I am feeling bad feelings of isolation lately. It’s really to do with the particular dynamics of the house right now and the state of my marriage. It is one of the feelings I hate the most and I haven’t quite felt this way since my last year in college.
For my senior year at college the plan was to move off campus. I know a lot of people do this much earlier, but I always enjoyed living on and for my junior year I was actually in an apartment that was technically off campus even though it was right next to a dorm. But this was going to be really off campus, a few blocks away in a legitimate apartment complex. I was going to live with one of my best friends at the time and the girl I was dating was going to be literally next door. This was a great setup.
We moved in as planned but I nearly immediately felt uncomfortable. I really don’t know what it was but I felt like I had made a big mistake. I started to freak out and got to the point I couldn’t be there anymore, I needed to find another place to be. School had already started and all on campus housing was full so I couldn’t go back. Two more blocks away from campus was large house shared by several friends of mine. They to had made arrangements over the summer to move off campus. I went over there and felt better. The house was large, alive and bustling. I was desperate and literally needed a place to be so I asked them if I somehow could stay there. The problem was they were all full too, except for some space in the attic. I took it. I lived in that attic for a few weeks until the last roommate that was supposed to fill the last room in the house never showed up. Fortune shined on me, I got the last room.
I always felt good in that house and had a great senior year, except for the fact that I had left my good friend out in the cold. He was confused and angry and I couldn’t really explain my actions. I felt bad and guilty but I did pay my share of the rent; I would never stick him with the bill like that for my crazy actions.
Why did I feel so horrible in that apartment and why did I feel so much better in the house? If I felt disconnected from the school, well the house was even farther away so that didn’t make sense. I think a big part of it was the number of people in the house. With just my friend and I in the apartment it was too isolating. The apartment wasn’t tiny but it wasn’t huge either and there wasn’t enough light. The house was much larger and had more light. And with a house full of people it helped distract me from the fact that we were out on our own, physically disconnected from school. And with a house that populated you are rarely alone, not for long. These are the only explanations I have. But it gets worse
When I graduated I went back home for a bit to figure out what to do next. I didn’t have a firm plan yet for post graduation. After just a week or so at home I had a complete nervous breakdown, my first. The senior year house helped patch whatever was going on with me that started when I moved into that apartment but now that I was home, just my parents and me, the isolation came back with a vengeance. I started to realize maybe the whole problem was graduation itself and the severing of myself from college altogether. That was the root of the isolation. Graduation would isolate me from school and my friends possibly forever. That whole world I had come to know and love so much was going to be over. Having no clear plan for a future beyond that made things much worse.
I would sit on the sofa in our living room and cry. I felt despondent and had no idea what to do. I would go sometimes to an outdoor mall nearby sometimes and walk around or sit at a table and just be there. Strangely, this always made me feel better. Sitting there, being among people even though I was not at all with them and nobody acknowledged me. Mom sent me to a psychologist who was the most worthless professional I have ever met. I think I actually said to him “They pay you for this? Because you’re not doing anything. I could get more out of talking to a wall.” How did I pull out of this? Hook up, and I do mean hook up with a friend from college who also happened to be moving to the same city I was to start our careers.
I have isolation issues to this day, obviously. Remember the Gloom From Out Of The Blue post where I was upset about a potential new house. That was isolation too or as my psychologist called it, existential loneliness, which sounds a lot cooler. I haven’t been back to see her in awhile so we never got a chance to work that one out but I probably should along with my avoidance issues.