Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Plague of Isolation

I am in exile from humanity. No one visits me, and no one ever calls. It is undoubtedly the feeling of exile--that sensation of a void which never leaves me, that irrational longing to hark back to the past or else to speed up the march of time, and those keen shafts of memory that sting like fire. Sometimes I toy with my imagination, composing myself to wait for a ring at the front door bell announcing somebody's visit, or for the sound of the telephone ringing; but, though I might deliberately stay at home at the hour when somebody might call, and though I might contrive to forget for the moment that no one ever calls, that game of make-believe, for obvious reasons, cannot last.

Always a moment comes when I have to face the fact that no one is coming. And then I realize that my separation from other people is destined to continue, I have no choice but to come to terms with the days, the months, and the years ahead. In short, I return to my mental prison, I have nothing left but the past, and even if I am tempted to live in the future, I have speedily to abandon the idea--anyhow, as soon as can be--once I feel the wounds that the imagination inflicts on those who yield themselves to it.

And thus there is always something missing in my life. Hostile to the past, impatient of the present, and cheated of the future, I am much like those whom men's justice, or hatred, forces to live behind prison bars. Thus the only way of escaping from that intolerable leisure is to set the telephone ringing in my imagination and in filling the silence with the fancied tinkle of the doorbell, in practice obstinately mute.


Gary Freedman said...

If anyone's interested, this post is a paraphrase from Albert Camus' novel, The Plague.

Evydense said...

It's interesting that you (Camus) speaks of the prison of the mind. I have often felt that way since being diagnosed bipolar. I don't know if you've heard of Terry Fox...he was a young Canadian who lost a leg to cancer, and about 25 years ago started out to run across Canada, doing a marathon a day, to raise money for cancer research. There are still worldwide runs annually in is honour.

All that in way of telling you that he has always been my personal hero, and one day I asked myself, "If he's my hero, then make it so!".

So now, although I still have some 'setbacks', I generally try and perceive my mind as aplayground instead of a prison. It truly is liberating!