What has isolation taught me?
This week is the turn of our second Quran-teen-Ambassador, Tegan.
Well, not to boast, but I think I have mastered some new skills. For one, I can now watch YouTube from a 180 degree angle, whilst…in downward dog! But, apart from filling my days with fun, mostly pointless activities, isolation has also taken me on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, where I’ve come to some important realisations about myself.
In one day alone, I have felt overwhelming happiness, anxiety, anger, gratitude and loneliness. I have found it hard to get motivated, easy to eat chocolate and easier still to slump on the sofa and say ‘this is impossible‘.
Yet, I have also had days like today, writing this, in the sunshine, whilst wearing an outfit I love (no PJ`s in sight BTW!). So when I got stuck writing this blog, I turned to my friends. Pixelated as they may have been, they said, “come on, you can do this!” and, even better, through their cheesy smiles and fist pumps, they told me two very important things:
No. 1: I was not alone
No. 2: I could do this
As someone who is adopted, feeling isolated is not a new experience. Throughout my life, I have had times where I have felt very alone. I have felt left out of friendship groups, classrooms and even family gatherings. What someone else would think of as a simple question, like “how much did you weigh when you were born?” or “what colour are your dad’s eyes?” has had the ability to set me off into a spiral of disconnection, detachment and rejection of the people around me.
So many times, a voice in my head has perpetuated my isolation by telling me “you are not like everyone else here” and “you don’t belong”. This has often been paired with a deep seated feeling that if they actually cared or understood me, they would know not to ask such questions in the first place.
Before I knew it, the voices would multiply and overwhelm me, until I would be walking away from my friends as they laughed over baby photos, I would be refusing to help in school group-work or make rash decisions not to speak to a certain relative again because of what they just said. In a few seconds, I can convince myself that I am totally alone, even when I am surrounded by people who love and care about me. So you could say, I am a self-isolation expert!
However, like earlier today, my experiences have taught me that these feelings do pass and that by letting people in, even when I feel the loneliest and least understood, my friends and family will always be there for me. Even when it comes to things they don’t understand, they won’t hesitate to run after me when I leave, give me a hug or even just a smile.
Whether it`s zoom calling your grandparents, having film nights with family or baking your favourite cake with you siblings, making sure we stay in touch with the people we love is the best thing we can do right now. I hope you are all healthy and happy, and remember, ending a worldwide pandemic is tough, but together, we are tougher!
So yes, coronavirus might be making connecting to others harder, but for every one of us who has felt lonely before, we can look at isolation and think: You know what, we have beaten this before, we got this!
If you or any other adopted teenager you know might be struggling right now, tell them about Teen Talk. Teen Talk is free online support service where adopted teens help other adopted teens make sense of their thoughts, feelings and worries, visit www.scottishadoption.org/teentalk for more information.