191 Comments

loved this! made me think about the discourse around the rupaul-ism "if you cant love yourself how the hell are you gonna love somebody else" and its like well...... loving other people and allowing myself to be loved by other people has been instrumental in learning to love myself.

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This is an incredible essay. It got me thinking about how mental health really is commodified to an almost comical degree. Yes, therapy or medication can improve many people’s lives, but when antidepressants are bottled with minimalist design and a trendy font, or an app promises a happier life for just $12.99 a month, or self-love seems dependent on certain products, like a wellness journal or affirmation cards, it all becomes so dystopian. Thank you for the reminder—loving ourselves and each other can be ugly! And wild! But that’s what it’s all about. It’s in our nature to rely on one another.

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"We all exist to save each other. There is barely anything else worth living for. "

Beautiful, well-put.

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Apr 3, 2023Liked by rayne fisher-quann

“We all exist to save each other. There is barely anything else worth living for.“

Wishing for a time machine right now to give this article to my early to mid 20 year old self.

I created such a narrative for myself that I was too flawed to open, that my hinges were rusted, and I could not be pried apart for anyone to see. I let the fear of friendships and vulnerability keep me from being happy.

I think we all search for permission to be vulnerable, for a safety that can never be guaranteed. If only we could innately know that the pain of rejection is smaller by magnitudes than the pain of isolation.

The reality is that friends are the roots that break the concrete. They are an inevitable force that no matter the facade of strength we build around isolation, friends can tear down our obelisk with love and compassion.

Take Rayne’s word here as gospel, in it you will find salvation.

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Apr 3, 2023Liked by rayne fisher-quann

Rayne this is so incredibly timely for me and my life. Your words hold me so dearly and I know many others feel the same way. Never stop writing

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ah I’ve been writing about this topic, especially the weird moral code of subreddits like r/aita!! it’s a very weird hyper-individualistic world where no one is obligated to help anyone, ever. but i really believe that helping others and being helped is the only way we can survive the world. on the topic of isolation, this idea you discuss about locking yourself away and self-optimizing until you are presentable is so rampant on social media. there are some things we can never learn in therapy. your paid therapist cannot give you some of the hard-learned lessons that life is so good at teaching us. one thing i’ve learned (thanks ocd) is that sometimes picking at your problems relentlessly just makes it worse, make you so much more self obsessed. sometime the antidote to that is helping others with their problems, providing someone a listening ear, seeing that you are capable of tackling challenges. i don’t see therapy that pushes self obsession as therapeutic, i don’t see a culture hell bent on pushing self-prioritization as healing. thank you for this wonderful piece i think you nail the martyr complex we feel from isolation

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I think about 6 months ago I broke down in my boyfriends arms because I had just fucked up and yelled at him over something pretty insignificant and didn’t understand why I snapped so easily. I cried about how I’ve done therapy, gone through a 4 month long yoga teacher training program where I worked on myself and mindfulness, workout, work my ass off in school, meditate, and have examined and picked apart every single aspect of myself so why am I still not better? Why am I still a horrible person and partner when it feels like everything I’m doing is working towards bettering myself? I thought I was an even worse partner for crying in his arms after the fact because I convinced myself that crying and being upset about hurting someone I love was manipulation because of everything I read on the internet. And still after I fucked up my boyfriend still loved and supported me. And it wasn’t the last time I’d fuck up and it wouldn’t be the last time he fucked up either. And as I sit in my car typing out this comment letting the Slurpee that I was attempting to surprise him with Melt, I just want to say thank you for this essay. I’m gonna go give my boyfriend a melted slurpee now

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i've just started getting constant ads for betterhelp whenever i watch youtube and its so icky for every reason u talked about. every ad shows someone trying to tell their friend how they feel and express complex emotions, and they go "you ever feel like this?" and the friend says "no..." and then it's like "Need someone to talk to?? try online therapy!!" i just hate it so much because i would want my loved ones to express these things to me and i would hope i could express the same to them. im really trying to actively fight the transactional nature of relationships that i feel so often working its way into social interactions. i thought isolation would make me better for a long long time, and im now realizing especially in my early 20s that my relationships are literally the most important thing in my life. it sounds corny but honestly the only way to be happy is through love for other people

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I'm one of those people who taught themselves how to code, and in this community we have an expression that I think is relevant: tutorial hell.

Tutorial hell is a state that some new coders (especially women and minorities) get stuck in, usually when they are trying to learn a big topic from scratch. They watch a bunch of tutorials, recreate the projects in the tutorials line by line, but never actually start a project from scratch, or deviate from the path of the tutorial even by one bit, and therefore they never actually learn. It usually comes from a fear of mistakes, maybe fear of rejection, fear of feeling stupid and other very normal insecurities.

Tutorial hell is the illusion that you can learn your way out of making mistakes. It is imperative to get over this, in order to experience the genuine joy of creating something new from scratch, which to me is the beauty of coding. Mistakes and all.

I feel like pop therapy and social media psychology are becoming a sort of tutorial hell for human life.

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This made me CRY wtf!

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It's always a slightly perturbing treat to find writing that articulates emotions and conflicts I recognize in myself but have chosen to ignore in the past. I just recently got out of a relationship. Not long ago, I told my former partner that I was looking for a "Socratic" arrangement, whereby he and I would contribute unique wisdoms to each other and grow as a result of the exchange. When the relationship ended - the result, I think, of an unwanted exchange of flaws - Socrates was thrown out the window, and I fell back into a familiar emotional isolation, much like what you describe here. There is nothing more alluring to a lapsed Catholic like myself than the thought of being nailed to a cross of despairing loneliness and edifying punishment. But when you've taken yourself out of the game - when you preempt the pain of friction with the pain of self-flagellation - you miss out on all the good stuff. And I wanna feel that shit again, let me tell ya.

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I AM JUST ABOUT TO GO FOR MY MENTAL HEALTH TRIP TO THE PARK NOW I HAVE SOMETHING GOOD TO READ

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Apr 3, 2023Liked by rayne fisher-quann

Life changing essay that I read next to someone I love

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Wow, thanks for writing this. This has been on my mind as well. The last few lines really stabbed my heart haha. Do you just make me realize that I don't actually want to run away from my relationship, but rather lay into it?

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i really really needed to read this. i just started college, and it’s so easy to self isolate and stay holed up in my dorm. this made me realize i’ve been ignoring the part of me that longs for human connection and how important that part of me really is. thank you!!!

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"One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion." - Simone de Beauvoir

"But this terrible individualism must inevitably have an end, and all will suddenly understand how unnaturally they are separated from one another. It will be the spirit of the time, and people will marvel that they have sat so long in darkness without seeing the light." - fyodor dostoevsky

Beautiful essay. The association of compartmental isolation with mental health is so pervasive, yet paradoxical. Thanks for cutting through it, with the usual surgical nuance. This is like a metamodern revival of Alfred Adler.

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