Stephen Fry has yesterday posted a wonderful introspection into his own mental health. It’s wonderful that someone of his status and influence is prepared to open up about something that affects a lot of people, and that is usually hidden from public view out of an unhealthy fear and embarrassment.
I found this passage interesting:
In the end loneliness is the most terrible and contradictory of my problems. I hate having only myself to come home to. If I have a book to write, it’s fine. I’m up so early in the morning that even I pop out for an early supper I am happy to go straight to bed, eager to be up and writing at dawn the next day. But otherwise…
It’s not that I want a sexual partner, a long-term partner, someone to share a bed and a snuggle on the sofa with – although perhaps I do and in the past I have had and it has been joyful. But the fact is I value my privacy too. It’s a lose-lose matter. I don’t want to be alone, but I want to be left alone. Perhaps this is just a form of narcissism, vanity, overdemanding entitlement – give it whatever derogatory term you think it deserves. I don’t know the answer.
I find it particularly interesting he mentions narcissism in the same context as relationships and not wanting one. I can relate, but my problems are different. I don’t really want a partner, but I also don’t want to be alone. Amongst other things, I have a total inability to be romantically attracted to anyone. I know what a romantic attraction is because sometimes I feel one, with enough intensity that it bothers me that it is unsatisfied (although in reality, I’d find it difficult and frustrating and draining).
It takes a fairly stupid situation to resolve the inconsistency between the statements “I don’t feel romantic attraction to anyone” and “I do feel romantic attraction”, and I can happily oblige. There is currently one person in my life who triggers a romantic attraction. They are not a realistic possibility for various reasons I’m not going into, not least they fact they are married. Also, I don’t know them very well at all. But I have seen them regularly enough over a long enough period of time, and they were interesting enough initially, that my imagination has sort of filled in the gaps. Like, all the gaps. Like, far more detailed and personal gaps than it really has any business speculating about, it blazes through regardless. The person I am attracted to is not actually real. It takes a special mix of narcissism and idiocy to formulate a romantic interest in somebody you created yourself.
Real people on the other hand, nope, nothing. What I find frustrating is that I am clearly capable of feeling the right things, but it just doesn’t seem to happen.