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Want to be a hermit?

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

I suspect not many members will read this thread. Reason being, even people with mental illness commonly maintain their regular contact with others.. .including me.

However, all my life when depression hits ive been tempted to withdraw fully from people...with the exception of my close family members.Why?

Sensitivity plays a huge part. Without it a thick skin would shield me against those that hurt. Ok, thats my reason for me being tempted to become a recluse so what stopped me?

After a few attempts to run away from humans i realised that it wasnt practical even though l was desperate . I still needed health care so a current medicare card (nowadays), supplies for hygiene, utensils, tools, even hair cutting implements..and if something breaks? What about shelter?

I'd suspect these are the reasons hermits are homeless in cities where they can access services.

So if you have a burning desire to withdraw from society, what is an alternative?

A comfort safe zone might be your answer.

Firstly as people with mental illness we should not feel guilty for not contributing towards society. We are often only capable of focussing on our own survival.

Find an environment that suits you in housing you can afford. Many of us cant afford much. Consider a caravan...if you are single you are mobile and can park it in someones back yard for low rent..or be a drifter of caravan parks with some roadside or free camping.

The concept should be to maintain just enough contact with society to enable you to reap the benefits of it. I call it "swanning". I swan into town for my supplies, have a coffee at our fav cafe if it isnt busy and im feeling well, then swan out.

Over time you will perfect the regulation needed of home and away from home to remain in your best possible mental health.

A friend of mine a single guy with ptsd rents a cottage in our small town (pop 200). He drives a hiace campervan. His rent is very low here and he can tour around as he likes. He has many friends in Melbourne so when he wants he drives down, stays overnight then leaves the next day. He swans in and swans out.

If you are so depressed and can no longer tolerate people for whatever reason, resist the feelings of total withdrawal

In 1983 l expressed to my GP my need to live in the bush alone and with no contact. He said "you'll last about 3 months then you will be very unwell".

If you have just survived society, take care of yourself and find a safe place on society's fringe.

Tony WK

38 Replies 38

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi TonyWK

I wholeheartedly agree with your post.

Mental illness leaves us vulnerable and somewhat 'naked' in society without the necessary 'peace of mind' we require to function effectively.

Being on the fringe I find the hustle and bustle (the general pace of life) greatly reduced therefore provides me to dedicate my limited 'mental horsepower' towards self nurturing and rebuilding the foundations of my health.

Thankyou TonyWK for another great method of living our lives in relative peace so we can bolster our coping mechanisms.

kind thoughts


Hi Paul

"Naked in society"

"Limited mental hotsepower"

Great phrases.


Tony WK

Community Member

Hello White Night,

You and Geoff kindly welcomed me last night in the 'introduction forum" thank you. I'd like to contribute to all forums, but your post grabbed me first. Hope it's okay that I write here. If not for my children I'd definately be on a continual roadtrip. Showing my age here, but Simon and Garfunkal " I am a rock", describe my sentiments the best. I am definately a recluse, rarely leave the house. I make sure there's no neighbours around before I check my letterbox or water the garden. I only feel 'safe' when my kids are with me. It's almost like I use them as an excuse to be part of society. With all due respect to those who do actually 'live on the fringe' I totally understand the desire to withdraw in order to survive.

Hi R,

Yes, post, comment any thread you like. Being safe and anonymous it might suit you here.

I totally understand yet it seems im not as reclusive as you.

My barrier has been born from hurt from others. So my fear is l will say something inappropriate.

I cant see anything wrong in your avoidance of people or your need to enter public places with your children as a "tool" to help you mix. As i said, we have to find our "safe zone" where we can survive there rather than subjecting ourselves to the pain of normal modern living.

Can i ask R, do you have hobbies. How do you fill in your time?

Tony WK

Hi white night,

Sorry for not replying to you sooner. I have posted in 2 other threads meantime so have met wonderful Kaz.

Thank you for understanding my need/desire to be a hermit.

My barrier is that everyone eventually disappoints, betrays you, or just leaves your life for their own reasons. I've given so much, I just don't have faith anymore that anyone ever sticks around. Hence no trust or willingness to try, yet again.

Please understand that my kids don't feel burdened, who can do an Aldi shop for five on their own? But I suspect they see the look in my eyes when they go to their friends places instead of inviting them here.

My 'safe zone" is being amongst their teenage friends. I only feel comfortable chatting with our youth. I have nothing in common with other mums, well except for my fellow cancer parents, who I've lost contact with.

As for hobbies, none whatsoever. Nothing interests me, major lack of desire to even try. I imagine the next question might be, what did I used to like to do, and my only reply would be looking after my kids well. Need to rediscover/ reinvent myself.

Exactly why I took the brave step of joining this forum. Thank you.

What comes to mind is to get involved in activities with teens. Basketball, volleyball, badminton, theatre,?

Perhaps as an assistant organiser?

Good luck with that

Tony WK

I remember reading once about Buddhist monks, who would sometimes decide to enter true hermitage and contemplation.

They would work together in pairs, the two of them finding stones and slowly building a single roomed house. The monk who had decided to enter contemplation would build the final wall from the inside, blocking off his exit completely, leaving no way to ever leave and only a narrow slit for his partner to slide in one bowl of rice once a day. For water he would be forced to lick condensation off the walls and from the moss that would eventually grow there.

And I remember thinking, Yes. There is some part of me that hears that story and finally unwinds, until I feel a deep sense of peace and relaxation. It feels *right*.

I doubt I'll ever do it. Certainly not until I am very old and my children don't need me. But I hold it in my mind as a different way life could be lived, and it keeps me calm and steady when everything around me is screaming about the need for possessions and success. I find capitalism very hard to keep up with.

Yes please ......... I want to become a hermit again. Life would then be so easy, so uncomplicated. The real world is just too hard and too distressing, to navigate on a day to day basis.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi vorbis, welcome

Thankyou for your story. I found it hits the spot of the depth one can go emotionally.

I often talk about a man who inspires me like that. Please google these

Maharaji sunset

Maharaji the perfect instrument

taurus it seems you have been a hermit before.​ what I'm suggesting here is that being a hermit is not ideal. It places too many pressures on us like...shelter, warmth, health, food, all those basic things that cause more problems than the reverse.

I'm saying there is a "sweet spot" for people to work at for them, as everyone is different. Aim for midrange like for me it ended up a town of 200 people, large enough for a shop, small enough not to be hounded by many. 13 minutes from a larger town with all services, train to the city, medical, supermarket...

Of course you'd need a car/motorbike/scooter. Income for rent/mortgage/board. (You need income whete ever you go really).So registering for benefits etc places one in obligation for seeking work etc. Suddenly this concept is far away from being a hermit.

However l suggest regardless of these basic obligations (which can be complex and problematic compared to hermitation) it could be a preferred choice for some that flip flop from one extreme to the other...21st century stress to total rejection living under a tarp in the bush.

What do you think?

Tony WK