It was necessary for me to spend several years virtually alone.
Not completely alone. Not as alone as some people are all the time, I realize. And in a house that at one point had three kids and at another point had six, the observer would be hard-pressed to think this resembled any kind of solitude at all.
But most of what was going on around me had nothing to do with me. And I was physically and mentally unable to connect.
So for me ... this was pretty alone.
My mother would call me and stop by, a couple times a week. A few people called me once in awhile. And maybe if I'd been able to have a proper conversation, they might have called more often. But, really, that was it for many years. That was it.
I don't like enforced solitude. I like to be alone frequently but I like to have a say in the matter. This was a very frustrating situation for years on end. It was SO not what I wanted. And if I could have figured out a way to change it I'd have done it in a heartbeat.
But I think that it was probably necessary for me to be that alone, to feel that alone, in order to recover.
Even good stressors are stressors on a faulty immune system and worn out adrenals. If there's a problem in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) or in the stress response, or in the amygdala or in some other part of the body -- and there is -- then even the good stressors can wreak havoc.
And if there'd been people around for me, I'd have grabbed 'em. No question. So maybe it was a good thing that I was unable physically and mentally (note, I do not add emotionally -- this ain't depression) to deal with people.
I needed my brain to lay fallow, like a field with nothing growing in it. As empty as possible, vapid and unthinking. As much as possible. I have always had a very busy brain. Not always a productive brain, but ALWAYS a very busy one. And that had to end. And it did.
I remember a period of time when I was well enough to do stuff physically around the house and enjoyed doing the laundry and so forth. I had physical energy but did not yet have mental energy. I could go for a half hour walk uptown, hit a few stores, do a little window shopping, walk the half hour back home, do some stuff around the house and be okay. That was pretty great.
But if I tried to think hard about anything for more than a moment or two I would get symptoms lighting up like a Christmas tree and have to go to bed. So I preferred to be busy doing stuff when I could. I took up knitting again, got some beading stuff, did some mending I'd been putting off forever.
I dragged my old keyboard out of the closet and figured out again how to play piano. And I'd play for an hour at a time and sing.
Wonderful to be active doing things I loved again. But precious little thinking. The elevator was up past the basement but .... rising very slowly. And who knew if it would ever go any higher?
Still I was surprisingly content to be busy and unthinking. And I think it did me a world of good. I also think it was something that I would never have done for any length of time if I'd had any choice. It had to be imposed on me from the outside -- or rather, from the inside, where everything told me "No".
That "No" helped me heal.