Everyone needs people.
One of the most crippling things you can do is put yourself in isolation from people and the world. Even if you're introverted, over time you still have to fight just like an extrovert for meaningful relationships.
In light of recent events with Chris Cornell taking his own life, I wanted to speak on a subject that everyone can relate to and needs to hear. It's a tragedy that this happened. No one wants to die at their core. What they crave is acceptance and relationships.
As someone who now has a healthier relationship (still an on going journey) with anxiety and all things that go into emotions and life, I can testify that when I have struggled with anxiety and depression it always stems from a lack of relationships and isolation. Working in music is extremely isolating. You are expected to perform perfectly, entertain, sell yourself for money - the life of a musician is one of isolation. Being on a stage itself is isolating. You are up there and everyone else is at least 10 feet away. Like an animal in the zoo being watched, the audience is hoping something entertaining will happen. If nothing happens at the zoo, people move on, people may even talk negative about an animal. We do this in real life to people. We get bored, we cut them down, and move on.
At first, the fame and success can feel liberating. All the hard work is paying off, but then you're left high and dry if you have not grounded yourself with good people and a healthy balance of understanding that your worth does not come from work or Grammys or sold out shows. Going from someone who is successful to someone who is washed up can be detrimental to your body and soul. When you lack proper relationships you can feel alone, isolated, and as if you have no place in life. This is where the thoughts of ending your life can arise. If there is no place for you, then you must not belong here.
All of these thoughts are lies. We all belong, we all have value, we all have issues, some deep dark terrifying issues, some people deal with them and some people suppress them. Some people can rise above them and some people struggle with them but we all have problems, insecurities, hopes, dreams, and a deep longing to be connected to others and be understood, and told that "we are going to be ok".
This is where you need people.
It's easy to shrink away from humans when we feel hurt or have been hurt. It's easy to feel like we don't need anyone, that we are strong enough on our own when we have been abused. It's easy to project onto the world that no one can be trusted. It's normal to want to protect ourselves and put up walls when we have been beaten up and broken down.
When I look at these things in my life, all of it stems from unresolved hurt in myself or hurt I have done to others. Most of us retreat and try to continue being independent and self reliant when we are hurt or have hurt others. We can start to distance ourselves from people and stop communicating with those who we once loved.
But we need people.
Relationships are important because they help weave healthy bonds into our lives and minds that stabilize us. Relationships are of value even if they are quick. One coffee date or even an exchange at the cash register. These things bring us back to reality and to life. Isolation does the opposite. Every moment you have with friends, family, or even strangers helps you understand yourself better and better. It reaffirms that you are apart of a greater human experience and that you are not alone in life. It reaffirms that you are needed, you have value, and that everything in life that has happened matters. What we do as humans matters. The ripple effect of isolation is huge.
When we remove ourselves from people, we take away a part of them as well. This is not a shame or guilt tactic to make you want to be around people, but the truth is at some point in your life you have positivity impacted people. When you isolate yourself you begin to forget these things. We are all valuable because we are all so temporary. For some this can cause great distress, but a healthy acceptance of life and the miracle of it can bring gratitude, appreciation, and make every interaction a gift. There are things that everyone does in this life that no one else can do and that makes each life priceless.
As isolation occurs it begins to make you feel like you are not priceless, like you have no purpose, that you have no real relationships, and that no one would miss you if you departed from this life. That is such a lie. We all have struggles and issues. Even at rock bottom we have value in that we can take our story, learn from it, accept it, make room for it in our lives, and then use it to help guide others. When we invest into others and form relationships we become bigger people. We become people that are contributing to each other and society. By doing this we create unity and you can accomplish, restore, and battle all our inner demons better. When you have relationships you are stronger mentally, emotionally, and physically. Relationships help you have a foundation to then do the work you need to do on yourself.
To think life should be easy or will be easy makes it more difficult. We all will find ourselves at one point broken, alone, and isolated. What matters is what you do with that. Do you isolate yourself more or do you reach out for help? I can testify and so can the history of mankind, that when we go and reach out for help from people we get encouraged, strengthened, and realize that we do have value. Now a major key in this is reaching out to the right people. You have to honestly look at your life and determine if the people you're around are healthy people or toxic people. Are the situations you put yourself in healthy or toxic. This is sometimes the hardest part for people, to realize that all their current relationships are toxic and they have no one to really reach out to. When this happens you have to fight for new friendships. You can go to a therapist, councilor, call up an old friend, anyone who is in a healthy place can jumpstart you back to a place of stability, but you have to do something. Go get help, reach out, tell someone you're hurt, anything but isolation.
My thoughts and prayers go to the Cornell family and the rest of the world.