Room 218 – My solitary confinement

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“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast” – Psalm 139:7-10

This year, I was given the privilege of having a single room. For me, that meant I could sing at the top of my voice (well not enough for the neighbours to hear), I could come back from a long day at school and if I wanted to cry, I wouldn’t have to be explaining to someone what the matter was, I would be free to be me. But lo and behold, it hasn’t been all I thought it would be.

First year, I lived alone (only because my room mate was so home sick that she decided to go back home only after a few days of varsity) and I can say without a doubt, that I really relished the fact that I had a space that was mine, where I could what I wanted, when I wanted. I can say room 602 was my meeting place with God 😀 and the thing about it was, that even though I didn’t have a room mate, I never felt alone. I was very friendly to the girls on my floor, sometimes they would come visit and I knew quite a few people from the building as well, I even had a study group at school as well so my social interactions, I could say, were more than good.

A few months ago, I remember telling a friend of mine how I felt so totally and utterly alone in my new room, that the feelings or the experience that I had wanted to get out of living alone again just weren’t coming. All I can manage these days is a quick “hi” if someone passes me on the corridors, I am not the buzzing socialite I used to be, and well, in terms of studying, I now ride solo. What happened?

A few days ago, our pastor at church mentioned something about how solitary confinement had affected this particular person he was talking about (oh how I wish I had paid more attention, I’d be able to tell you the name. Zoning out is not cool I tell you) and for some reason, afterwards, that just stuck with me so I decided to consult my trusted source of knowledge, Google, about the effects of solitary confinement and I came across a research paper by Carly Frintner entitled Lonely Madness: The Effects of Solitary Confinement and Social Isolation on Mental and Emotional Health (http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1898 if you want to view the entire article 😉 ). It fascinated me that the social interaction we all at some point, take for granted, was one important aspect that helped us remain somewhat stable and not crazy. In the paper, she mentions that being alone in your thoughts or rather long periods of being alone can lead to a depressive state and a part of me immediately agreed with this. There are 2 things that I generally get horribly wrong in life: eating habits and sleeping patterns and since I struggle with the latter, I usually am up at night if there’s something weighing on me (like now. Seriously, I need to invest in sleeping pills) and I think. And the thing about it is that I usually don’t communicate the things that come up in this brain of mine, so for me, this room is not the “freedom” area it was meant to be. I more feel trapped than anything really and I don’t like this…

I was speaking to my sister about depression this one time and she said to me, “Yeah. I mean I know what depression is and it festers where there’s no one to lean on”.

I guess now I have all my answers. And knowing is half the battle…

Just to end off, looking back to the scripture I started off with, even in this, for me, knowing that He is with me whether “I make my bed in the depths” or not gives me hope. “His hand will still guide me”

I am not utterly alone.

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