Tuesday 8 February 2011

Solitary confinement

Some years ago, maybe a year after I first got sick, I read "Taken on Trust" by Terry Waite.  I felt a real sense of 'company' as I read about his life in solitary confinement: living in his memories, telling himself stories, playing mental games and keeping a tight control on his emotions.  It sounded a lot like my life, and helped me to feel less alone.  A year or two later I heard him speak on National Radio, and emailed him to tell him about my experience.  He graciously replied, and said that many other chronically ill people had told him a similar story.

A week or two ago, after living with CFS/ME for nearly eight years now, I heard an interview with a psychologist who had studied men on death row in Texas.  They live in near-solitary conditions, and she found they kept themselves going with similar strategies to those Terry Waite had described.

This time, I felt a sense of familiarity, but no actual connection.  I know something of what that life feels like, but I don't live it any more.  I suddenly realised that, over the years, I have developed real activities and real engagement with the world: I have a life, and no longer live in the 'holding pattern' of solitary confinement.


And many grateful thanks to God who has enabled me to live so well within my circumstances :-)

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