By Howra Salaheddin
I’ve never been alone with my own brain for too long of a time. I was a lonely kid and I am a lonely person. I’m homebody as kids say these days. I like being in my room and doing my own thing. I like creating and reading in solitude but I’m never alone with my own brain or better said my brain is never empty enough to think about itself. I’m usually thinking about a problem my friend has discussed with me and thinking of ways to solve them for her or my brain is filled with social justice facts and anecdotes to distract myself from my own struggles. Isolation made me not only isolated from my friends and school but the real world and people I always try to help.
So now my brain has enough space to think about and check up on old friends. Seeing what they are up to and realizing I’m kind of miserable and that little seed keeps growing and growing till it turns to a tree of thorns engulfing my brain. Everybody says talk about it but I’m not good at talking about myself, maybe because I’m so used to playing pretend therapist with my friends that I don’t know how to explain it and they don’t know how to believe me. You see; the best description for my mental state is the title of this essay. I don’t show the feelings outwardly and I’m so good at not showing it that people tend to not believe me when I finally discuss it. More often than not I get the laughing emoji and the question “Are you for real?”
I know the part of the problem is me not knowing what to say and how to ask for help but part of the problem is also the mindset that strong people can’t break and you have to choose between being a reliable person or need help. I think that’s not a common mindset but something I only struggle with and I must say I don’t see anyone else is weak if they talk about their feelings, I actually encourage others but I see myself as that because maybe I’ve never learned to talk about my own feelings or maybe I just don’t like myself. I’m working on that.
I remember when I was younger and I would listen to my own mother talk about her feelings and her anxieties and insecurities and giving helpful tips I remember talking with my teachers and giving them advice on how to win over kids. I remember one time my friend asked for help about her crush that was my own crush and I helped because when someone asks for help and if I don’t have them I feel like a failure. I measure my own worth with how much people have needed me in their lives and this inherent need to help people and be helpful has not gone well in isolation. Believe it or not, people don’t have as many problems as they used to have, so it has made me feel even more worthless. That alone has made me isolate myself from my own friends in the virtual world too. I don’t message people because I don’t have anything to say and they don’t have anything for me to hear so I’d rather just not talk to people do you fear of being boring or being too much is too hard for me to get over.
I’m not completely giving up though, realizing what my problem really is also has made me take a deeper look into how I connect to people and see what’s really wrong. I’m working and working to change this. The truth is what isolation has taught me is that no matter how far you ran away from something you always end up at the same place unless you think about what you don’t want to think about or talk about the thing you don’t want to talk about. Think about it as a rigged game that has a false wall you will never get away from this maze unless you take down that wall and I’m so ready to wreck this whole thing.