Subscribe to The Atlantic and get 2 free issues

I'm a Shut-In. This is My Story

A man explains why he became a recluse, and why he now wants to leave the house:

"Being different means constant pressure from culture to conform. You can't avoid the pressure, you can't rebel against it, you can't rise up and punch it, and you certainly can't ignore it. Normal is everywhere.

"It's inevitable that anyone different starts to feel isolated and rejected by the world. When you're constantly reminded that you don't fit in, you eventually give up on fitting in. I gradually gave up on trying to fit in and focused on pretending to fit in."
PUBLISHED: Feb. 20, 2013
LENGTH: 60 minutes (15092 words)