There is a place in my head where I feel alone. It’s like a cold, dark cave in which I find myself trapped, and no one is there with me. I can see everyone else. Not through a hole, but more as just a general awareness that everyone else is happy, living the good life, except here I am, apart… alone….
I don’t know how to get out of this dark cave. As I look up, I see the mouth of the cave is wide open, and light floods in through it, whispering of the joy that can be found outside the cave. I truly want to get there, to leave this place behind, but… how do I take that first step?
I feel paralyzed. Like that moment when you wake up in the middle of the night and think about getting up, but don’t feel like you have the ability to do so, because your brain is still telling you that you’re asleep. Sleep paralysis…. I can’t move…. I’m just stuck.
Only a few friends notice when I’m trapped in the cave. They may ask me what’s wrong, but I shrug it off. In part because I don’t have the words to express how I feel. In part because I don’t have the energy to handle their follow-up questions. Or perhaps I’m simply too afraid to share the truth. I don’t want people to worry about me or to delve too deep into the places where I myself am afraid to go. So I tell them I’m fine, just a little tired.
I feel so alone in this place. Not because people don’t love me, but because I can’t open myself up to them. And because I’m too nervous with my own feelings to even explore them. It feels like there’s a chasm waiting right in front of me, and if I explore my thoughts too closely, I’ll fall off the side of that cliff into that chasm. So… it’s easier to stuff my thoughts away. It’s easier to sleep them off. It’s easier to ignore them as I spend all night watching Netflix. I’m afraid of my thoughts and emotions, so I turn around and walk away.
But I can’t keep this up…. Deep down, I know that I must confront my fears, confront the emotions and insecurities. I can’t choose isolation forever. I must bring my friends into the process. But how? How do I choose courage? How do I let myself get so close to that cliff? How do I make these useless feet work so that I can walk out of the cave and into the light?
Sometimes it really does feel hopeless…. Those questions are too hard to answer, too scary to approach. Still, I can’t hide forever. I can’t live my life in a vegetative state. If I truly want to live, I know I must approach these topics, no matter how hard that seems. So… where do I start? How do I move forward?