STRUGGLING with DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, or BIPOLARITY? LEARNING can really HELP. Start with ARTICLES above or Topics below. Ty! Bill

I am a rock. I am an island. (But, God, I don’t want to be either.)

Living with Depression

“I am isolated, shielded – safe. No more expectations, disappointments, frustration. No more vulnerability. No more pain. Mission accomplished. But, damn, I swear I don’t want to live like this.”

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Don’t talk of love,
But I’ve heard the words before;
It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

Living with DepressionSure wish I could say I wrote those words – so to-the-core, so emotionally accurate and arousing. Well, fact is, Paul Simon inked the lyrics, and composed the music. Maybe you’re familiar with the song – “I Am a Rock.” Simon recorded it in 1965 for a solo album. And later that year, he and Art Garfunkel (Simon & Garfunkel) re-recorded it. It was released in 1966.

It hit me in the gut upon first listen all those years ago. Still does, at times to the point of tears. Perhaps you’d like to give it a go.

Whether you’re familiar with the song, or just heard it for the first time, what do you think? More importantly, what do you feel? You could be so armored-up and numb you really don’t know. Still, I’ll ask – are you feeling isolated, shielded – safe – in your deep and mighty fortress? The one you built when you decided you’d had enough.

It’s okay. Believe me, I understand; ’cause I’ve supervised many such construction projects. I mean, why do you suppose the song hits me so hard?

So what led to your imprisonment, anyway? Well, if depression and/or anxiety are squeezing the life out of you, I guess that’s reason enough to lock-down.

But what else is at play? Is it ridicule, having been bullied or abused? A love, friendship, or family relationship gone bad? Could it be deep discomfort with your perception of the “public you?” Dang, it could be all of the above. And I hope you understand “it” could be an immediate issue, as well as something that went down years ago.

Hmmm, no matter, I suppose. Point is, you assessed your circumstances and decided you wanted-out. And out you went. But I’m wondering if you’re pleased with your decision, and the outcome.

Is that you in the lead image above? Yes, even if you’re a guy. The moisture on the window veils her face; however, the woman appears to be in an isolated – entrapped – daze. Needless to say, she doesn’t look at all happy. And catch her hand. I think she’s doing all she can to establish contact with the outside world. Perhaps it’s her way of reaching-out to someone or something, pleading for rescue.

Again, is that you?

You know, I’d never question your right to lock-down. Nor would I ever pass judgment. I know you were in intense pain, and felt as though you were out of options. In your mind and heart, what choice did you have?

But I’d like to challenge you to unlock the door and come on out. Even if your situation isn’t resolved – even if it’s on blind faith – I’m asking you to take the risk of exposure and vulnerability. ‘Cause if you don’t, you’ve sentenced yourself to life.

Troubled one – dare to seek friendship, laughter, and loving. Dare to disturb the slumber of feelings that have died. Dare to touch someone and be touched. Dare to feel pain – and cry. Come on, you’re not a rock, or an island.

Beyond the prison of every day pain
Is freedom of spirit
Freedom from chains

On the horizon a million lost dreams
Glorious backdrops of paradise scenes
Beyond the sunlight a haven of peace

A being of wonder
And endless release

Those words, I actually wrote. ; )

“I am isolated, shielded – safe. No more expectations, disappointments, frustration. No more vulnerability. No more pain. Mission accomplished.”

Gently, who’s kidding who?

Hey! If you enjoyed the piece, why not absorb more? Here’s the collection.

  • Patricia Miller

    There have been so many times when the walls were so high in my life that there were not even any windows for me to look out, and you are so right that these walls were of my own construction to keep myself safe from pain. I had nothing within those walls. No joy, no comfort, no peace and truthfully, no relief from the pain I sought to escape. You are also completely correct that I wanted help and someone to rescue me because I had no clue how to begin to get out by myself. Thank you for sharing from your heart and touching mine. Your writing is powerful and evokes the truth with passion.

    • Insight is a wonderful thing, Patricia. And given what you’ve shared, you certainly posess it. Yes, I’d say you “get it.” It seems as though you’ve broken free from confinement, and it’s my sincere hope you’ve found the going worth the risk – the action you took. Oh, I know we all still have our dicey moments; however, the lasting joy goes to those who continue to push forward. Thank you for your kind closing remarks. It’s always a pleasure to have you on board…

  • Cathy Taughinbaugh

    I had a point in my life when I felt isolated and entrapped. The more we talk about our issues and reach out for help, the better we feel and the easier it is to break down the walls. Thanks for sharing

    • The task seems daunting and the work is no doubt treacherous. However, there’s no other means of breaking-free, but to bravely – and with faith – seek help and push forward. As painful as it may be (in the beginning), it really becomes a much less troublesome existence. As always, Cathy, thank you for your visit and comment…

  • Beautiful, Bill – you really know how to express feelings in words that touch the soul. This is sure to help others and in such a gentle way. You are gifted and we are all so lucky that you are so willing and able to share your wisdom, strength and hope.

    • Thank you, Lisa. Always my pleasure…

  • Leslie Ferris

    Well Bill, great minds think alike – or perhaps we are just on the same wavelength this week. Good stuff either way. I enjoyed reading your article. You have a gift with the written word and you describe so well how it feels to be in the depths of isolation. I always learn something important from you Bill, and this one was no exception! Thank you…

    • Well, I concede the “great minds” factor for you. How’s that? But we were certainly on the same wave length. We chatted how common isolation is in those who suffer. And we emphasized one has to find a way out. It just isn’t a healthy long-term solution. Thanks for your frequent visits and participation, Leslie; as well as the compliment…

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