This post was written as a Stream of Consciousness on Thursday 27 September 2012 between 2:30-3:00am. Apologies for any grammatical or spelling errors that occur throughout, they are part and parcel of stream of consciousness writing.
For a soul that has always strived for balance this post, marooned within a sea of positivity, will stick out like a sore thumb. But I have to write it. I can’t shy away from it. Things have been building for days and if I don’t try to release them they’ll fester inside me and cause all manner of bad things to happen.
It’s one of the many problems with living a solitary life. Most people when they have a problem turn to their friends, a quick phone call to someone who loves them and a date is arranged. Perhaps coffee and cake, perhaps beer and peanuts, possibly hard-core liquor and cigarettes. Whatever the case may be there is someone there to listen to you, to absorb your pain and help you spank it away.
For a moment I want you to think about a few things. I want you to think about the last seven days of your life. I want you to think about everything you’ve done and then answer these questions:
In the last seven days, how many times did you have a conversation with someone?
In the last seven days, how many times did someone touch you?
In the last seven days, how many times were you hugged?
In the last seven days, how many text messages, emails or phone-calls did you receive?
In the last seven days, how many times were you thankful for the people in your life?
Now I want you to think of the last month and ask yourself the same questions.
After that, think of the last year.
Then, the last five years.
I want you to think about everything you’ve done, all the people you’ve met, all the moments you’ve shared with others.
Are you thinking about it all? All the drinks, the parties, the cinema trips, the excursions, holidays, family Christmases, birthday presents? Do you have all the love you’ve received in your heart? All those moments that a friend sent you a quick text that put a smile on your face? Or turned up at your doorstep with a hot chocolate and kiwi fruit just because they wanted to make sure you were okay. Are you reliving it all? Smiling? Perhaps giggling over the odd moments you’ve enjoyed in the last five years?
Now I want you to imagine not having any of them.
Erase them all from your mind and imagine the last five years of your life with no-one there for you.
No friends, no text messages, no phone calls, parties, presents or cuddles.
Can you even imagine it? That level of isolation? That level of loneliness? That level of pain?
One of my favourite websites in Australia is called Mamamia. Although written with a female audience in mind I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember. Their site helped me through homelessness, has assisted me through depressive episodes and, on one occasion, stopped me from self-harming. I even mentioned it in my list of pleasures on Tuesday.
Recently, they published a post written by a woman who moved from Melbourne to Sydney and thus was away from her family and best friends and the feelings of loneliness felt like a slap as she’d never felt alone like that before.
And I felt for her, I really did; anyone who knows the pain of loneliness has my utmost sympathy.
I’m not getting at that article at all, I thought it was a wonderful piece of emotional writing. What made me angry was one of the tweets Mamamia sent out to promote it. A tweet that – hand on heart – made me immediately rise from my computer, walk to the bathroom, open my SI kit and cut myself for the first time in weeks. Their words struck such despair in my soul that self harm was all I could do to alleviate the despair.
If “no amount of social media connection” could fix the author’s loneliness – what fucking chance do I have?
If I had slashed my wrists that night no-one would have known. My body would probably still be decomposing, unfound, as I wouldn’t have been missed. Social media is the only thing I have and this tweet made me realise it is basically all for nothing.
Nothing I do will ever make a difference to my life; all the pain I’ve been through alone, the abuse, the rape, the assaults the homelessness, is all my life will ever be.
All the effort I have to make – fighting with my bipolar mood swings, my crippling social anxiety, my PTSD nightmare fuelled insomnia, my massive distrust of every human being on the planet – just to write a single 140 character tweet to try to reconnect with the world is all for nothing.
A waste of time.
I was so proud of myself for rejoining social networks, to start blogging again, to start commenting on websites, but for the last two weeks I haven’t been able to get this comment out of my head.
If “no amount of social media connection” could help an intelligent, talented, witty, admirable, gorgeous young woman…what bloody chance does a fat, ugly, abuse-traumatised, mentally ill, (ex) homeless, socially isolated thirtysomething male have?
The pride I felt has evaporated, replaced with a single damning question that’s been permeating my thoughts for weeks:
Why do I even bother fighting when my life will never be anything more than this?