true story

How is reading saving us from insanity

To truly understand a modern society, we need to take our pink glasses off while observing certain social phenomena. Since the dawn of time, people have encounter anxiety, depression and the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Why is that sometimes we have the feeling that no one in the whole galaxy understands us?

Because, probably, nobody really does. We are brought to this world by series of events that took place to shape us exactly the way we are, as unique with our personality as we are with our DNA. This is why the existence of a person who would truly understand our concepts, our complex thinking and our complicated, yet magnificent ideas, is not very probable. And if there is such person on the planet, the probability of meeting that person is even smaller.

The myth of having a supportive partner and close friends who will just “get you” all the time, every day, is unfortunately a strategic media campaign often found in sitcoms, and almost never in real life. People tend to imitate this behavior in real life because of this strong influence, and living this idea is what brings them comfort, security and the feeling they are doing something right. But in fact, this idea is nothing but limiting. It reduces our creative potential to social norms, our interests to our groups interests, while our unique unicorn ideas are getting pushed aside.

This is often the reason why people feel isolation and loneliness despite their rich social life, and whether we like it or not, suppression of sides of our personality is what causes mental breakdowns. Now, there are multiple ways to communicate about things known to you only, without inventing an imaginary friend, and one of those ways hides in a library.

Ever since the beautiful skill for drawing symbols and leaving timeless traces of mankind developed in our evolution path, loneliness has become a much easier problem to overcome. Millions of introverts around the globe are finding the needed exchange of words in reading, and they are precisely taking care of their mental hygiene in the way we all should. If we take a look at the probability that a person from 21st century appears to perceive reality in the exact same way you do – it is almost non existent. But, if we consider all of humanity, every single man who ever walked the Earth, this probability grows explicitly.

As for some people the feeling of being lost and not understood by others leads to anxiety, for others it leads to a creative expression of the ideas understood by them only. A writer could write a novel that will talk to a reader hundreds of years from the moment of writing, and it is this ability to communicate through space-time continuum that is making us feel less alone, paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence.

Sometimes all we need is this feeling of understanding, compassion, someone to say “I’ve been there, and it is okay”. And if you can’t find that in your surroundings, you can most certainly find it in the books of our greatest authors. You are not alone, you never will be alone.

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