I have often heard alcoholism described as a “disease that wants to get you alone and kill you.” The emphasis is not on the object of alcohol but on the part about being alone—Isolation. If someone battling this disease tries to fight it on their own—with no support system or program group or sponsor—it will most likely kill them. And without God, it most definitely will.
I may not struggle with alcohol, but I definitely have tendencies toward the “-ism”. One definition of “-ism” is a “pathological condition”. In other words, added to just about anything, “-ism” indicates that ones’ behavior or thought pattern is more harmful than helpful.
Lately I have felt a bit of a combination problem going on—a double-whammy. Some version of “isolation-ism.” I’m not exactly laid up in bed, morose and reclusive, but I can identify it mostly by how often I write and if I make efforts to do things with friends I care about. It recently occurred to me that I haven’t done either of those things for a very long time. And slowly but surely, if it’s not remedied, it will kill my soul.
Can anyone relate? You are busy but not connected in a real way with anyone? Sitting next to people you know, even family members, feeling painfully alone? Scanning through Facebook getting angry at all those happy people doing fun things? Wishing you had a different life? Feeling like God is on vacation from you specifically? Maybe not. But I have felt this way lately and I really don’t like it. It’s not the Heather I want to be. The girl who loves her life. Who LIVED through Leukemia for Pete’s sake. I certainly did not come back from the dead to live like this.
I have a wise mentor who kindly suggested I imagine myself as the Heather I want to be and when the other Heather rears her self-pitying head and complains about the hand she has been dealt, I should politely tell her “thanks for sharing. Now sit down and shut-up.” One recovery slogan that I almost forgot that I believed is “don’t compare your insides with other people’s outsides.” Just because everything appears perfect or perky in other people’s lives, doesn’t mean that is their reality. I think the reason for my “isolation-ism” is that I just don’t think anyone wants or needs to know that my life is not perfect. That even though God and I conquered cancer, sometimes I feel lonely and useless and defeated.
Wow—are we all sort of scared of/for me right now? I am ok with you feeling that way. Because I suspect some of you might have some of the same crazy thoughts and feelings on any given day. And that’s ok too. But we can’t let it beat us—this “-ism”, your “-ism” (a “State or condition resulting from an excess of something specific”).
When you live with an “-ism” at the end of whatever behavior you might be doing to not feel those feelings, to keep up with the Jones’, to try to forget, just for a little while, the fears you have for a loved ones’ behaviors or your kids’ futures—It turns it into a disease. It makes your life a battle of survival. It’s exhausting.
Fight hard for the victory and LIVE IN IT. Call a friend. Go on a “date” with someone you love. Cry out to God. Do it again and again and again until you hear from Him. Wait patiently but with expectancy for the mercies He will bring in the morning. He cares for your Soul.
And remember that at this very moment, whether it’s how I want it to be or whether I wish it were different, everything is exactly as it should be and I can trust Him with whatever may come tomorrow.
When I re-read this, it all sounds like a manic rant. I am hesitant to post it, but that is all about my Ego. It means my spirit feels extremely vulnerable. It means that someone else might need to “talk about” it too. It means I’ll refrain from apologizing if you feel You just wasted the last 3 minutes of your life. When I write, and share with you some of my craziness, I live out a prayer I pray almost every day. Part of it says;
“God…take away my difficulties that VICTORY over them may bear witness to those I help of YOUR power, YOUR love, and YOUR way of life. MAY I DO YOUR WILL ALWAYS. Amen.”
If sharing my crazy helps you get less crazy…so be it 😉