Solo Survivor

Insight from a song…


This ever happen to you? You’re driving along, listening to some old, familiar tunes, but not really hearing them. It’s just white noise as you make your way to or from work. Then all of a sudden you actually hear the words of a song and they hit you between the eyes causing you to realise something about yourself.

If you know me well, you know I always have music playing. I have a very mixed taste in music – from country to rock to classical to jazz. Many time, over the years, a song has ‘spoken’ to me. This happened the other day in my car and the words have been haunting me ever since. It’s like I was hearing the song for the first time.

The words are from a song sung by Susan Ashton called Suffer in Silence. Here is what grabbed my attention. Heart in a bottle, high on a shelf. Fragile, but just out of reach. Cause you build a fortress with the distance you keep but when your heart aches doesn’t it cut deep? And then there’s this – withered in sadness and hurting inside, but feeling afraid to impose. So you’re an island… and this Don’t you know your heart can feel like an anchor when you keep it all inside, don’t suffer in silence.

The chorus entreats you not to ‘suffer in silence’ hence the title of the song. The words seem to describe me exactly. Outside of my therapist’s office, I pretty much feel like that – not wanting to impose. I email a friend in Cape Town once in a while, when I am struggling to go on, but my heart is still just out of reach.

The truth is, it made me realise how alone I am because of the distance I keep. My fortress is big and strong but I am not thriving, not really living. Sure, I do what is necessary to keep going and make it through each day but I am mostly alone and can feel like I am drowning at times.

I realise this ‘ocean of pain and loneliness’ is the reason I chose to abuse my body with the wrong food and not enough exercise. Most days I am too drained by the time I leave work to attempt any social interaction. With the words of the song ringing in my ears ‘you don’t have to suffer in silence’, I realise I have made it so in my little world that I indeed do because I have isolated myself so much.

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