Easy to say but not so easy to feel when nose deep in the yuck-and-muck of chronic illness. Ongoing health issues are not only frustrating, they can be isolating. They can land us sicker than we ever imagined and more alone than we can tolerate. So, what happens if we find ourselves alone of such a health journey…
Don’t Give Up
It may feel like giving up is the only option left. But what would happen if you made a concentrated effort to set that feeling aside? What would happen if gave up on the give up, just for a while if that is all you can muster up??
I know I felt like a social-misfit, bumbling idiot because I was not putting sentences together, no memory to remember people’s names, couldn’t walk a straight line because of illness so I was awkward, it was miserable trying to be around others. Oh, and falling into tears constantly because I could not handle the stress and anxiety of the social situations. Way too much stimulus.
So do we give up, or keep trying? I finally gave up caring what others might be thinking and kept trying. It took a while. Took some failure. Took a lot of embarrassing moments. Now I can laugh at it but I sure didn’t find anything funny about it at the time.
Examine The Company You are In
We become like the closest 5 people we are exposed to.
So, who are we exposed to the most? Are they positive people or the naysayers when it comes to your health, your well-being?
Are we caught up on social media conversations that are keeping us stuck in the mire of despair?
Really, think about it. If our social media exposure is busting on people, their efforts to get well, stuck in the negativity of blaming everyone and everything else but not taking their own steps to do the really hard work that it takes to get out of chronic illness, WHY-the-HECK are we surprised that our attitudes don’t match theirs? Of course they are going to rub off on us.
Value of Being Alone
This one was really tough for me. It was hard to accept that being alone – away from all the naysayers – was better for me than having others company.
Sometimes there is great value in being alone. Once I got past the shock of isolation, I could start to think MY thoughts, work on my health solutions in peace.
Every situation is very different and everyone has to do what is right for themselves and their situation.
All I am asking is to consider a time-out from the naysayers, in the way that works for you. The negativity alone can keep a person very ill.
I do suggest – don’t burn bridges. You might want those family members or friends back at a later date. A naysayer timeout does not have to be a permanent situatation, or a moral judgment.
Seek Out Like-Minded Community
When we are alone, have only naysayers around us and we are chronically ill, things get even more messy.
Sometimes we simply must go out on a limb and seek community so we are not so alone.
- Decide on a concept you would like to explore with your health (natural health, mind/body health, meditation, etc.)
- Explore different “communities” that are like-minded on that subject (might be online or in your local community in person)
- Run with it for a while and see if it is uplifting you, or sucking you into another level of negativity (it takes effort and bravery to step up and do this but the rewards are worth it when it works)
- If you feel supported, enjoy, and give back to others (gratitude and giving back are part of a healing journey)
Another fun thing to try (okay a little scary too) is seeking out really old friends that you have lost contact with. You never know if they are available for a relationship or not. They might not get your illness issues, but they might be willing to “catch up” and give you some isolation relief.
Even if you only get one fun conversation out of an old friend, it provides relief and human interaction. Maybe even a few laughs.
Create Solutions for Your Needs
Very hard but you can do it. When something does not exist, create it.
You may or may not see immediate results. If you don’t, don’t give up. Try a variety of things, groups, people until something sticks.
I will never forget the day I read that someone who was ill and in bed felt isolated, especially when she could not visit her grandchildren. She came up with a brilliant idea. They got on Skype (or whatever) and had video visits in bed. She would play games with them over the video while she stayed in bed where she belonged. She was all eyes and ears, just for them, uninterrupted quality time. The kids got the hang of it and started looking forward to the video/bed/visits. That is creating a cool solution.
Chronic illness is messy; our health gets messy, our relationships get messy, our finances get messy. It is a messy business, so expect messy! It is when we see past the mess that we can identify hope and solutions.
Happy messy day to you all,