REFLECTION FROM FEBRUARY 7TH, 2008**
Re: The Trouble With Trusting Others When You Are Mentally Ill
Written 2/7/2008 @ Age 26
You know what really irritates me? Let me tell you. I hate when therapists and really anyone who’s never suffered from mental illness presume that our tendency to isolate is voluntary. What they fundamentally fail to understand is that, if you in fact understand our circumstances, that reaction is actually quite normal. I think that people with mental illness isolate from other people is no different than a regular person who removes their hand from a hot stove once they’ve been burnt. Sure, removing your hand once it’s been burnt really isn’t going to feel all that great, but it sure as hell beats keeping it to the fire. It’s the same with isolation.
People don’t understand that when I isolate, it’s because being alone is far less painful to me than being around other people most of the time. I think mentally healthy persons derive pleasure from being around people and therefore cannot understand the difference, namely that we are not voluntarily subjecting ourselves to the pain of loneliness, but rather we are reacting to the suffering our presence around others brings, and therefore removing ourselves from the fire. Do you see? I could be more clear, but not this moment – I have to go to work.
I am happy that Gabby called me yesterday though. Last time I talked with her I admitted to how depressed I was, especially in light of, ohh let’s see, Caleb’s being in love and going to Cancun with Lainey, Gabrielle’s being in love, buying a house and moving into that house with her love, Anastacia’s pending wedding in Cancun, Kayleigh’s being in love and having a baby. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy for these people and that they have circumstances in their lives that bring them happiness. It’s just painful to be around others who are in joy when I am here trying to shroud myself from what seems like constant agony.
Anyways, Gabby called me and I’m so glad because, even though I said on the phone it was no offense to her, I wasn’t sure then that she meant it, when she said she understood and took no offense. I think maybe with Gabby, I might know better by now. I wouldn’t necessarily say the same for others, but with Gabrielle, the love is almost constantly unconditional. It’s a beautiful thing really.
Off to work! I hope Gordon’s not swearing up a storm in one of his god-awful moods he’s been in lately. But then again, I’m really not one to talk about that now, am I?!
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