It’s not a secret that 2016 was a very difficult year for a lot of people, me included -- reflecting on my past year, I started to realize something eerily similar about all the times it almost turned around. Isolation. The moment I would start to feel connected to someone and began to deal with a tricky moment in life I pushed them away. I sought isolation subconsciously.
Recently, I wrote about community and this is a slight spin off of that. Many times, especially those of us that have a history with depression and anxiety, we push away everyone in our community. We isolate ourselves from our lifelines and then our environment begins to seep with toxicity.
Our hearts turn black and shutter at the thought of vulnerability because we have tricked ourselves into believing that our lifelines have become a noose. Isolation has become our safety blanket because we live in the fear that our vulnerability will destroy us. In fact, isolation is only a side effect of a greater issue.
I know that in my own life, when I begin to slip into depression I begin to have anxiety attacks that feel like my lungs are going to explode and I could combust any moment and with every anxiety attack I sink into myself. I isolate because I need the safety that my fear brings me.
“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
I allow myself to believe that vulnerability is my greatest danger and isolation is my only option. In doing this, I destroy what’s good at all costs, not because I want to but because I’ve begun to believe the lie that no one cares about me, that nobody wants to hear why I feel like a mess. Even though everything within me is screaming for help, I deny all my innate relationship based instincts and I settle for survival.
If you’ve ever been to a church service, you’ve probably heard someone say “We have not been called to just survive, but to thrive.” You know us Christians, it’s not a good saying unless it rhymes. As cheesy as this saying is, it’s true. Our heavenly Father didn’t just plop us down here with a big stick and say “Good luck suckers.” He gave us an instruction manual and people to help hold us up and pull us out of our internal quicksand.
1 Corinthians 12:12
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”
This brings me back to the community aspect. Isolation is dangerous because we convince ourselves that we are desperately and utterly alone. We convince ourselves that no one wants to fight for us, but in real life, no one is going to tell you off for telling them you’re broken. Admitting you need help is one of the most beautiful forms of strength. Vulnerability speaks to strength, not weakness.
Here’s a note to all the people who know someone sinking into their darkness, don’t let them. Even if they become their darkness, be their personal reflection of the light. When they push you away, fight harder.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
I leave you with this, fight for your life, fight for your friends -- fight for the people you love.