MHM Recovery 15 – When you are an island…

I wanted to be less upset about this than I was so, yeah… Also I don’t want to be misunderstood and I don’t want anyone I know to feel obligated. They’re not. This is about my inability to form bonds, the essential part of creating lasting friendships. It’s great that I can talk to people, that people like me, that I remain connected via social media even if we hardly ever communicate, but there is a bigger issue.

Coming back from my convention the other week felt like going back into solitary confinement. The cage door shut and the silence descended. The isolation began again. It never changes. I barely ever speak to the people I meet at conventions after the fact, even if we’re friends on social media. I am a periphery friend, more of an acquaintance. It never develops into proper friendships. There’s no one I can shoot the breeze with, no one I can hang out with. There’s not that impulsive thing of ‘oh let’s chat or whatever’. It happens for other people but not me.

There’s a lot of factors in the why of it I think.

Partly it’s because of my age and everyone I know or meet has friends already, they don’t need me so they don’t need to make an effort and because I can’t things just go quiet. At my age, if you can’t reach out, no one reaches out to you. Some of my inability to reach out and form connections, or work harder to maintain and strengthen them is my APD and SPD, which essentially slam mental mufflers across my mouth and mind. But it’s also my years and years of social isolation. It’s a scientific fact: isolation breaks us. Socially. Mentally. Physically. It’s destructive. And it’s destroyed me. I am incapable of asking for help, I am incapable of being the first to speak.

What I need to figure out now is if that’s fixable. If I can spend the rest of my life only ever connecting when I see people and then being locked back in solitary when I come home, or if I can relearn the skills people use to make friends. At the moment I don’t know if I can spend the rest of my life incapable, but I don’t think I have much choice to be honest, as I have no intention of giving up any time soon. Like I say in the vid, you find the strength to cope with stuff as you go through it. So I guess I’ll do that, and if nothing changes, if more and more mingling with people doesn’t fix it, if I can’t ever relearn those skills and no one does the whole friend of Eeyore thing and reaches out to me, then I’ll have to cope with that.

We cross bridges as we come to them, even if they are ones that terrify us.

This realisation struck me out of the blue and at a vulnerable time and so I’ve been having real trouble coping with it and I filmed this vid a couple of times, trying not to be upset and trying to be logical and reasonable. Yeah… fail on that. So really I was debating whether to post it up at all, but I’m going to. Part of the intent behind this series is to share honestly and without obfuscation the worst parts of illness and recovery, and here is a worst part. Here is me admitting there is a thing that hurts, that I hate, that I have no idea how to fix or even if it’s fixable at all.

I can’t reach out to people. I can’t form bonds. I may always be just the acquaintance or the internet friend and at this moment in time I’m not sure I’m Ok with that, well actually I am absolutely not OK with that, but changing it is beyond my skill set. So. That’s what I have.

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