Iam isolated and shielded in my fortress. I’m safe. No more expectations, disappointments, and abandonment. No more people. No more pain. Mission accomplished. But I swear I don’t want to live like this.

You had to be in intense pain and felt as though you were out of options. In your mind and heart, what choice did you have?

Ever felt like that? Maybe you do right now. It’s the dark paradox of living with a mood or anxiety disorder.

For some of us it hits every so often. For others it’s a way of life.

The song goes way back, but you may recognize the lyrics…

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.

“I Am a Rock”

why do i feel lonely

Paul Simon 1966

Wish I could write like that. It’s so to the core of the soul.

Paul Simon inked the lyrics and composed the music. “I Am a Rock” was recorded by Simon in 1965 for a solo album. Later that year, Simon and Art Garfunkel (Simon & Garfunkel) recorded it. It was released in 1966.

The song hit me in the gut when I first heard it all those years ago. Still does, at times to the point of tears. Maybe you’d like to give it a go.

Your isolation and fortress?

Whether you’re familiar with the song, just now listened to it for the first time, or based on the lyrics – what do you think?

More importantly, what do you feel? Perhaps nothing, because none of this applies to you. But if it does, are you feeling isolated, shielded, and safe in your fortress? The one you built amid your disappointments, abandonment, people, and pain. And, believe me, I’ve supervised many such construction projects.

So, what led to your seclusion, anyway? If depression or anxiety were squeezing the life out of you, that’s reason enough.

But what else? Ridicule, being bullied or abused? Did love let you down? Friendship or family relationship gone bad? Maybe it’s discomfort with your perception of self. Actually, it could be all of the above. And maybe it isn’t current events, rather trauma that occurred years ago.

No matter, I suppose. You assessed your situation and decided you wanted out. And out you went. But I’m wondering if you’re pleased with your decision – the outcome.

Is it you?

Is that you in the featured image? Yes, even if you’re a guy. The rain on the window sure sets the tone. And if you ask me, the woman appears to be in an isolated – entrapped – daze. My gut tells me she’s not in a good place.

And what about 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 it you?

A challenge

Who could question – pass judgment upon – your right to lock up? You had to be 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 fortress door and come out. Even if your situation isn’t resolved – even if it’s on blind faith – I’m challenging you to risk exposure and vulnerability. If you don’t, you may be sentencing yourself to life.

You know what you have to do

If you’re troubled and isolated, dare to seek people, laughter, and love. Dare to disturb the slumber of feelings long dead. Dare to touch someone and be touched. Dare to confront your pain – and heal.

Come on, you’re not a rock – or an island.

My turn, Paul…

Beyond the prison of everyday pain
Is freedom of spirit
Freedom from chains

On the horizon
A million lost dreams
Glorious backdrops of paradise scenes

Beyond the darkness
A haven of peace

A being of wonder
And endless
Release

“I am isolated and shielded in my fortress. I’m safe. No more expectations, disappointments, and abandonment. No more people. No more pain. Mission accomplished. But I swear I don’t want to live like this.”

Then don’t. And you know what you have to do.

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