I am ill. Again. This time I feel excessively sick, and tired. Not sick and tired, as in angry or fed up, more vomitous and sleepy as in ill.
I have been ill a lot over the past year, it is, they say, a side effect of depression. A very generous illness – can’t sleep, often ill, crying for no reason etc etc
However, the thing I am finding the most difficult at the moment is something that has been building over the past 6 months ago. I feel entirely disconnected from the world around me.
When I initially had my nervous breakdown last year, I was single and aware that being alone was incredibly unhealthy for me. I was out and about all the time. I was incredibly sociable and developed some incredible friendships which got me through the toughest year of my life.
I guess this made me think ‘maybe I am not one of those depressed people that doesn’t want to see anyone!’ This made me happy, as I love my friends and the idea of driving them away by hiding away makes me sad. One of my greatest fears has always been rejection. Like everyone else, I just want people to love me!! Selfish, maybe but pretty standard in my limited experience of the world.
Yet, over the past 6 months I have found myself withdrawing more and more. This is frustrating, not least because I am happier and more content than I have been for a long while!
Perhaps this is part of the cause. I now believe that my friends do love me and therefore do not feel the need to be around them all the time. However I think not.
I do believe my friends love me, often despite my being a complete hermit and therefore not really available for them. I really do want to be there for my friends. I want to be helpful. I care deeply about them and will fight for them, just give me a bit more rest time first…
I guess the main reason I don’t think I am withdrawing because I am comfortable is because I am finding that I feel more and more disconnected from God.
I feel a bit like a bit of pastry. I am getting rolled out, which is great, but I just keep getting rolled. I am stretched too thin and can’t really contain anything.
This last few weeks have been interesting. Around all the talk about Internet abuse there have been some interesting points. Vicky Beeching has spoken of a ‘broken binary‘ where the ‘real world’ and ‘online world’ are now one and the same, and yet we continue to talk as if they are not.
At focus I met a woman I now consider to be one of my closest friends. We have been communicating for months and developing a deep and precious relationship. However, I met her for the first time less than 2 weeks ago. It was weird. It didn’t feel like a first time meeting, it felt normal, natural and just like seeing one of my best friends.
I think this is where part of my problem lies. I am one of those people talking about ‘online’ and ‘offline’ worlds. Yet I don’t live the distinction I speak. I am someone who loves relationship but I feel drained as I am not putting boundaries into my life. I expect to be able to invest in relationships all the time, and yet – because of the nature of the internet being always with me on my phone, when I am alone, I am not really alone.
I am still investing in relationships, either by text, twitter, email, blog or any other way. I am always in communication with someone.
This has left me exhausted and questioning how on earth I am meant to invest in anyone. I miss my friends. The ones I have had for years. The ones I see less of. I love my new friends, the ones I meet up with on twitter. I don’t know really how to create an effective boundary to ensure that being for ever available does not actually get in the way of creating space to just be. Quiet and alone.
It is in these spaces that my relationship with God has always been given the opportunity to flourish. I invest here, I read the bible, pray, listen and reflect. So, if I keep my phone ever with me, am I running the risk of investing ‘too much’ in my friends online and not enough in my relationships not found through the Internet?
This is all a new revelation to me. I love the idea of a broken binary put forward by Vicky. I believe that the relationships I make online are as valuable as those offline, therefore I must take time to step back from both when needing to rest and regain strength. Through doing this, perhaps I will regain that sense of balance.
Maybe I will offer the necessary support, love and strength to all friends regardless of what the context of our relationship is. I would like this. I am tired of feeling disconnected and useless. Tired of feeling like a failure and tired of being ill.
I am happy! I am doing well, I say all of this because I am pondering the nature of my relationship with the Internet and the world. I am now heading off to the country. Despite the rambling nature of this post, it is going up anyway… what can I say? I am living on the edge!