It’s 5am on Saturday and I can’t sleep. No surprise really, since I haven’t left my bed since I returned home at midnight on Thursday. I pretty much slept for most of Friday.

I can’t sleep because aside from having had too much sleep, I’ve isolated. Been alone in my head for too many hours. This is never a good thing. I tend to wallow in self-doubt and the more morose types of ‘What if?’ thinking.

This time, though, I’ve been lost in big-picture thinking, having watched the documentary ‘The Most Unknown’ featuring scientists from nine different disciplines meeting each other for the first time to find connection in what they study, from microbial slime to the carbon monoxide signature of newly-formed stars.

In this documentary one of the scientists dropped a line that immediately got my Spidy senses tingling. They said they believed humans became smarter the more experiences they had.

Immediately my insecurities kicked off. Does my lack of wanderlust mean I’m doomed to be left behind in an ever-evolving, always-learning world?

I’m increasingly becoming more hermit-like. My family complains about me locking myself away in my room for days at a time. Socializing – actually going out to engage with other humans – is becoming more and more of a challenge for me. Even with friends that I’ve known forever, people I love. I really have to psych myself up to leave home. Same goes for going to work. This drive to be alone at all times naturally limits new experiences save for those I witness second hand via a social media feed. Does this mean I am dumbing myself down even further?

See, why this all kicked off in my head now is because recently I’ve had the opportunity to get out and interact more with Dubai’s social scene – and once I’ve gotten over that first feeling of fear and not wanting to leave the house, I’ve had really good, fun times. More importantly, I’ve not had as much time to get lost in my head, and I’ve also noticed that when my mood dips, the downs are far more moderate and short-lived.

So now I am thinking, asking myself – is engaging with other people, doing new things, a possible palliative for depression and other mental health issues? Not that I’ve been diagnosed with anything but then again I’ve not sought out diagnosis for such conditions. I did therapy, I’m done with therapy. It wasn’t working for my addiction recovery and food compulsions.

But I do think that when I isolate for protracted periods, some sort of aberration is waiting in the wings to manifest itself. So now, not only am I concerned that locking myself away means that I am crippling myself in terms of social progress and intelligence, it’s also likely to bring about some dire schism, something that separates me from the herd in a negative, destructive way – some way that means I will wither away and die a mad, gibbering lunatic.

This is where my head is at, at 5:45am.

Consumed by thoughts of how I continue to fail myself, sabotage myself.

They will linger for a while before some other dystopian distractions displace them.

Am I concerned enough to do something about it?

No. I mean – I wrote this post, didn’t I?

Isn’t that enough?

©️ Dave Luis 2019. All Rights Reserved.


  1. From where I’m sitting, I see you as being on a journey.. like all of us you’ve taken a few wrong turns and come to some dead ends. We all need alone time, but I don’t know that solitude sits well on you.

    Maybe you ask yourself why it seems so appealing..

    I am quite shy – something, people who know me, find hard to believe.. but I used to be quite apprehensive of arriving at social events alone. I always took a wing girl.. and then found my stride, and became the life and soul..

    It’s only been in the last couple of years I’ve found the ability to arrive alone..

    Maybe, now you’ve tested the water, you can start taking the plunge more often.

    As always, I find your words thought provoking, and I always self evaluate a little after reading them..

    1. Long ago, long before the drugs and their insanity, I could do the arriving alone thing. Long before that, as a young child, my shyness was crippling. Could go nowhere without a friend or family member as the buffer. I feel like I am returning to that state.

      As for the need to isolate? One reason is because I find it increasingly difficult to engage with people. Long awkward silences are the order of the day and I just don’t have the energy to change that.

      1. That’s really tough! Returning to needing a buffer isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We all have times and situations where we need more (or less) support.

        Long, awkward silences though, are tricky. That’s why I kinda liked going to the movies or shows.. a distraction and THEN a conversation starter.. also a set time for contact. A party or even dinner is quite open ended.

        I hope you discover some tools that work for you… x

    2. In contrast I have come to love aloneness as a haven from which to choose a human encounter whose value must surpass the glorious painlessness of solitude and which connection must create a cosmic compensation for the discombobulation that my absence causes to my cat. If that makes any sense and yes your post was indeed a surfeit of enough.

      1. That’s my drive, too. Solitude till the appeal of engagement overwhelms the momentum of being-alone-ness. (Yes, I know, but I wasn’t going to write solitude twice in one sentence)

        Plans are scuppered by the lack of serenity that solitude brings.

        Also – I applaud your feline commitment. Truly, we are family.

  2. I find it’s not always one or the other. I have a colleague in Cape Town who is one of the only people I know who makes full use of her flight benefits. She will switch shifts, and mangle up her schedule is such a way that operations is happy and she manages to get a 4 or 5 day weekend every 2 months or so (over and above her leave days) she will pack a backpack and head to the airport, find out which flights still have space on them and go. One weekend she planned to go to Israel but because of trouble with Turkey or the flights were packed so ended up gk to Sri Lanka, just as an example. She does this alone. You can isolate and still experience and grow and discover. Easy for me to say though, I am an extremely shy extrovert 😂

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