My Relationship With Solitude: Stockholm Solomania

It’s been a long time since I wrote about me, in an attempt to explain, reveal, or understand myself, my thoughts and my behavior. But the introspection disease has hit again. I can’t tell whether I am writing these explanations in order to understand myself, or so that others will understand me. I don’t know whether there is a difference, or if it matters.

I have a life theme. It may sound romantic and fantastic, like my life is a well-organized script, but honestly it’s just a bother: solitude. I have a ridiculously complex relationship with that phenomenon. Especially over the past 5-6 years, I’ve seen it crop up again and again and again in different forms, before I even understood the theme enough to name it. Probably no one pays as much attention to me as to note the sequence of my Twitter bios, but for a relatively long time, it read: “Solitude is the theme of my life.” Quite obviously, this is both a good thing and a bad thing. But that’s not, for me, something that I can accept, acknowledge and move on.

I’m followed by the theme of solitude like it’s a personal raincloud above my head. It never lets me forget. I feel like the word “solitary” is or should be permanently tattooed on my overlarge forehead. It’s an active thought that occurs to me at least twenty times in a day, and sometimes it gets too much, and begins to drive me crazy.

I don’t like people. I know a lot of people say that, but as far as I can see, they don’t actually mean it. The idea of group work of any kind does not appeal to me. If that means I’m not a “team player”, I am sorry; I don’t care though. Most of the time, when given the choice, I would rather be alone. When I am alone is when I am most comfortable, and when I am happiest. Especially when I have no obligations to other people. You know there are people who would, for example, base in their rooms but leave the door wide, as an open invitation for company? I’m the type of person that would opt for a single room, spend more time inside it than anywhere else, and essentially lock myself in it, so no one can find me. (The downside, of course, is that people always know where to find me.) I probably will not make an effort to strike up conversation with random people around me. I appreciate the silence. It would be so much better if I didn’t think the other person(s) thought it was awkward.

I have a social recharge system. When I attend a social gathering, or even generally just go out into the midst of people, I get drained. But I will perform my part to some extent, because a performer is what I am. When I get back, though, I feel a tiredness that is nearly entirely psychological. I develop an abhorrence of people when I’m in recharge mode, and an inertia to leave my house, or even my room. Like, I will internally groan if someone tries to enter my space. If I have a scheduled function when I’m recharging, it frays me. Obviously classes are not my favorite thing in the world.

Examining the reasons for why I’m like this is difficult. Although I do feel like there is something STRANGE about me naturally that nobody else in the world that I know of has, that I’m misunderstood or impossible to understand, these aren’t always the reason I seek solitude. I do it because it actually feels good.

Until it starts making me insane. At random times, my solitude can feel like a prison. My God, I have a madly hyperactive mind. And then, when thoughts are flowing through my head at rapid fire speed so that I reach a point that I’m thinking so much that I don’t know what I’m thinking, I feel like exploding. I feel like there is no one available to share it all with, and then I have to support my madness all by myself and it’s hard and there’s no escape. Except sleep, sometimes.

I am quite possibly one of the most independent people I know. I consider it a result of having spent so much time over the past 5-6 years existing in communities or among people that I cannot connect with. So, socially, I’m good with being alone. It doesn’t mean that I’m competent on doing stuff and figuring stuff out on my own though. It just means I am socially okay with being singular. I don’t understand people who can’t go and have a meal in a public spot without someone else with them. I don’t understand people who wouldn’t rather sit at an empty table. I can’t get it when people feel the compulsion to ask who wants to come with, when they’re going somewhere, and then actually wait for a positive response before they leave. But most of all, I can’t understand why the automatic conception of people who are alone is that they are sad, couldn’t possibly have chosen their condition, and would prefer people’s company at the particular time that they are alone.

I am quite possibly one of the clingiest people I know. And I know this goes in contrast to nearly all of the things I have just said, but I honestly have several ways to rationalize it. They may be invalid, but they may also be valid. The question is whether or not they’re true, and I can’t tell.

Possibility: Because I dislike people in general, it is rare and extra special when I find someone I really like and actually, voluntarily want to leave my solitary comfort zone for, in order to spend time with them. And so I get more or less addicted to them.

Possibility: Because I feel misunderstood so much of the time, I am constantly searching for someone with even the capacity to get what goes on in my mind. And when I do find them, it’s like my whole life is made, and then I develop an addiction.

Possibility: I’m painfully lonely and I want to feel like I matter to someone, and I want someone to hug me and listen to me and help me convince myself that I’m not raving mad. Even though I am.

I can’t “just talk to someone” when I’m in the moods where solitude feels like a prison. There are not a lot of people who (immediately) fit the criteria of people I feel like I can talk to. I will not and cannot be vulnerable to just anyone. Unless I’m blogging on the internet, where anyone with internet access can read. Which is ironic to ridiculous proportions. And if I don’t feel like you’re “that person”, I simply can’t talk to you no matter how much you try to coerce me or tell me to trust you. When I’m lonely, which is often, I will break down and cry. And it won’t be long until I have to perform being socially and emotionally fine again.

The bottom line is: I hate being alone. It feels like prison.

The bottom line is: I love being alone. It liberates me.

Do you see the problem? Stockholm Solomania. Solomania is a word I made up because I could not find a word that already meant what I wanted it to mean. Solomania is the term I give to a consistent, increasing or burning desire to be alone/ desire for solitude. Stockholm because you hate it, it can hurt you, you can feel imprisoned by solitude…but you love it. Kind of like Stockholm Syndrome.

In another sphere, I realize that this phenomenon has increased effects in my own depression. Surprisingly enough, one time I was on Twitter, #MyDepressionLooksLlike trended. And all these people with mental health issues let the truths of their experiences out, and the one thing/theme I saw repeating itself was how these depressed people deliberately isolated themselves and then felt like crap when it seemed like there was just no one around to help them, or be with them. Looking for solitude, and solitude being a problem? Well I could relate. Sounded like Stockholm Solomania to me.

The question is, how do I deal with this, or how do I want to deal with this? How I do deal with this is by my koala-like attachment to my best friend, whomever that may be at the moment. He turns into my on-call breakdown buddy. He turns into my official hug-provider. Best friendship for me means this. Lately, I have found myself in a foreign place. He is not here, and yes, it is hard, being a continent away, and internet connectivity problems for various reasons and time differences are not helping the situation at all. So now that he’s not here, how do I want to deal with it? The exact same way. I know that my mental health is not on ordinary levels. But it’s not, it’s never “professionals” I want. Ever. Nor people who are “trained for stuff like this”. It’s always friends. And not ordinary friends. Higher level friends, who connect with me intellectually and comprehend emotionally. They never need to think or feel like me, but they do need empathetic capacity. Friend. Not person-I-have-to-make-an-appointment-with-who-helps-me-because-it’s-their-job-and-they’ve-been-trained-to. I don’t freaking have time for that.

There is a conflict. Where and how to find friends. Higher level friends. When I can’t leave my room. When I don’t want to leave my room. It’s a miracle how I made the few of such friends that I already have, and have had.

I just want to travel the world, possibly alone, for the rest of my life. Although, with this condition, I don’t know how I’m ever going to get anything like that done.

-Akotowaa

Soliloquy With The Concrete

A mural of elaborate scribbles on a concrete wall

Knees scraped from the gravel on the ground

Black chalk grinds on white, scratching marks

In the light of a blood moon, in an empty alley.

A heavy heart soliloquizes with the concrete

And when the sun finally rises, soon

The wall will tell stories to unsuspecting auditors.

-Akotowaa

Stockholm Solomania

You are

a conflicting, raging storm within me

causing my identity to form and tumble

before my eyes.

 

You never leave me;

My best friend through thick and thin,

a force field, shielding me

from multitudes nearly close enough

to permeate.

 

I want to be held

but you say no.

I want to be released

and you say go.

Yet freedom from captivity

ceases to be alluring

the moment the shackles

are unlocked.

 

Again you leave me

in a cycle of unresolution

so I fear

there are years

more of this to come.

 

Drag me downwards

into self-destruction

for I am unsure

how long I can endure

this soul-deep indecision.

 

You are lodged in my heart

in the deepest incision

but I do not want

you to be rid of me.

 

-Akotowaa

ARMY

You

in what army?

This one, I say

and look around –

yet all my soldiers

are merely clones of me.

Mirages, they

disappear.

I remain,

shield and sword in hand

unready to take on the world.

 

It is the nightmare

after being woken from the dream;

not a soul stands beside me

in my battle

for they have wars of their own –

they may have chosen not to fight –

but are still not obliged to stand in mine.

 

See my phalanx

with myself:

strike me down,

and another me rises to take my place

as always,

I fight:

in a one-man army.

-Akotowaa