’s what we deserve. In a sick way, I think we believe we’re doing them a favor.

    Reading your piece, I get the impression that you isolate yourself and then start beating yourself up. I did the same. Pushed them away, then cried because they hate me.

    I’m a burden, I’m a burden, I’m a burden.

    Eventually I got some help, actual good help, that has enabled me to break out of my negative thought patterns that were destroying me.

    Believe me, it’s not too late. Every minute that we’re still breathing, we can make a choice, even something as simple as not insulting yourself for one hour.

    You have to find a way to get out of this thought pattern that has burned a pathway through your brain and make a new one.

    No one deserves this shit. (I am not 100% recovered–the thought popped in that I personally deserve it.)

    You’ve got to find a way to get tired of doing this to yourself.

    As I said in the beginning, I share a lot in common with you. I have all my notebooks and books, all the way through graduate school. I don’t throw stuff out, either. Don’t be ashamed of that. We can use our memories to help heal ourselves, not keep holding onto the pain.

    Depression is like an addiction. I nearly caved tonight and gave into it. But then I found your post and I saw that you don’t deserve your pain. Therefore I want to keep holding on, making progress, so I can show other people it can be done, one tiny choice at a time.

    I hope that you find a way to make that first teeny choice to feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, first of all thank you so much for your heartfelt comment.

      I wasn’t hoping for this to resonate with anyone, it was self-indulgent really. Thank you for checking in on me, I’m in a much better place at the moment (relatively, at least) I did get help after making this post.

      It’s still hard, and I’m still unable to connect with people on the level they want me to but at least I’m at peace with my self, so that’s a start.

      Therapy is so fucking hard, and I’m just at the early stages but I’ve come to know that the road to recovery always gets worse before it gets better. Vulnerability is clumsy but it’s the only thing worth anything

      I can’t tell you how happy it made me to know that you could empathise with me and in turn with yourself.
      Life is a difficult thing to endure, one of the longest things to endure as well. There’s no other way about it. Honestly I love to preach love and kindness but I have issues and my heart is tight and sad.

      That being said, I’ve learned to not be daunted by the enormity of my grief. I know I have a lot of love to give to others and myself, and sometimes it has no place to go so life can feel pointless at that moment but you’re absolutely right, no one deserves this (can’t emphasise that enough)

      I’m happy that you are here and I’m happy that I’m here as well, sharing these small parts of ourselves with each other.

      I really do hope we both get better, if not together but someday.

      Love,
      Firdosi.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m very glad that you’re feeling better, and I’m happy that you are getting assistance so that you can live your best life. Therapy should be really hard, in my opinion, because that means you’re getting to the root of the problem. I know I would leave sessions with my shirt stuck to my back but the work helped me immensely in the long run. Depression is a battle that will always be something that has to be fought, I think, but at least we’re getting the tools to do it so that we can see things clearly and enjoy what we have. Life’s too short to let disordered thoughts take it away.

        All the best,
        Hetty

        Like

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