I have a dear mate that has serious PTSD issues and is under heavy medication. Yesterday he posted on social media that he has great fears because a few doors down from his home new neighbours have moved in. These people "wear scarves and the men smile at you all the time". He was, as he elaborated later refering to Australians with Arabic origin.
After much thought overnight I replied to his entry. I reminded him of the worst firestorm in Australian history 'black Saturday' where neighbours of some residents that disliked each other for whatever reason helped each other and saved each others homes, their lives and in some cases...while their own home burned to the ground.
I've been human also and in the past prejudged my neighbours only to find after some time they were the ones that came to my aid when a suspicious vehicle surveillanced the area. Then such neighbours became good friends.
My point here is, many mental illness sufferers have issues with other people. It can be the sole reason why we "lock ourselves away", keep distant or are merely reserved. People can be hurtful, destructive and cunning. Some of us cant brave the bullying to just laugh it off. We are marshmellows and hence will never be walnuts with a hard protective case.
I'm one of these people that have been hurt many times. I'm vulnerable mentally. It has naught to do with physical might- I don't lack there. When verbally challenged, time is my only friend. I simply cant get over the hurt easily and quickly.
So what is the answer here? Well the likes of my sensitivity and fragility, walls need to be erected. There is no other solution but to erect these walls of defence to "minimalise" attacks...Better to erect walls with limited contact than hiding fully behind them with over reaction.
You might be in this situation. Well for this exercise my walls have grown over many years. I have a wall when visiting the main street of our town.The wall is: meet a local I know, talk for only 2-3 minutes. Enough time to be courteous but not enough time for personal challenges eg "when are you going to come to this meeting...you have to be more active in our community". Another is a local knock on our door seeking support for our local politician "I'll certainly think about it" is my answer. Non committal. I don't have to commit then have it thrown back at me "you said you'd support us".
Erecting small walls is ok if it means we can survive without locking ourselves away fully.