Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sack Cloth and Ashes

I strongly believe that when I am sick and my immunity is down, isolation makes for faster healing, and prevents the invasion of another colony of attackers. And so, in the same way that I choose to isolate myself when I have the flu, or a nasty cold, or a sore throat, by default I isolate myself when I have other maladies including sadness. Whether it is a conscious or a subconscious decision, I can’t be sure. But I do know that I do what I do cause I don’t want to go out in public and indiscriminately spread sadness around.

That’s when neighbors and friends, who are eternally busy in the rush and crush of life, and who keep the roads around here hot and well-traveled because they can’t enjoy their own company, begin a campaign to find help for me. And soon they are stopping in daily, wanting to talk, wanting to share happy-pill stories, and wanting to rush me off to the medics for enthusiastic dispensation of samplers of an endless array of mind-altering drugs.

Now, admittedly, it is difficult to get statistics on drug use – with no accurate way of recording street drugs and weak-tracking of prescription drugs. But it has been suggested that one in ten of all the people in North America take mind-altering drugs. That leads me to believe it has become a fashion trend rather then a rapidly perpetuating medical circumstance.

Anti-depressants are dished out like candy to people like me who have a natural reactive need for isolation because of the overwhelming stimulus of too much distressing information. The whole world seems committed to rousting out all anti-social people holed up in private places, to get them back on the busy pathways of what someone, somewhere, has deemed ‘normal’.

But is it them or is it me? Why can’t anyone understand that reclusive behavior can sometimes be better medicine for the sick at heart than mind-altering drugs. Why is it so hard to understand that what I need is time-out from blow-by-blow media descriptions that spare no details of everything going on in every corner of the globe? And that I need time-out from the corrupt and blatant lying tongues of those in seats of power? And time-out from the stupidity of those who commit unnatural acts that wound the innocent, weak, and vulnerable?

The helplessness I feel makes me long only to be left alone to ponder life. And to wonder when my intense desire to be left alone will be recognized as what it is. Not so much a symptom of depression as a healing biological reaction, like the natural formation of a scab to safely protect, bind, and heal an open wound.

And all of this bothersome demonstrated doting and concern just because I sometimes do like my mother, and her mother before her, and her mother before her. I shut off my television, pull the drapes, paste up my ‘do-not-disturb’ sign, dress myself in sackcloth and ashes, and go to my room muttering with complete disgust and discouragement…

“I don’t know what this world is coming to!”

10 comments:

Kate said...

I love this writing, Roberta. I've felt much the same; like I wanted to crawl into a hole and pull it shut after me. But I'm glad when you come out again. Thanks for putting a link on for me.

Pauline said...

Post this on the front of the door before you slam it, R, and those outside may finally understand.

I feel the same way. It's one of the reasons I treasure living alone...

Roberta S said...

Hi kate. Thanks for the supportive comment. Always nice to have you drop by even when I'm feeling such disenchantment with the world at large.

Roberta S said...

Sounds like a plan, pauline. Or maybe I could stick it on my back, just so others won't think that I was the opinionated one that put it there. Like the scurrilous game of "kick me" sign-rotation that we played as kids.

S L Cunningham said...

Roberta,

Love the title. Maybe one of the problems we have in modern society is that we don't know when or how to pull back. We're always on the go, always feeling pressed for time. We don't make enough time for ourselves, our family and friends. In a frantic society where disconnectedness is the norm, it is no wonder that people become depressed, lonely and confused. Unfortunately, pills aren't the answer. Instead, we need to do more of what so wonderfully suggest:". . .shut off {the} television, pull the drapes, & paste up my ‘do-not-disturb’ sign. . ."

Scot

Joy Des Jardins said...

You know Roberta....I read your post a while ago and didn't know how to respond to it at the time. I so relate to what you say. I too feel the need to be left alone at times and pull back into the quiet to think things out....or just be. But I fluctuate from feeling that desire to feeling guilty about feeling that way....and making sure I connect again. I'm not sure why I should feel guilty about it. I think it's because I don't want my kids worrying that something is wrong or that I'm in any kind of a depression. It's one thing if my kids know I'm having a blue day...it's an entirely different thing if they think I'm in a depression. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Roberta S said...

scot, you have an amazing way of putting things into context in a way that makes my own writing easier for even me to understand. You've certainly done that with this comment. I do welcome the lending hand you've given here for clarifying what I had difficulty explaining in some kind of rational way. Thanks for visiting.

Roberta S said...

joy, I know exactly what you're talking about. But for me, less and less I feel the guilt. On the other hand maybe that isn't true. Maybe I just feel better because I blogged about it and that gave me a chance to vent a bit.

Still, I have to admit, that after being a mother and caregiver all my life, I forget that my kids now worry about me the way I have always worried about them. It always gives me a start when they remind me of their concern. I tend to forget about that. And so, as much as I hate going to the doctor for check-ups, I must go occasionally for their sake as much as my own. When I am too stubborn, they remind me that they now feel responsible for "my" welfare and for that very reason I must do things that I'd rather not do to ease their concern. And then they remind me how unreasonable I get when they don't eat right, get enough rest, go for check-ups, etc. etc.

jim said...

Again, well said, nail on the head, tis true no doubt, the synthetic substitute is no cure but is the extention of the illness. Wow!

Roberta S said...

Thanks jim. So pleased you found worth in this wee rant.