Who's a hikikomori?
Maybe me, a little bit.
Was reading about this phenomenon in the New York Times Magazine, but you can look it up in wikipedia.
Basically it tends to start with teenagers, but because of the way Japanese society is set up, these kids stay at home, sometimes for a couple of decades. They lock themselves in their rooms and don't interact with anyone, although it sounds like most of them spend a lot of time on the internet.
It's funny because it's more common with boys, but I completely understand the urge. When I'm particularly lost, I just want to spend a lot of time alone, at home. Apparently, the psychologists surmise, it has something to do with the feeling that there's nothing to contribute, that there are no good career paths, and that there has been too much pressure to perform.
Sound familiar, anyone? It does to me.
Again, this kind of fits with my last post- the people who end up 'recovering' do so by being rescued. There are groups that provide, essentially, friends for a fee- the parents pay to have someone of a similar age come and visit, try to get their kid out of the house and back into daily life. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
Anyway this really struck a chord with me. Little did I know, there are others out there who, like me, just feel like the system isn't working for us.
I find it very interesting that nobody seems to accuse them of being depressed. Instead, it sounds like choosing to withdraw, to be a 'shut-in', is just a different kind of lifestyle. Very different from the attitudes in this country.
I've often said I would have been quite happy as a scientist hundreds of years ago, puttering away in isolation. I'm with Sartre, and the hikikomori: Hell is other people.