A Perspective from the Girl who Spent Years in Isolation by Mary Catherine Gebhard


[Note from Frolic: Today, we welcome author Mary Catherine Gebhard to the site. She’s sharing her experience with isolation. Take it away, Mary Catherine!]

I joke I’ve been training for this day my entire life. When I was thirteen, I was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (what a mouthful, right?). I spent months isolated and when I was a Sophomore, I dropped out of school completely to spend the year at home. I didn’t do the things normal kids did. I only went to two school dances; I never went to prom.

I think what I’ve gone through has made these months easier. I’ve had years of isolation to prepare, while the entire world just got thrown into the deep end. Everyone is missing out on huge milestones that I’ve had years to accept.

So, I’m offering a perspective from the girl who grew up isolated.

“No matter how many friends or family or just people surround us, we all have that thing we can’t tell somebody, a jagged shard of glass cutting our soul.”

It came to me when I was up late and sick—again—a line for my next novel, Stolen Soulmate. When I was writing this book, loneliness was at its core. I’d never written a pair more lonely and more star-crossed than Story and Gray. I have a wonderful husband who would have gladly woken up to be with me, but, like with Story and Gray, there are parts of ourselves we keep hidden. For me, that part is the number of times I’m really sick.

I’ve always feared that No one wants to be friends with the sick girl.

Like Story, I hide.

“So we bleed silently. Alone.” 

That night as I was sitting sick on the floor, I wondered: How many others are like me? How many people hide something, even from the one who is supposed to know everything?

And thinking of them, I felt…less alone.

Story and Gray, despite every warning from fate saying they shouldn’t be together, find a connection through their loneliness. It made me wonder what really is loneliness, if we’re all experiencing this exact feeling. 

Right now the entire world is more isolated than we’ve ever been, but a silvery thread of loneliness, of exasperation, of uncertainty and fear, connects us. 

“If you’re lucky, you might find someone who has a similar piece of glass to your own. So then you don’t bleed alone. That’s what’s so addicting about loneliness. The hope against everything that maybe one day you won’t be alone.”

I had a jagged shard that poked at me and made me bleed, that kept me up and still keeps me up. For years I’ve wanted so badly to share my pain, but in my head is the constant mantra No one wants to be friends with the sick girl.

Now, I can open up any app, go on any social media site, and someone is saying something about this lockdown. For every scary statistic, there’s a funny video, a meme, a wholesome news story.

It’s overwhelming. It’s horrifying. It’s a little annoying at times, but we’re all bleeding together. It doesn’t make it better. It doesn’t make it hurt less. It doesn’t make anything change. 

But hopefully, it makes you feel a little less alone.

About the Author:

Mary Catherine Gebhard was born and raised in SLC, UT, but occasionally goes on vacation from reality—don’t worry, she sends postcards. MC is in love with men who stop at nothing for their women, so she writes them!

Stolen Soulmate by Mary Catherine Gebhard, out now!

There’s a rule in Crowne Hall: never look a Crowne in the eyes.

It protects us more than them.

I broke it once, the night Grayson Crowne mistook me for his true love and stole my first kiss. I’ve regretted it every day since.

He hates me.

He torments me.

He won’t let me go, because that night he whispered a secret against my lips not meant for me. Grayson Crowne, heir to the Crowne empire and notorious playboy prince is… a virgin.

I signed a contract in my heart’s blood as much as ink: help him get back his love, repair what I broke. Give him my body, my soul, my heart, let him use all of me, so when the time comes to marry her, he won’t need me.

I shouldn’t need him.

But he’s my stolen soulmate, and I’m at his mercy.

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