Isolated: the sense of feeling detached (Part I)

Stacey Koenitz, Photographer (Pexels)

Feeling isolated is primal. In a high technological world, it’s immediate. It infects emotions and actions causing confusing stresses. Mistrust and discord are cultivated. Blowback can be silent and deadly. It can feed on a lack of self-awareness. Isolation might be desired by some for periods of time. Joblessness, disease, and a host of other issues may set the stage for isolation through no fault of the person. We may become detached from the world around us. The specifics differ in each person, but much involves self-disclosure – to oneself.

The following insights of different people is Part I in a short series involving people dealing with the feeling of and actual state of being isolated. No names upon request.

Trapped! That’s how I feel. I’m trapped in my own body trying to fight back to get to the person I used to be. Unfortunately, I think that person is gone.

We went out the other day, and I got frustrated just being in a store got frustrated being around a crowd of people for no reason it makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me. I look straight ahead. I move quickly, shop, and return home to my place and tend to my fish. I have two aquariums.

No one could really understand what I go through. The pain that I go through every day not knowing when it will be the highest peak of pain. I can wake up feeling great, but I didn’t go a couple hours feeling great and I can feel it creeping up and then before you know it’s a headache it’s nauseous. Don’t want to eat too scared to throw up and I could be alone around all my loved and now I’m back into my own little world of pain.

I am more and more content with my isolation.   It’s less and less worth of engaging with most people.  My dog is my main companion.

On my second marriage, have a family, my husband has a hefty ego, good old southern boy, he says I’m a bitch. I thought that’s what he wanted.  We live together. I am attracted to other men and women. I am alone when I am with him.

Have had a good life, older now, aches and pains. My cat keeps me company.  She’s independent. We mind our own business.  Don’t see the kids anymore. When I am in a crowd I focus on why I am there. People are more hypercritical today than when I was a teenager. I read the news on the Internet.  Facebook is useless…too many celebrity worshipers and I feel like I am a product. Not sure who or what I am. Does it matter?

My family lives mostly in British Columbia and Texas. We email and call and tell each other we love each other. That means we tolerate each other. I live on the East Coast and can see US Navy ships from my patio. I prefer being single and when I feel alone, I walk the beach. Sometimes I pick up a sailor. I keep busy and smoke marijuana.

I recently viewed an interview with Mike Tyson.  The interviewer asked him what happened when his daughter died.  He said the pain was so great, he did cocaine for ten days because he just couldn’t bear the pain.  And then I looked in his eyes and I could see that box opened inside of him.  The pain was still too great to bear.  He told the interviewer he had to leave now.  I never felt so connected with another being on a subject one does not talk about out loud.

I come out and play when I am strong, confident, when I can stand in the hurricane and will not be blown down or at minimum when I can pump myself up to that level.  When I am overwhelmed, hurt, and feeling unbearable pain, or overcome by fear of failure, I have learned how to hide without using cocaine, isolating myself even with people around me.  There are so many pleasant things one can talk about or ways to be busy with “work” and not available.

Letting selected folks close to me, letting them see all the facets, the strengths/weakness, beauty/ugly, wholesome/petty, takes a great deal of time as I open very slowly, very cautiously, and if one disappoints me along this path, they are dismissed, as I do not trust them to not hurt me ultimately.  I am a master of being alone in a crowded room.  I feel all the space, all the distance.  I am able to open the box and fill the room with my energy to be felt and to be seen by all or remain hidden in plain sight.  It is an exercise to make friends rather than be alone.  The one fallback of a good dog is their lifetime is shorter than mine.  Loneliness is the one force that can drive the peace of isolation to crumble.

I live in Chicago. I try to do something every day…love the Art Institute, that’s my escape while being a widower. Can’t watch news and weary of sports. A woman in another apartment and I get together every so often. We try not to make sense of anything. We chat about whatever and then let go.

Not sure how much time I have? My sister lives in eastern Ohio and I live in northern Wisconsin. I have had surgery and am confined to my small apartment. She never visits. My parents are dead. I am alone, and sad but feisty. I made my wishes known to my pastor that at my death I want to be cremated with my ashes spread in a garden of my choice. I don’t want to be buried in a metal box in a cemetery. Besides there is no one who will visit, and maybe plant a flower. It’s a waste of space.

Married lover moved to another country; It was fun while it lasted. Nothing lasts forever. I drift in and out of relationships. One manipulative spouse was enough. I stay active as best I can to offset my work and colleagues of which I have little in common. I need the money.

Washington DC is swarming with political and legal types. It can be exciting, parochial, and hellishly meanspirited at times. I listen to music and walk the mall on my days off, watching tourists take photographs…sometimes they ask me if I will take a picture of them and hand me their camera or phone. Some days that’s more than sufficient to offset feeling isolated. I know better. I was introduced to a Supreme Court. at a social gathering. He was full of himself and has little clue. If I listen to him too much the isolated feeling is gut wrenching. I tune out…more so each week.

On my third husband. One of them died. One went to Montreal on business and never returned. The current one and I live separate lives. I have a girlfriend that’s married but we are open minded. We have to be. Adapting is knowing. that it might rain and you have to wear boots that day.

It’s all about money. I have enough for now to do things I want to do. I am lucky. But there are moments…I then lose myself in sculpting. I’m social, just living in the wrong city. It’s where I work. The price of clothes and food and my small condo are ridiculously inflated. I smile at people and sometimes they return the smile. I can sense the isolation. Therapy is expensive. I’d rather sculpt.

My family is a slew of characters, from ultra conservatives who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible to atheists. Our political difference can lead to volatile arguments. My family is large. My sister is a crossdresser and a male cousin is also. They are both straight though we have gays and lesbians in the family. I apparently am the only one that knows this about them. I enjoy listening. When we have a family gathering nothing of substance is said.  I glance at my relatives, grin at appropriate times, nod my head, drink a beer from a glass, and occasionally look at my watch.