For one who begins life beneath the surface of the Main Stream of social conventions, there is the constant problem of Human Interaction Deficiency, a chronic source of pain that makes functioning in every day life ever harder. Living in a void apart from everyone else, especially when young, can mean seeing oneself as superfluous, irrelevant, insignificant, outcast, and rejected.
Death never seems far away because one lives as an invisible spirit. Death never seems anything particularly bad; it means an end to a troubled existence in which one already dwells in an underworld of sorts. As one who feels undesired and forgotten, one ceases to attach any particular meaning to their demise. Why should it matter so much?
As a young man high school, life for me was much as I have described. I seriously considered suicide on several occasions. When I thought it over I did so as much from measured consideration of my situation as much from personal hurt and agony. Because death itself felt so immediate, there was nothing dramatic about it in my mind.
Ultimately, I chose not to let go. More than anything else there was a defiance in me. It seemed that giving up would be a final acknowledgment that I was Incorrect just as all my social surroundings seemed to tell me. This could not be allowed. From this resolution arose ways of coping and survival. Ways that I wish there had been an elder outcast to show me rather than in desperation discover for myself.
-A regimen of physical exercise. It is highly relaxing and a way to get out of any mental rut. Physical exertion is a tremendous release.
Seriously pursuing exercise means learning to listen to one’s body. A well honed awareness of one’s body is critical to decreasing dependence on others. (this merits its own post)
-Spend time out of doors, learn to enjoy nature, fall in love with the non-human, extra-social world around you. In time, the social sphere seems abstract and tiny in comparison to the rest of the universe.
-Isolation is a chance to develop many talents and hobbies to a level of expertise that is a lifetime beyond one’s socially integrated contemporaries. Just as Catholic priests without commitments to a trade or a family were the scholarly class for centuries, one who lives in the extra-social void has the opportunity to cultivate an active mind to which boredom and ennui are alien concepts.
-Self induced orgasms help in reducing skin cravings. By itself, not enough to satisfy the need for non-sexual intimacy and touch.
-If there’s no one to speak to about your troubles, speak to yourself. If you don’t use your mouth or don’t have occasion to make facial expressions during the day, you’ll have a stale, cramped feeling in your facial muscles. You must create the occasion by speaking and emoting on your own. Singing to yourself is a good way of achieving this, it really helps break the Silence. Make some facial expressions in the mirror every now and then. Stay in practice.
-Pets are priceless. It’s no coincidence that lonely people are stereotypically surrounded by animals. Even if not an affectionate creature, nurturing any living thing, even a gold fish or a plant can make life better. The very presence of living things, especially in an otherwise sterile house or apartment is uplifting.
-During social deprivation one does well to stimulate their senses to compensate. One of my personal favorites is appreciating fine food and drink.
Zygmunt blogs at Kingdom of Introversion.
Survival in the Void appears here by permission.
[image via Flickr/Creative Commons]