Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Self-imposed solitary

I'm a talker. Not necessarily in the sense that I talk a lot, but in the sense that I NEED to talk about stuff to process. For whatever reason, I've been completely shutting myself off from my support system and digging myself deeper and deeper into the morass that is my life because I'm not letting anyone help me out.

Take the situation with my BFF, for example. I saw her a couple of weeks ago for the first time since October. In the six months between visits, I managed to not return calls, take days or weeks to respond to e-mails, and completely forget about her birthday. For a whole week. We had about half an hour alone together during our whirlwind visit, and I managed to give her a pretty good nutshell summary of the shit that's been going on with me for months. After I got it all out, she just looked at me and said, "Why didn't you call me?"

I didn't have a good answer for her. The best I could come up with is that I don't want to be a burden to my friends. I feel like I'm a lead weight slowly sinking to the bottom of the ocean with no hope of seeing the surface ever again. I don't want to drag the women I love most in the whole world down there with me. No point in all of us drowning, right?

Because my BFF is my BFF, she told me I'm being stupid and I can absolutely talk to her about anything and everything without having to worry about being a burden. Which I know. It's one of those things that I know intellectually, but can't quite make myself believe. I'm pretty sure all of my good friends would feel the same way if I had this conversation with them.

The thing is, as much as I need to talk and process to start getting my life back in order, I just can't make myself do it. I've shared a lot on this blog in the past three years, but there are a lot of things that I haven't shared. These are things that I haven't told anyone. Not you, not my mom, not my BFF, not my college roommate, not my friend down the street. Until a couple of months ago, I hadn't even told them to my counselor - the one person who knows me and all my neuroses, but knows no one else in my life she might share my inner self with.

I think part of the problem is fear. I know what my friends are going to say to me, and maybe, just maybe, I don't really want to face up to those truths. I know I need to, but I just don't wanna. Instead, I put myself in solitary confinement - 23 hours a day locked in my little cell and only limited interaction with others on my hour off.

I'm truly afraid I'm doing irreparable harm to my friendships. I'm not the friend I need and want to be right now. I barely talk to my best friend from law school, my college roommate, or my good friends who live in different states. I ignore facebook messages from friends who want to get together. I give up trying to make plans after a few feeble back-and-forth e-mails. It takes me days to return phone calls, if I ever return them at all. I forget birthdays and anniversaries. I'm not the strong support for friends in crisis that I usually am (or try to be, anyway).

Unfortunately, I don't know what to do to fix this. There are days and weeks when I make some effort, but it tends to fall flat. All I can come up with to make me better is drugs and lots of them, but even that hasn't been working much lately. So I stay in my tiny cell where the walls are closing in and threatening to crush me.

No wonder solitary confinement is a punishment-of-choice in prison. It does a number on a person's will.


Michelle said...

One step at a time. Love you Em.

Jen said...

::hugs:: Love you.