Thought Catalog
March 14, 2017

This Is What Happens When You’ve Been Alone For So Long

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What is the issue?
Eric Nopanen

It creeps up on you without you even realizing it. It descends upon you as naturally as the sun sets into the night. Like day turns to night, you realize that your once happy heart has been replaced by a black hole.

You don’t know where it came from or how it got there, you just know that you feel like you’ve been left in the middle of the Sahara, or stranded on a deserted island. You don’t know what this feeling is or how to get rid of it. But slowly, day by day, you start getting used to it. And you begin to recognize this for what it is…..Loneliness….You’re alone.

Not physically of course.No, physically, you’re surrounded. Family, friends, classmates, coworkers, strangers. People who think they know this person laughing gaily in front of them. People who love having you around because you’re the funny one. The one who doesn’t mind looking silly. The one who makes them look good and feel better about themselves.

People who can’t see this black hole that is growing bigger and bigger everyday sucking the very life out of you . And you feel alone….

You learn to live with this feeling, going through the motions of living daily but not actually living. Walking through the rain but not feeling the raindrops on your face.

In a way, you blame yourself. You were tired of getting hurt. Tired of having your heart trampled on. Tired of being used and unloved. Tired of never being good enough. Tired of just being tired. And so you realized that if your heart breaks one more time, you may never be able to recover from it again. And so you listen to your instinct. First, you lock your heart up in a box. You throw away the key. And piece by piece, you start building up your walls. Walls made of brick, iron and steel. Cold, hard and impenetrable.

You are exhilarated with this new-found freedom. Nothing can hurt you. You’re not that person anymore. That sensitive little soul who was always pitied. Now those who used to pity you, admire you because you are a strong fortress and nothing fazes you. You bask in this new world, where you are a carefree soul. And why shouldn’t you? You can stand alone. You don’t need anyone to feel happy or loved. You are strong in your isolation. Most importantly, your heart will never break again.

And so you live in you castle of iron walls, watching the world swirl around from the inside of your fortress but never really being able to swirl together with it..You can see the sunshine from the one little window you have allowed, lighting up the lives of those on the outside. But it’s light and warmth never really reaches you.

You soon realize that this castle, this very castle that you built brick by brick, is no longer your haven and safe port. This same castle has become your prison. Your heart is safe, yes. But it is also cold and numb.The castle that protected you from hurt and helped you to never again shed a tear, is the same castle that is caging you making you unable to feel even the good things.

And so you struggle. You struggle to escape this fortress that has now become your prison. You long to feel again. But you don’t know how. Your walls are too thick and try as you might, they don’t seem to be coming down. You long for the one soul, that one person who is brave enough to come and help you tear these walls down and set you free, but your castle was built to withstand even the most determined. Thorns have grown around it and anyone who dares try to peer into it’s depths find it too dark and dangerous a path to tread.

Yes, there are some who think they know you. They have found a not-so-thorny space where a little sunlight still shines through. But even they draw back in fear when they venture a little too far in and are faced with the thorns and darkness that hide your fears.

And so you while away your life. Each day stretches out before you in an eternal gloom. You try and remember the last time you actually laughed. Not your fake, surface laugh, but that deep, muscle cramping laugh that arises from the depths of your soul. But the memory is fleeting, like a whisper in the wind. You frantically look around to see if anyone can see the struggle in your eyes, and you come to the realization, that while you are surrounded by many… You are alone. TC mark

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