The English poet, John Donne, famously wrote in 1624:
No man is an iland
The modern version of this is, of course: “no man is an island”.
Now, this may be true, but for those of us who battle mental illness, the feelings of being remote, detached, isolated or separated from the rest of the world are all too frequent. All to often it is easier to simply draw ourselves away, shut ourselves off from the world rather than to explain why we are the way we are and feel the way we do. Even the most well intentioned enquiries as to our well-being can cause a rush of anxiousness that makes us retreat.
Sometimes we do it because we cannot cope with the outside world. Sometimes we do it because we believe it’s better not to inflict ourselves upon others, especially those we love and care for the most.
We become reclusive, shunning contact from friends, family and loved ones just as much we avoid interaction with others. Our daily lives are lived behind walls of our own creation, walls that both protect and imprison; keeping the world safely at arm’s length outside, while shielding it from our pain.
We withdraw, we retreat, we hide away, we become insular.