As I read through other blogs, there’s often a theme of isolation and loneliness. I don’t think this is specific to trauma survivors, however, I do have the impression that trauma – at the very least – makes the many methods of distraction less recreationally distractive. Tv, phones, video games, take your pick. There is something in living a life with trauma which doesn’t permit a comfortable oblivion. Even when attempting to lose ourselves in different things, it’s not because of any distraction per se, but a desire to not see deeper realms from which we’re striving to hide…or really, to protect ourselves from.
In going grocery shopping today, I saw every sort of person. Walking up and down the isles, all I could think about was Billy Joel’s song “The Stranger” and “People Are Strange” by the Doors. In various therapeutic settings, I’ve passed by some folks and thought to myself “What the hell are you doing here? You seem like you’ve got yourself together. You carry your self well and present yourself well. You seem like your doing well…What the frigg?!?”
Yet I know the answer to that one myself. When I was younger, there were those who thought such things about me. None every knowing the heavy darkness which lay within…or the secrets I carried (and still do) with me.
As I walked around today, I glanced here and there, wondering how many of these folks could I run into in various therapeutic settings? How many of them drag around a heavy darkness themselves? How many secrets, kept in dank, dark portions of the soul are making their way around me?
There is a lonelyness and isolation in the life which those of us with trauma lead. I can’t relay or speak to the distractions and isolation of others. It’s like trying to understand the way of life of a different species. My world makes them uncomfortable and frightens them. Everyone asks “how are you” when meeting. Do you really want to know? I doubt it. During a streak of being a bit of a smart ass when I was younger, I used to respond “Do you really want to know?” Those who understand will be amused in reading this…
…Do you really want to know?
I understand that it’s just a conventional way of interacting. But why don’t people start a conversation with “Greetings” or “I hope your well.” Semantics perhaps, but why ask if you don’t really care? I can’t remember where the quote comes from, but it’s something like “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” I’ve lived my entire life around people who never say what they actually mean (because there’s always an underlying context), so naturally, I’m puzzled why most people don’t actually mean what they say.
But in speaking and interacting with people who are unfamiliar with trauma, it’s like trying to relate to some foreign species – Like “first contact” in a Star Trek episode: I don’t want to “interfere in the internal development of alien civilizations.” I don’t want to expose you to what I see and what my life is made up of. I don’t want you to know what I know. I don’t want to force anyone else to live the way I do. It’s just way too strange and different…
…but it’s also a life of intense loneliness and isolation.
I speak, but people hear different meanings in the words and phrases I say. They speak, and many times I assume what I’ve already heard, from others more menacing.
How am I doing?…
…do you really want to know?
…of course you don’t. You wouldn’t even understand – you wouldn’t even begin to fathom – if I told you.
Sorry for the bummer entry. Just trying to write something today,