loneliness: affliction, addiction, disease

Life was meant to get easier but I don’t think it ever does. It doesn’t necessarily get harder, but ease and life seem to never go hand in hand the way they should.

I’ve not made a post like this in a long time. Not since I discovered that people actually come here and read what I say. This private corner of the internet’s been opened up, and though all those old posts exist, very little of my life now goes in here. It’s a strange turn, for this to become sort of a marketing thing, or whatever a blog is meant to be. But it stopped being about me and started being about the world around me, which isn’t bad, and I probably prefer it, but this post is a reaching back, in a sense, and it’ll probably be unpleasant to read and write.

I’ve spent most of my life alone. About twenty four of the twenty six years I’ve been alive. For a long time this bothered me, depressed me horribly. I believed in love, and I believed there was some for me, somewhere. I fell in love before. I fell in love often, was reckless with my heart, with affection, with all the bits that made me up. I gave myself away, recklessly, expecting nothing, maybe even wanting nothing. But I hoped somewhere in the maelstrom of love and heartache and pain and depression and horrifying loneliness, I’d find that love, that cure for the hole inside me.

I made mistakes. Countless ones. I was hurt along the way, sometimes too deeply, and I’m sure I caused my fair share of carnage in the lives of others. It’s the kind of that makes me sometimes wonder if I’m a bad person, if maybe I’ve always been, and that the reason for all the isolation and loneliness is because I’m a trainwreck neverending, loving poorly or maybe selfishly or maybe just not really loving at all. Just taking.

And that would be the worst, to discover that I’ve only been taking from so many people for so many years.

But I believed in love, even after every heartbreak. And they hit me hard. Through high school I drank too much alcohol and slept almost never. There were weeks when I only slept a handful of hours, and there was a particular week, after I broke my heart all to pieces, that I sort of slipped into surreality and delusions, because–as I discovered–you need to dream in sleep, or you start dreaming while awake. It was a frightening time in my life, high school. I remember it oddly fondly, but I was less than happy. I was stupendously unhappy. I drank nearly every day, spent all night awake thinking so many things that only hurt me more. I was at odds with myself. I couldn’t see clearly. I couldn’t see life and light. I was in love with Death and thought I’d find peace if only I could discover what it meant to be loved, what it felt like, what it looked like.

And I thought I did, for a while. But, as is normally the case for ridiculously unwell people, things didn’t end well, and I crashed. But as time went by and the isolation remained, the loneliness festered, I found ways to channel that energy and deal with the absence. I still looked for love everywhere, gave where I could, but I really was just a nonsense ball of wreckage wandering through college. But I also began to learn. I cultivated my isolation. I stopped looking at the absence as an enemy, but as a confrontational friend, and I poured myself into myself, over and over. It wasn’t until I was nineteen that I realised that I liked myself, and that realisation was one of the happiest of my life. Not only did I like who I was, but I genuinely enjoyed myself.

I made me happy, and a lot of life became easier after that.

I mean, I had always been sort of a loner, but I’ve always enjoyed people [though I often can’t stand the sight of humans] and enjoyed their company. But my natural inclination was always isolation. I enjoyed sitting in my room and reading or listening to CDs or drawing or writing or just staring at the walls for hours as my imagination created new worlds for me to live in. I was sort of impossibly in my head, and it wasn’t until I was probably seventeen that I really started to live outside it. And, I mean, how could you love someone who’s not actually with you when you’re together? How could you even enjoy their company?

I’m sort of jumping around a lot, I guess, so don’t look at this as chronological, but picture it as swirling effluvia of my brain and heart.

In Ireland I sought escape. Escape from the demons and ghosts who haunted me. Love that haunted me. The face of so many women who were so kind to me, who I wish I had been better for. But I found my isolation in Ireland and it began to comfort me. I wandered Dublin for days by myself. Often the most interesting times of my weekends were after my friends and I parted ways. All the strange people I would meet in the streets at 3am and all the strange adventures we’d go on. One off friends who carried me through the night, and I enjoyed my time with them immensely, but the best part was that it was barely ever real. Just a few hours with people whose names I didn’t know wandering Dublin in the rain and the dark, causing havoc and laughing loud, eating too many kebabs. My loneliness also struck me there as an affliction, and I realised how dangerous it could be, how missing people, loving people, and looking for personal value in them would tear the world apart, and leave you a weeping mess, afraid or unable to get out of bed and wander the streets you love.

But, once out there, the wind would hit me in such a way, or the sun would peer behind a cloud, and I’d find myself smiling, remembering that life is all right. It’s good to be alive, even if it’s massively absurd and sort of inane.

For all the ravages of loneliness and depression, which, for me, are sort of strongly linked. My depressive episodes are linked to a lot of different things, and most of them have to do with a looming apocalyptic weight that crushes me, but isolation is sort of an everpresent ghost haunting me. I collapse into it, in both good and bad ways.

I crave my isolation at times. I’ve cultivated it so long, and become so comfortable in it, that I miss it sometimes. But then I also crash into it, with existential calamity all around.

I feel addicted to my isolation, which really isn’t the same thing as loneliness, though I’m using them sometimes synonymously. I need it and I crave it, but it’s a disease. It’s no good to be alone, and I know that.

When I moved to South Korea, I sort of gave up on finding love. I had just turned twenty three, and I guess I thought it wasn’t for me. A family, a wife, children–I couldn’t even picture it, wasn’t even sure I wanted it. I still fell in love often, gave my heart away, was reckless with the person who is me, but I never thought any of it would last, didn’t even care if it didn’t. I met beautiful people there and I know I was kinder than the me in high school or college. I was a better person, more able to understand and relate to humans. And so, though I remained alone, I found shelter in the love of others, the perfect moments of love we shared in that country that felt, for a while, like home.

And then I fell in love again, recklessly, and I love her still.

But the disease is still here, and it eats at me. At us. I don’t really know how to make it better or what to do about it. But I know that this goes on forever, this isolation, this disease, that spreads and grows. The more time you spend alone, the more you cultivate that isolation, the more it grows and the deeper it becomes, until, sometimes, you’re feeling too much or not enough, like the world is exploding within you or like it’s happening in another room, behind paned glass.

My life has become strange, and I’ve grown strange inside of it. I no longer know what I want, or what I lack.

I know that the absence cannot be filled by another. Loneliness cannot be cured by love, though it seems like it should be. So this is something I need to do better. Something I need to discover.

I love you.

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