For the past three years since my brain injury, for the first time ever in my life, I have been alone...completely alone. No kids. No man. Nada.
Pets don't count, do they? The number of cats has grown abnormally high over the years...six....and one dog. BTW - I think the "crazy, cat lady" has a certain charm.
After I tried to commit suicide, my ex-husband sued me for custody of the kids. He won, and then promptly moved out of state with them. It certainly was in the best interest of the kids at the time, and, while I do not think it was his intent at all, it was what was absolutely best for me too.
My boyfriend of three years had taken himself out of the picture rather unexpectedly for me at least. That was part of what prompted my suicide attempt. I was planning on a future with him whether he was with me or not. I had it all worked out nicely in my head.
So, here I was all alone. Even pretty seriously brain injured, my first instinct was to struggle against it and fill up the time and space with people, with TV, with emails to my kids...just general busy-ness. I slept a lot because my condition required it...I couldn't NOT sleep...but, also, because when I was asleep I did not have to think or feel or be alone. I considered getting a room mate.
I remember seeing the geese at the lake near my house. Ever noticed how geese always seem to be in pairs? Boy, I sure did, and I was jealous of them! It made me mad. I thought, "Why do they get to have a mate??...even if he does honk annoyingly as hell and poop green slime all over the place."
Over time, I grew to appreciate and even like my solitude. Being alone has been vital to my healing both physically and emotionally. I just barely had enough mental energy to exist and function at first. There were not enough reserves to worry about what others thought and to "perform," which I had perfected to the level of an art up until that point of my life.
I pretty much isolated myself and withdrew from everyone and everything. I could not be around people for any length of time. It mentally exhausted me. Still does somewhat. This gave me the opportunity to put my energy into myself. I had nothing else to do. Something I have never really done - ever. A man or the kids had always been at the top of the list. I was somewhere down near the bottom after the dog.
Being alone also forced me to grow up, finally, in my mid forties. About time, huh? I had to decide who I was without hiding behind the roles I played in life or by trying to be what I thought some man wanted me to be. All that was gone. So, I had to determine what was left and who I was then.
In her book "Why People Don't Heal and How They Can," Caroline Myss says that the fear of being alone lies at the core of many people's inability to heal. Not healing allows people to lean on others for assistance and play on their guilt to keep them around. There is a certain power over others in not healing.
Being alone has allowed me to heal, become self sufficient and learn to like my own company. You know what? I am pretty cool to be around! It has allowed me to eat whenever I feel like it, play my music as loud as I want, and walk around with zit cream on my face. However, I can't say that it has done much for my table manners.