Originally written for Letter.wiki

Dear everyone

I have always been a solitary person. It’s not like I don’t like people, but I do enjoy being alone with my mind or listening to podcasts and reading. One on one or in a small group I feel comfortable, but I have a lot of introverted energy, so I get tired around too many people. This situation where we all have to isolate and keep a distance might seem perfect for me, but I have been thinking a lot about it and have become more and more unsure about what this means for my fellow introverts, gamers and writers.

15 years ago was when I really started to isolate myself. I had just gone through a bad breakup and I did not feel like staying around people at all, in addition to the friends of mine started to become more settled and therefore not as willing to go out and party, not that I was ever really a party person as a kid either. I was the kid that would enjoy sitting in a corner and then jump into a conversation when I felt I could contribute something.

Anyways I started to do stuff that would mean that I would become more and more isolated. Friends of mine, especially those that I worked with in the Norwegian film industry, would be annoyed that I would hardly ever go out and enjoy their company. The problem I had was that I did not feel like I deserved it, at least that is what I have realized in later years. I would focus on spending time writing and building the worlds where I had more control. I quit jobs where I had to work outside of my house and eventually I worked as a writer, consultant and data entry specialist, which meant that I did not need to interact with other people. I thought that this was good for me. I did not have to deal with the chaos of others.

About 2 years ago I finally broke down. I had an episode where I thought for sure that I was dying. My mother had just had a heart attack and I started to look for symptoms where there were none. One night my heart started to pound out of control, I could not breathe and I was convinced I would die alone. That has been my biggest fear ever since I was a kid and I convinced myself that my family was cursed as at least one male member of each generation ended up alone. I was sure, and still kind of am, that I was that one.

After that episode I started to do things I had never done before and go back to things I really enjoyed as a kid. I started to do yoga and dance salsa. This was probably one of the best times of my life, apart from that brief stint of happiness from 18-15 years ago. I went back to walking in the woods and enjoying the fresh air. Friends started to pop up everywhere. I rekindled friendships I thought were lost and I would contact people without fear of rejection.

One of those rekindled friendships led to a lot of great dinners in the city of Oslo where we would talk a lot about everything and I would launch my ideas. My friend would then ask me all sorts of questions that would make me think harder about what I was actually heading towards with what I was talking about. I have a tendency to ramble when I talk, so having friends that tells me that they are losing track of what I am talking about is a great benefit.

Even though Norway is not in lockdown, many people and friends are choosing now to self-isolate and the restaurants where my friends and I would talk about everything and nothing are now closed. I find myself missing those dinners, yoga sessions and salsa dancing. I may be an introvert and enjoy my own company, but I felt like I was growing through those activities and I am now very worried about what this means for my psyche. I can feel that shadow from 15 years ago coming back and I am worried.

I realize that this may not be a letter that deals with what to do with the situation or with the pandemic, but I needed to write this and I just wanted to put it out there to see if anyone else is worried about the same. Even though society is under threat, you as an individual also need to be worried about losing yourself and what is good about you. What worries you and what do you miss?

I hope this letter finds you all well and I look forward to hearing from whomever decides to answer.

JH Lillevik

JH Lillevik is a writer of sci-fi and fantasy. He writes screenplays, novels and short stories. He also works as a writing consultant for upcoming writers. His specialty is mythology, world building and psychology.

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