I go home every day to an empty house. O.K., honestly, it’s not totally empty. I have a Miniature Schnauzer, Zoe, and she greets me enthusiastically and well. I’m thankful for her presence in my life. But it’s not quite the same as coming home to a person…one who would, in my magical world, be happy to see me, who would give me a hug, ask me about my day and keep me company. In this magical fantasy world, they would be happy to see me because they would love me. They would enjoy talking to me, hanging out with me, holding me, spending the evening together. But in reality, my world is very quiet and vastly empty. I feed my dog, let her out to do her business (while I try to keep her from catching the baby rabbits that love to eat grass in my yard) and I tell her about my day as she tries to entice me to throw her toys for her. Then I get on the computer to check out what my Facebook friends have been doing. I hunger for their comments to my meager, carefully worded (i.e. safe, sanitary, never hinting at distress) status updates, but rarely receive any (maybe they’re too carefully worded?). Interaction is spotty. It’s better than nothing, but not much. If my phone rings, it’s probably a phone solicitor. Life is lonely. Painfully so. Often, I play Solitaire on my iPad. For hours. It keeps me distracted…keeps me from thinking too much. Sometimes, when the silence is too noisy, I listen to some music on Pandora. Zoe occasionally barks at the squirrels and birds and yes, the baby rabbits grazing in the yard, as she jumps up and down at the window (let me at ’em!). That breaks the silence for a moment. I don’t watch TV at all. Very rarely, I’ll watch a movie on DVD. But watching a movie by myself is kind of depressing for some reason. I guess I feel like I am only observing life as it is. Observing it on TV or via DVD is just too much; it’s too removed. It’s more evidence of my isolation. And of the emptiness of my life. Most of the time, I’m exhausted and depressed. I should tend to my house. Clean out closets. Dust. Rearrange. Be productive. But those things seem overwhelming, probably because I’m fighting deep depression. I feel defeated before I even get started. Drained. Helpless. Weary. My life has been, and continues to be, a very quiet, lonely one. My overriding experience has been that of no one being there. Of having to do it all myself. Provide for myself. Take care of all the details myself. Handle everything by myself. Achieve and overcome by myself. And I’ve reached a point where I can’t do it any more. I simply don’t have the strength to fight the many battles I am required to fight. Much goes undone or unattended to. I do the best I can, even though it’s far from being good enough. And I’m almost always alone. As a kid, I was isolated, which is typical of kids being abused, I’m told. Abusers like to limit access. It’s safer that way…for them. Less opportunity to get caught. But I think part of the isolation also happened because I was so different. Abuse does that to you…makes you different. Strange. You don’t fit in so well when you have to hide a massive amount of what is going on in your life from everyone else. Always hiding who you are. You always have to be on guard, closed off, careful. It’s hard to relate to others who are happy and normal. Additionally, there wasn’t anyone I could be real with or even who I could tell my story to or reach out to. No one would have believed me anyway. So I was totally cut off from everyone around me: my family because they weren’t safe and / or they were caught up in or a part of the craziness and dysfunction; my peers because we were so different (I was odd, too serious, too melancholy); my teachers because they were powerful adults who didn’t care about me and wouldn’t have believed me or intervened. They required performance academically and I complied. From my teacher’s viewpoint, my parents were respected (and feared) in the small town where I grew up. They wouldn’t have believed that they were abusing me, particularly since I did such a good job keeping my grades up and at keeping that semi-smile on my poker face. With my peers, I was basically either ignored or picked on. I was almost always harshly rejected. I walked through the days alone. Life was a deep, dark, empty black hole. I survived in a vacuum. I was so lonely, it hurt…badly, deeply, horribly. I was lonely even when I was married. My husband was honest. He told me (after we were married) that he didn’t love me. He was rejecting of me as a person. Admittedly, I had (and have) many flaws. I simply couldn’t live up to his expectations and desires. And he didn’t want to hear about my “issues” – all the lovely damage that was done in my childhood. I had to keep it all inside. Try to keep it from coming out in any way. Of course, it did come out to a certain extent because it did have a big impact on me. But I worked hard to minimize the influence of those nightmarish things from the past. It nearly killed me to hold it in. I became so numb, I lost my heart and soul. But I did my level best to keep it all to myself so my husband wouldn’t have to be bothered with my yuckiness. Again, I felt completely alone; hopelessly so. It was painful, in spite of the fact that I was living with a dead heart. The pain cut deep. It was a constant companion. I have a few friends…all who seem to be wildly busy with their full, overflowing lives. There is very little room for me within those boundaries. This is as it should be. They have kids, grandkids, church activities, things of this nature that cause them to have more than enough to do. They work their friendships in around obligations and tend to hang with those couples they bond with and encounter while fulfilling their obligations. Those obligations often involve kids activities, church events. I’m not a couple. I have no kids. No grandkids. I go to church, but it’s yet another lonely experience, so I don’t go all the time. I don’t easily mesh with what they already have going. Plus, my friends can’t fill the void in my life. And if I’m completely honest, the void is vast, so to expect them to make a dent in the deep darkness isn’t really fair. The thing that frightens me is, I’m not sure anything CAN make a dent in the dense black fog that permeates my life…that weighs so heavily on my soul. I reach out and there is no one there. People are busy. I ask too much. Need too much. I am defective, broken, crushed. I can’t fix my life and certainly can’t expect someone else to fix it for me. The isolation is extremely difficult to manage. It wounds me. Is hard to bear. I think I am doomed to always be unwanted, rejected, isolated. I think I am doomed to always be alone, needy, hurt. And I hate it. I wish I could change myself. I wish there was someone there. Someone to come home to, to relax with, to snuggle with (besides my dog), to share with and with whom I could enjoy the little things in life. But asking for someone to be there is probably totally unfair of me, considering I’m so broken. I just don’t know how much more I can take, going it alone. And I’m not sure how hard I want to try.