It sounds like a vacation from all the stresses in your life. The world no longer pestering you, daily grinding routines placed on a shelf, but the cost is higher than you think. Spending that kind of time trapped within yourself, even the most mentally strong person will break. Tom Hanks talking to a volleyball kind of breakdown. Homeless person wandering around the park talking to the ghosts in his head kind of depression. I’ve been there for health reasons. I been there from dealing with a depression that just had me calling into work saying “I’ll be doing my thing from my house today”. You don’t want to cut yourself off from people, you won’t come out of it better.
Every movie, book, television show where someone has to retreat into themselves deep into the recesses of the wilderness rarely happens because they are doing well. Emotions taking such a toll that they stop being able to relate to society and start writing manifestos about the overthrowing of governments by our new robot overlords. I retreated so far within myself that I needed to get away from my house, my family, and ran to a friend’s home 300 miles away where I could isolate myself from the pressures that were absolutely crushing my spirit.
This cancer thing makes you sometimes chose to do something in other’s best interests, but at the same time it can be absolutely the worst thing for you. I’ve railed about how leaving some friends was hard and that I wished I hadn’t done it. I justify it by saying I didn’t want them to be trapped in a setting where they might see the ex and be forced to lie about what I am up to. Those very people are both my weakness and unfortunately the strength I might have been able to pull from. The irony isn’t lost on me.
It was okay for those couple of days after my daughter died. People expected that I was going to be in a fog. Staying in the house and just needing some time to figure things out. Unlike some people, it was such a shock to me that I couldn’t explain something that I was having a hard time accepting. But by the next Monday, I was back in the office and trying to meet the eyes of those around me. A peak of normalcy that I was desperate for.
I told someone recently the reason for running away. I knew Kathy would sit there and force me to sit there with her. That sitting in the room wasn’t an option. Even when I can’t get up, she still sits there with me for a little while. Letting me know she isn’t going anywhere. It’s something that was sorely missing from my relationship at its end. I voluntarily told my ex that she should pick her mother’s craziness because I didn’t want to be the person who says, “Me or them”. That was someone else’s game. I knew I was going to be alone dealing with my health and that was a choice. I let myself be cut out to save someone else. That was a very hard two weeks, waiting for help that never came.
A night away, a weekend where someone takes the kids and visits grandma; those are all good things. A little time to recharge and maybe do something different. But I promise you, that isolating yourself for a month will cost you something you don’t want to pay. Your spirit, your comfort, and your emotions will come out of the other side different than they went in. Scars you didn’t know about come to the surface, fears dance in your dreams, and those just don’t go away. They become less over time, time with other people. So why let them come out to begin with?
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Inside the Bubble.”