Twelve months of solitude

I remember two maybe three years ago, I withdrew into myself so much that I cut contact with everyone except my other half and my family. I stayed in the house all the time. I don’t remember what triggered the withdrawal, I don’t recall there being any particularly upsetting or stressful event; no conscious decision. There was just a moment in time when I said I didn’t want to go out at the weekend and then the same the next weekend, and the next, until suddenly I didn’t need to be asked anymore. At first, I didn’t even really notice. I would watch my other half leave me to go out and I would curl up on the sofa and watch TV. It’s hard to tell when the house changed from sanctuary to prison, so subtle was the change. I began to fear the outside world, fear people, people I’d known for a long time. I missed them. I wish they all knew how much. I couldn’t tell them, I still haven’t. I feared rejection so much after twelve months missing that my brain just outright refused to allow me to speak. I was just a shell of my former self.
Then one hot and sunny afternoon two summers ago, I was sitting on the sofa listening to music while my other half mowed the front lawn. It was just a day. Not unlike many others that year; it was a glorious summer. I watched him out of the window and Paradise by Coldplay came on. It’s hard to tell what happened but it felt like someone had turned the light on. Like an epiphany. It sounds cheesy, I know, but honestly in that brief moment of clarity I was reborn. Fully awake for the first time in twelve months. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t cured, I’m not that naive; but something stronger than me, something universal (not God, I’m an atheist) but something, made me walk to the open front door bathed in sunlight and say to my other half, “I want to go out”.
It wasn’t easy the first time, it wasn’t easy the second time, it still isn’t easy sometimes, but I know I need the people I have in my life. A sense of belonging is a treasure that I have only begun to appreciate fully since my year of solitude, and I am keeping it close like you would do with something so priceless.

2 thoughts on “Twelve months of solitude

  1. It’s so easy to lock ourselves away. We don’t even realize it’s happening sometimes. And getting back out takes a conscious effort and an amount of energy that is sometimes hard to find. It’s been 2.5 years since the house stopped being my prison, but a day in the house without leaving can easily become two days, and three days, and then I’m fighting myself to leave the house again. Do you ever have that happen now?


    1. Hi, yes I still have difficulty getting out without anybody with me and I don’t think there will ever be a time where I don’t need to be careful about how much time I spend inside.

      Liked by 1 person

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