Today’s card is from the Major Arcana, IX The Hermit. Solitude vs Isolation.
A Daily Kos diarist, MartianExpatriate, writes about Advice You Should Never Give to the Suicidal. Expatriate says that ‘reach out to your friends’ is not always helpful-
Were I to die in my apartment, it’s likely that my body would only be found many weeks later after the stench got bad enough that someone called the police, or the fire department. There is literally nobody out there who cares enough about me to check in on me.
Once someone I’m speaking to understands that it’s actually true, there next route is to attempt to convince me that I should stop hiding in my apartment.
The really hard part for me now, is to get them to understand that I’m not.
I live in a physically distant location, in a town with lousy public transit. I am disabled. There are no parks in my area. Literally, not a single one. There are no churches in my neighborhood that I can reach, and incidentally the bus doesn’t run on Sundays. It also doesn’t run in the evening hours.
I have struggled for years to try to find some outside contact with the world, and believe me when I tell you that it’s very hard. I am not the only person in this position.
Without knowing the specifics, I have to believe this is true. I’ve often thought in visiting nursing that the worst place to be old is out in the country, or even the burbs. In a car culture public transit is treated like a charity, not the middle-class utility it used to be. I’ve known frail elderly ladies who lived in tough buildings in the inner city protected by a network of friends of all ages, and others who spent days alone in an empty house.
When smog fills the sky and smokestacks belch and people cough and wheeze we eventually make the public health connection. Depression is epidemic and there are public health measures that can be taken. Take the bus? Maybe that’s one.
Is all this screen time connecting us or making isolation more comfortable? It’s worked both ways in my life, discovering near neighbors who share interests but feeding the monkey mind that can’t focus on the person who is speaking right to me. It’s TV to the second power– you can talk back to it.
If you can, drop by Kos and give MartianExpatriate a recc. Expatriate speaks for many who for various reasons spend too much time alone.