Isolation blues? Maybe you’ve heard of it or maybe you’re new to it. Myanmars ex-political prisoners recently shared survival tips with me on the podcast, and I thought I’d share them here, too. What is isolation blues?

Myanmars are ex-political prisoners. They were sentenced to serve time for their participation in an underground resistance movement against the Zimbabwe government. Many were rounded up and detained without trial. It was there that they discovered what the popular term “isolation” meant. It simply means being left alone. When they were placed into isolation, they had no communication with anyone outside of the guards who took care of them.

There was no one to bring food or clothes to them. No television, radio, books or newspapers. Only two things they could think about were meals and sleeping. They had no idea what the day would bring or how long they would be kept in isolation. They waited many weeks for a visit from a human being before they were told they had been found alive.

There was a large group of them who planned to write letters to their loved ones to try to get some news. But when their letters were returned, they found they had been written by prison warders, stating that they had died or were killed. They were not told what death conditions were. Some had burns on their bodies and others had wounds so severe they needed to be put into surgery. None of these men knew what awaited them.

Some of them were released after six months, while the others waited for another six months. It became a vicious circle. The longer they waited, the worse their situation became. Their writing and penmanship deteriorated. Their thoughts went to dark places. They wanted to leave the world, but had no idea how.

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Wasolation Blues? Yes. But it was nothing compared to what Joe Saturday had been through. He was thrown out of his home, had no money and no one wanted to talk to him because of his blues.

You could blame society today. We are a poor country and people in general have no respect for those who suffer from mental illness. They call them sick, call them crazy, call them anything under the sun but never call them sorry. Why?

They are just going to isolate them further and cause more pain and anguish. It is up to us as individuals to lead our fellow humans and show them that life is good and worthy. It is not all about you; it is also about being of service to others. So, why don’t we do something positive for our fellow man and show them that we care and remember that life is beautiful and worth living?

Isn’t that what great music is all about? What would have happened if the great blues musicians of the past had been embraced and appreciated for who they were? What might have become of their careers had they not gotten help early on? Well, they certainly would not be revered like they are today. And, in the meantime, America lost a true treasure.

It is good to hear about someone who left things alone and came out on top. Sometimes it is better to let things go and try to make a better future for ourselves rather than wish someone else would have done something different. But sometimes it is good to hold onto those who we think can play our blues music and love us for it. It is important to realize that we can never replace a lost loved one, especially if that lost one was our father or our brother or our son or our daughter. So, how can we avoid feeling isolated and left alone?

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The best advice for dealing with this feeling is to remember how important you are to yourself, to your family and to society. Yes, you have to make some tough choices and learn to say “no” from time to time. But don’t let others tell you that you cannot sing your blues – period. Sometimes it takes listening to a lot of music to remind ourselves that we don’t have to live like this and that we have wonderful influences in the world to help us along the way. This is the best advice for being left alone.

So, when you feel lonely and left alone… take a deep breath, slow down, listen to some nice music and remember why you got into blues in the first place. There is no reason why anyone should have to be left alone. Strive to keep up the good work while you are still around! Good luck!

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