Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tearing Down the Wall

Isolation is one of the biggest symptoms of depression. Depressed people don't isolate deliberately or because they don't like other people - on the contrary. They do it because they don't feel worthy; they fear rejection; and they simply lack the energy reach out.

For as long as I can remember, I struggled with social anxiety. When I was in grade school, I was painfully shy with my peers - not the first kid to jump into games, and always the last to be picked for teams. More often than not, I found myself on the outside looking in.  

Then in my late teens, I was introduced to my "lover" {alcohol} and discovered "liquid courage", as the late author Caroline Knapp aptly referred to it. When I poured each first drink, I poured my soul back into my skin. 

As the years wore on, the social bonding began to diminish. The drink became the focus of everything - wine was the sun, and my passion revolved around it - drawn by its gravity, but not realizing its center was a black hole. I began to wall myself in, brick by brick, until I was indeed isolated - not alone, but all alone.

Then, when I took my last sip 7.5 years ago, I opened up emotionally again to people in recovery, though I was still afraid share myself with friends and family. And as the afterglow of sobriety faded around year 2, I slid right back into social anxiety and dysthymia. Once again, I was the awkward kid, and the wall grew thicker and stronger until it finally imploded on me last fall.

In these past few months of recovery, my wall of isolation has begun to come down - piece by piece. It is amazing to me really. For the first time since my 20s, I have been socializing on my own! 

got together with a friend for coffee last month and, get this - I was the one who initiated it! Since then, I've gone to coffee 4 times with friends and it feels so good to connect with other women! I am very blessed to have great female friends {you know who you are ;) } and I look forward to making more in the future. 


RECOVERY STEP #4: Break the isolation by reaching out to at least one other person - get out of your comfort {or discomfort!} zone. 

No comments: