Isolation

It’s raining and I’m sitting by the open balcony window. I’m wearing long jeans and my feet are cold. I somehow like this weather. It fits how I feel inside right now. And I like the sound of raindrops hitting the windows and the roof of my apartment. But hey it’s August! This summer has been so weird. Colder. So much rain. Rarely seen a clear blue sky. I crave summer nights, those nights you dream of on grey winter days, nights spend in shorts and shirt, strolling through the streets, sharing stories and laughs. And I crave someone to share them with.

I aways had difficulties with friendships. I moved 800km away while in primary school and then had to change schools again after just a couple of months. I always felt different. Had a hard time connecting. And I don’t think I was easy to be around, considering how self conscious I was and how much there was going on in my life all the time.
There was a time when I thought I’m better with guys than with girls but then I had to learn that true friendship between girls and boys is a rare thing, because more often than not other interests get in the way.

 

After lots of painful experiences I have a hard time letting people close. I think a major problem is the really negative perception I have of myself. And fear. Of not being good enough, messing up or being hurt. Again. But also this longing for real, deep, authentic connection that seems to be so rare. Not just superficial aquaintances or hidden motifs.

My mental health struggles kept me completely isolated for a very long time. Since September last year when I started to spiral down into another depression hole I spent most of my time alone at home. Declining every invitation that I could, only attending events I really had to. Luckily through my job I sometimes was “forced” to leave my safe environment and I was gifted with insanely beautiful experiences, like going to LA in January or travelling to Iceland in March… I’m beyond grateful for these and for somehow being able to pull myself together when I had to.

But especially the winter months were so indescribable tough. I remember after my uncle died in December I just spent weeks in bed, paralysed. Didn’t celebrate my birthday. Spent New Year’s alone. Most days I didn’t even want to wake up in the morning. I just didn’t want to feel anything. There were moments when I thought I just can’t go on. I had been tumbling all throughout autumn but this was just the tip on the iceberg that made me fall down completely.

I also really struggled with emotional eating, especially at night time, probably to somehow numb the pain that was just too much for me to bare – but it just made things worse because I felt so uncomfortable and more and more disconnected from myself. I didn’t eat any junk – but just the amounts were far from healthy, especially late at night – disturbing my sleep and making me wake up with stomach ache and bloating… which made leaving my apartment to see people even more impossible.

So I spent weeks without any real conversation, tucked away in my bed room. Considering how vital human connection is, I definitely did the worst thing possible in order to get better. The science on this is actually mind blowing. Studies show that social relations are a stronger predictor of survival than what we eat, how we exercise and even how much alcohol we drink. Loneliness and isolation increase the likelihood of disease and death by 200 to 500 per cent. We are a deeply social species. Our bodies are literally built to crave love and connection, whether it might be friendship, family, romantic love, sex, a close connection to a pet or a strong social group.

But suffering from depression makes it insanely hard to connect. It’s so hard to explain what you are going through. Considering how much stigma there is around mental health issues it’s just natural to have doubts if anyone would understand.

How do you ask for help without coming across as needy? How do you share what’s going on without scaring someone away? There is already so much shame and guilt involved. The last thing you want is to be a burden for anyone. It’s a vicious circle. You need a feeling of belonging more than anything. But opening up seems to be the scariest thing ever…

When you have the flu or a broken leg and you spend all day in bed – that’s normal. But when you stay in because you are in emotional pain – how do you explain that? How do you put the pain into words? This feeling of being in the middle of an ocean, strength slowly fading but without anything to hold on to? How do you explain that all you want to do at times is drown, to finally end this nightmare you are going through?

It’s not even the suffering you fear most. But the disappointed look on the face of a loved one you opened up to.

Depression is not something you just experience when things are going wrong. Depression is this dark energy. A monster holding you tight. Numbing every positive emotion, taking away all the light. You become afraid of life. Because every lived second is so painful that it feels like tearing you apart. And because it seems like you just keep failing because you are so damn paralyzed. A living hell you just can’t escape.

At times it felt like there is no way out. And so I thought about that way. Thought about how it just would just finally stop hurting. But I realized that I am not my thoughts. Decided that the only way out is through.

During the last weeks I finally started to say yes to invitations, spent a lot more time around people and even asked for brunch dates myself. I’m conquering my social anxiety and it’s beautiful to see how life responds when you take action. I’m no longer standing still and exciting projects are in the tube.Everything I do to heal finally starts to pay off. Well, it’s rather two steps forward, one step backward but I do see progress. Meditation, gratitude, inner work, healthy habits, strong routines,… all these are helping immensely. (I’m gonna get into detail on everything in another post, so feel free to leave all your questions done below!)

I’m still living with this monster inside of me, but it is more and more manageable.

Yes I crave someone to hold me. A friend to call when I feel like falling.

But I’m slowly learning to be the one who catches me. I’m starting to be there for myself.

I am grateful for every part of my journey. Even the darkest places this took me down to. Everything happened exactly the way it should for me to be where I am today. I am no longer fearing myself, no longer afraid of the pain, the darkness within me, my fragility and vulnerability. No longer feeling the need to run away or numb whatever emotion comes up.

My hurt gave me hope. And faith. Faith in myself. In life. And yes, in love.

I know this post is crazy messy. It’s not easy to talk about this. Far from. But we have to stop making mental health a taboo topic. Because it is a massive problem. Since you started reading this post a handful of people somewhere in the world had taken their own life because of depression.

No one should struggle alone. No one should be afraid to ask for help. No one should feel like there is no way out.

Because there is. Always.

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16 thoughts on “Isolation

  1. youyounicorn says:

    I just love the way your are talking about your life with us. No filter just you. Thank you for that!
    Thank you also to keep the faith in yourself! You’re such a beautiful human being! You’re an inspiration to many of us.
    I’m struggling myself a lot but I know that better days are ahead.
    I’m actually reading Louise Hay’s books you should check her up!
    LOVE, always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jil says:

      Thank you so much for reading my words. It means so much to me!!! ❤ Stay strong darling. I LOVE Luise Hay. Her work has helped me so much. Sending love!

      Like

  2. Hilma says:

    I cried so much when I red this. And I have needed to cry for so long, but been using old and bad habits instead. Thank you so much for being real and working on this for yourself. Sometimes it is easy, Sometimes it really, really is hard. When life goes on you kind of forget why you were ever feeling that darkness and when you are in the dark, the light seems too far away. But even if it takes years, we need to fight for the better years we hav ahead of us. Thank you again.

    Like

  3. Lilly says:

    How have you managed getting over binging? Any tips?
    PS: you’re such an inspirinh person, so grateful for your open minded descriptions of your experiences and your way to get out of mental issues. You’re a strong and admireable person!

    Like

  4. Melissa says:

    Oh well, you described it all so well. Your words are pure and vunerable, but that makes it real. I’m sorry that you had/have to feel that way, but I’m sure you are indeed a strong person. You make something positive out of the negative experiences. By building yourself and sharing it with us. I’m sure you will inspire some people with your story. It’s a wonderful blog. You are a wonderful person. I send you my love, how little it may seem. You’re doing great! X

    Like

  5. jj says:

    thank you Jil, I see myself in so many of your words and its just good to know that someone else knows what its like. some days i think i’m going crazy, i get so angry at myself for feeling the things i do and being “unnormal”. but you are not alone, i am not alone. good things are yet to come! you are a beautiful soul inside and out and i wish you the very best from all of my heart! thank you for sharing your journey with us, i love reading your thoughts. it helps me a lot! sending much love to you!!! xx

    Like

  6. Joy Iris says:

    Thank you for writing this ❤️❤️ I’m in high school right now and I relate to this so much! I struggle with connecting to people and making friends and it doesn’t help that I’ve been to around 10 different schools and moved around a lot. But it comforts me that there are other people that feel like this too and that I’m not alone.

    Like

  7. Connie says:

    I love you and that you share everything with us. I’m trying to talk more about anxiety and panic attacks, but it’s hard not to feel like all I want is attention. You give me and so many others so much hope and strength!
    And while it is amazing that people who feel the same know that they are not alone, it’s even more important for people who never had depression or anxiety to know what it feels like. Because it is so hard to describe and because it is so hard to talk about!
    Thank you! ❤️

    Like

  8. Leah says:

    Thank you for sharing this Jil. Mental health issues are very hard to talk about and it’s great that you’ve opened up about yours so much recently. I’m curious though as to why you never sought out professional help, like from a therapist?
    Much love ❤️

    Like

  9. Bram says:

    The cold feeling, the black thoughts, the ringing sound inside your head. As if what happens is not meant to be here for you. As if you are not meant to be here. The numbing pain of nothingness and at the same time the longing to a place where there is nothing. No input to your brain. Absolute stillness. Like a zero state of consciousness.
    That is how I felt.

    I wish I could visit you, give you a big hug and then take your hand. Travel the world with you, gathering precious moments in nothing more than a little van.

    Life is all about duality. Sometimes you’re up, some times you’re low. Without ‘this’ there can be no ‘that’. Without resistance there can be no flow. It’s all part of the same thing. Don’t fight it, just accept and let go.

    So please don’t be so hard on your monster, as it is part of you. Learn to love it for what it is and it will learn to love you too.

    Much love,
    Bram

    Like

  10. Amy Liou says:

    Thank you for writing something so relatable! I’m reading this on one of my bluer days. The sun was shining, it was just an ordinary Saturday for me, but I felt cold and vulnerable to the environment around me.

    I feel like I really need a boyfriend, somebody stronger than me to be a stable energy in my life because I can be all over the place. But I’m just such a difficult person to deal with sometimes, it’s hard for a guy to get close to me and stay with me. It hurts so much, I struggle with much body image issues. I really want surgery, but I don’t think I should at the same time. So much running through my head, just so much happening all at once.

    I also don’t want people to think that my mental health struggles has anything to do with being vegan, because I know I have struggled before transitioning too. It’s just that as I get older, the more responsibilities I feel like I need to take on and it overwhelms me to much.

    Sorry, I just really had to rant. I can be a really self deprecating person and it scares people away. But underneath that, I just want to love, but first I need to love myself.

    Amy

    Like

  11. Kirii says:

    Egal was du schreibst, du bringst jedes Mal meine Gedanken zu Papier.. Oder eben in den Blog.
    Ich bewundere dich dafür, dass du alles so offen teilen kannst, im Gegenzug möchte man aber keinen an sich heran lassen, weil das zu persönlich wäre.
    Es ist einfach viel ungezwungener, wenn man nicht direkt mit jemandem reden muss, vorallem das richtige Timing diverse Problematiken anzusprechen, oder die Angst man würde nicht verstanden.
    Ich bin froh zu hören, dass es da draußen noch jemand anderen gibt, der schon von klein auf eine andere Art Selbstbewusstsein hat – einfach komplett andere Gedanken und Thematiken die einem durch den Kopf schwirren.
    Als Kind wird man nur ungläubig angestarrt wenn man sich mitteilt, als hätte man eben Shakespear auf Chinesisch zitiert.
    Deshalb kapselt man sich ab und schraubt seine eigenen Bedürfnisse zurück, redet über belangloses, damit man nicht als Freak gemieden wird.
    Dabei sehnt man sich nur nach jemanden, mit dem man nachts einfach nur reden kann – reden über egal was einem gerade durch den Kopf geht.
    Auch bewundere ich dich dafür, dass du es aus der Isolation geschafft hast, auch noch durch die Arbeit.
    Man kann sich vor Einsamkeit nicht retten, schafft es nicht mal den Müll raus zu bringen und verstrickt sich in Ausflüchte, nur um ja nicht vor die Tür zu müssen, weil man sich dermaßen unwohl fühlt. Wenn es doch mal klappt sagt man 5 Minuten vorher trotzdem wieder ab, weil ein so überwältigendes Gefühl in einem aufkommt, welches einen in die Knie zwingt und zum nervlichen Wrack macht.

    Ich finde es super, dass du diesen Blog führst, weil das wirklich du bist – ohne Filter, ohne fake smile, einfach Jil.
    Der Vorteil an diesen langen Texten ist, sie werden nur von denjenigen gelesen, denen es tatsächlich wichtig ist.
    Es gibt Menschen die sich um dich sorgen.
    Um dich und dein Wohlbefinden.
    Auch wenn es anfangs schwer war, du hast es gemeistert dich um dich selbst zu kümmern und dich zu lieben.
    Du bist eine der stärksten Personen die ich je gesehen habe, du wirst es auch schaffen jemanden zu dir durchdringen zu lassen und dich fallen zu lassen.

    Liebe Jil, alles wird gut, das verspreche ich dir!
    Du bist auf dem richtigen Weg dein bestes Selbst zu sein.
    Du bist in allem was du tust eine Inspiration.
    Und weil es gut tut es von jemand anderem zu hören:
    DU bist wichtig!
    DU bist es wert!
    Vergiss das bitte niemals!
    Und verliere niemals diese Energie die du in Texte fasst, denn genau diese Energie gibt vielen in deiner Community die nötige Kraft um diverse Phasen zu überstehen.
    Ich bin dir zutiefst dankbar für alles was du tust, denn das geschieht alles mit einer unfassbaren Liebe.

    Du schaffst das!

    Liebste Grüße,
    Kirii

    Like

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