The ominous lingering of my reclusive state is starting to whisper my name. I try to ignore the voice that tells me: 'what is the point?'
Each time I have seen the flickering glimmers of hope, my enthusiasm has been stifled. Too many times my willingless to be involved was dismissed. My proposed input was greeted with apathy and indifference. For I am a man just trying to be a part of something, yet that 'something' mostly eludes me. It teases me from a distance. What does it take to be accepted?
Yes I am the reluctant recluse. With every thread of my courage, I proceed out the front door. I try to exude kindness, compassion and I know my ability to make people laugh is infectious. Inside this man, their is a much different story. A tale of terror, a tale of pain and loneliness. Yet there is a perception that I'm okay.
Well that perception is wrong. I am not okay. Yes I do the best I can but I do it on my own. In a way, the fact that I have had to get on with it, has made me proud of what can be accomplished without support. I am a very busy recluse. I have been busy being a Father, busy acting as a Mother, busy being mentally ill. Despite all these challenges, somehow, my positive attitude glows with the thought, that soon, on that very magical day, I will realise my own inner peace.
There is a perception that I am out their social networking. I do see the occasional person and I am most grateful for this. Yet mostly I sit here and try to interact with my online community of friends. They have been a vital lifeline, in a life that is full of bizarre extremes. This virtual world has given me the chance to finally be involved with people who are becoming a circle of empathy.
To reduce the pain and anxiety of my reclusive state, during the last two Christmas days, I have stayed online in a mental health forum 'chat room'. I announced that I was there for anyone who was in a situation similar to mine, or anyone who just wanted to chat. From early morning until late at night, I stayed online. Nothing happened. I sat there in the haunting quiet of my home, stared at our dog Penny and I cried. That is my reality, a reality that may strike a chord with those of you who have been overwhelmed by relentless isolation.
Despite what I have just written, deep within me beats the possiblity that I can truly be a part of something very special. So here I am, still surrounded by own nagging self doubts. Still trying to discover some self esteem and make a positive impact in this world.
I am pleased to announce that the power of an empathetic community that is happening online, is growing. I am heartened that people are taking the time to display positive interaction. I can think of no finer example than the collaboration blog: 'A Symphony of Empathy', that I had the great privilege of doing with 'dcrelief''.
Yes I am mostly a recluse, a recluse on a mission, a recluse on a journey. The power of this empathetic community gives us the strength to challenge those who would undermine and devalue the goodness that we want to share. In the middle of somewhere? Yes I am. That 'somewhere' is a very special place in my heart.