8 May 2009


What is it about islands? They seem to invite thoughts ans feelings of isolation and sadness.
There was recently a seminar about Antero de Quental, one of our main poets, who took his own life in his native island, in 1891. Listen to an excerpt of a letter he wrote to another well known writer:
(…) this isolation in a corner of the world, which is already a semi-death or a death by antecipation".
A very frequent emtional defence against the harsh reality is wthdrawal. People become introvert and estranged from freiends and family.
Let's not isolate ourselves. Please speak up.


  1. Hi,
    I am new to this blog thing. However, I was able to identlify with this posting. I have been abroad for many years as my husband constantly moves around because of his job. I know that it is normal to feel different and isolated while you are adapting to a new place. But, I have been here for a couple of yrs now and was wondering what the normal period is and what signs i shold be looking out for that may be unhealthy. I guess what id like to know is how we can know when adaptation turns into isolation, or death, as it is described in the blog commentary. And, is it possible to become use to living in isolation to the point where it it feels normal and ok? If so, is that healthy or unhealthy.
    Many thanks,

  2. I love sailing and I'd love to go to the Azores. It's a good thing you are starting a blog that has to do with psychotherapy. I had sessions once a week for three years and it's the best thing I ever did. Get to know thyself, I always say. Best wishes Janice

  3. Hi,
    Im new to blogs, but this message peaked my interest because Im able to identify with the commentary of feeling isolated in a corner of the world. An island being land that is not attached to a continent, and different from the commoners. I have been living abroad for some years now seeing as how we move around because of my husbands job I know what that feeling is all too well. Ive often felt isolated and it typically disappears after a short while. What Id like to know is what signs i should look for to know when it is normal and when it is not. When does isolation become unhealthy? And, if adapting to being alone is healthy, or unhealthy.
    Many thanks,

  4. Hi blu,
    welcome on board. "No man is an island"... as the poet said.
    Friends are important everywhere but sometimes circumstances don't help. It's important to keep in touch with friends either in Portugal or, say, in New Zealand. Fortunately nowadays we can do that more easily thanks to quick communications. Did you manage to make Portuguese friends? I hear it's not that easy to make friends in this country. What do you think?

  5. Dear Clara,
    What do you think 'no man is an island' really means? That without social references we are alone? I have tried to stay in touch with friends,but over many years it becomes quite difficult. As time goes on and one begins to miss out on important events etc in the lives of friends, communication begins to dwindle. Especially because I have my children and often life becomes centered around their activities and keeping the family centered. Of course I have a couple of friends that I have been able to maintain contact with by phone every few mths or so, but most of my days are spent with my family and when the kids are at school and my husband at work I find myself either very busy with errands or feeling very bored. I have not integrated into any social circles here in Lisbon as I have in other countries Ive been in the past. I was much younger then and more willing. I was thinking about taking up dance lessons to see if that would help me get out more often. During those moments where I am running errands and busy taking care of my family i feel happy and fulfilled. Then in those moments of boredome I wonder if I should be involved in something more fulfilling and if perhaps i am isolated.

  6. Blu,
    There are great groups to join in lx. Lisbon is a fascinating little city thats very accessible; casinos, theatre, dance, arts, cont ed courses etc, all places to meet new people. Have you enver considered that there may be a reason that you are shying away from fitting in or finding a circle? That may be worth exploring! As I always say, know thyself. Its the best thing you can give to yourself. I only comment because I am able to relate to what your describing and although it took some investment, I was able to get to the root of it all and its the best thing i ever did. Best wishes to you,



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