Why life on a desert island may not be so great.

Sometimes, when things get overwhelming, I fantasise about being Robinson Crusoe.

For a few minutes, I’ll dream of what great joy it would be to get away from everything.

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No responsibilities.

Nobody else’s problems.

Peace and quiet.

Then, of course, common sense kicks in.

It wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs for Mr Crusoe, who feared for his life at times and every day hoped to be rescued.

And there was that rather odd triangular fur hat to be worn, too.

He did, eventually, make the acquaintance of an escaped prisoner, who he called Friday – so wasn’t completely alone for the entire duration of his enforced stay on the island off the coast of Trinidad – but imagining life as a castaway is a helpful reminder that we’re all better off when we’re part of something bigger.

Sadly, low mood and depression can lead to an understandable desire to shut yourself away from life, perhaps partly out of the legitimate belief that things will eventually get better if you simply allow yourself time on your own.

While there may be some logic in this, I’ve generally found that during gloomy spells it has helped to feel that I’m connected in some way to some big idea or another.

Organised religion can fill this need for some, but for me it seems to be the knowledge that I belong to various groups, and that I have distinct roles with certain people in my life.

Together, those connections make me feel I have a purpose in life.

So how about you?

Who looks forward to your company?

Who enjoys (or might do if you let them) looking after you?

Who depends on your help?

Is there some place you go to where everybody remembers your name?

I think in some ways we all have these important connections, and it really does make sense to nurture them – at the very least to be conscious of them.

For now, however, I’ll leave you with the two flies who landed on Robinson Crusoe’s back.

As one of them prepared to leave, he said to the other: ‘I’ve got to go now. But I’ll see you on Friday.’

Which in the case of you and me is indeed the case.

One thought on “Why life on a desert island may not be so great.

  1. I really get this theme of isolating that comes up time and again on here. It’s really made me look at myself and what I do when I’m low. Funnily enough I don’t feel like doing a Robinson Crusoe as such, that would be very bleak, but I do crave and seek out solitude when I’m very low. But it’s more that at those times, dealing with other people is such hard work! And sometimes I simply don’t have the mental energy to put on the act. It absolutely jars my soul. So I find I have to pick and choose. Sometimes I’ll push myself to go to that party, other times I’ll recognise my own limits and know I need peace. I suppose it depends what else you do in your life, but I’ve a full time job in social care, two teenagers, a dad with dementia and a 101 year old grandmother who I’m carer for!
    So my solitude is hard won!!
    Even in solitude though I think it helps to know there are people about if that makes sense. I love to wander down my local row of shops and be among people, but not have to speak or even make eye contact. Just watch and listen. Sometimes that’s enough to lift me. Total solitude is just lonely really isn’t it.
    Anyway. See you on Friday!
    Sally S.

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