I’ve heard other people talk about how they ‘can’t stand being alone’. I’ve glimpsed this feeling when I’ve spooked myself in a creaky house and had to drown out weird noises with some music. Then there was that time my solitary walk home in the dark turned into a run. I’ve always understood solitude’s nemesis to be fear, not loneliness, and this appeared manageable. I could placate fear with rational thinking.
Fear though, comes in many forms and it seems I needed to find the right fear to completely see solitude’s shadow.
Lately, I’ve been unwell. The type of unwell that isn’t explained by the flu or lack of sleep or a migraine. My strange symptoms and their unknown cause created an anxiety attack severe enough for my doctor to prescribe me anti-anxiety medication. Unfortunately, these in turn, had their own disturbing side-effects. During this time, the thought of solitude petrified me.
But there’s light in that shadow.
I’m reminded how awesome it is to feel well. I even have a stronger appreciation (if that’s the right word) for other fleeting pains simply because they are familiar and understood. And I feel thankful that I still do not know what it is to be truly sick.
I’m reminded how extraordinary my family are and how lucky I am to have them. They made sure I kept eating when I lost my appetite, they distracted me from my worries with games and activities, and they kept me laughing and kept me company.
And I feel more grateful for solitude. I know that when I am happy in my solitude, I am well. I know too, if the fear takes over, I’m not alone.