Monday, April 12, 2010

One is the loneliest number

Schizoid personal disorder afflicts a small number of people who most aptly can be described as "comfortably alone."  For whatever reason, these people see no need to form relationships with other people.  Perhaps, they are most entertained by themselves and that is enough.  Most of us, however, are social animals; we need to interact with other human beings.  And that is the base of it.  We really need more than that.  Affirmation, reciprocal love and concern, and ultimately, a complex interdependency with another soul.  I am surrounded by people all of the time here.  [There aren't too many places to be alone - outside of the Cadillacs].  Most all of them were strangers when I arrived here, and now most are friends and pleasant acquaintences.  I am interacting with people because I don't have a choice: I cannot be schizoid here, even if I had that propensity.  Schizoids in the military have holed themselves in offices or are off crawling through caves by themselves.  They just aren't - or shouldn't be - working in the hospital.

Despite these forced interactions, and elective ones we may or may not subsequently seek, near all of us lack the companionship of our partners - unless (and this is rare) they are deployed here with us.  Now, lacking this partner implies having one, of course.  There are hundreds, dare say thousands, of young men and women here living their single years.  They don't have the emotional self-defense mechanisms that their wiser sisters and brothers have, but they haven't left behind a sizeable chunk of their -ness either.  Perhaps, it is the parallel growth of emotional strength with ensconcement of another into our deeper Qi which allows us to be here and perservere without our Other.  I don't know.  Loneliness is not about being alone anymore, it is about being without One.  In this minimum security prison of mine where there are always a dozen people with nothing to do, happy to do something with you, seclusion is fleeting and exasperatingly seldom.  But loneliness is pervasive.  Despite the marvels of technology, phone calls and letters, I miss her touch, and sharing our life.  I long for my Other.

Tragedy is a potent accelerant of perspective, however.  The loneliness while germane to this time, is finite.  She will wait for me, and I will come home.

On the contrary, tonight, I watched a 20 year old boy die.  Someone shot him in the head with a high caliber rifle, and the only reason his heart was still beating was that his skull was, for the most part explosively removed, giving his brain a decompression recompense, thereby preventing the brain from squeezing down into the neck as it swelled.  He was brought here from a local hospital for neurosurgery he was too far gone to receive.  But we had him then; ventilated, complete with the accoutrement of the fated, too far gone to send from where he came.  If his family could be found, they would never get through the security here to see him before he died.  We would never find them anyway.  I hope he was already running through Paradise with his 72 virgins, and didn't have to feel the loneliness I felt for him.

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