How To Avoid Loneliness In Chronic Illness

The cycle of chronic illness and social isolation has been proven to pose worse health risks.  When you have more severe chronic illness it’s hard to not become isolated and lonely.  When you’re not able to get out and interact with others you will be lonely.  Loneliness can create a negative outlook, which will generally make health problems worse.  So, this cycle needs to be broken with a more positive outlook.

Loneliness

In my life, chronic illnesses have definitely caused isolation.  I’m often not able to shower and get dressed everyday.  The days when I shower are sometimes limited, because the shower wears me out.  Being able to put on make-up and fix my hair is another level of exhausting work.  Then, I need to find clothes to wear.  I don’t feel like ironing my clothes, so I end up wearing sweats and unpressed tops.  Looking like a bum certainly doesn’t contribute to a outgoing, positive outlook.

When you feel bad and look bad, it makes you less likely to want to go out in public.  Knowing that an outing will bring more exhaustion makes you feel like it’s just not worth it.  So, you stay home.  After doing just a small amount of work you have to rest.  So, you see how the house can get messy.  Now, you have a whole new level of isolation.  You don’t want to have company because your house gets to be a wreck.

Studies have shown the connection between chronic illness and isolation.  In my life the isolation issue is very real.  Many times, I have found that my isolation isn’t even negative.  Being a melancholy person I’ve always tended to enjoy alone-time.  For me, being alone can be peaceful.  But, I believe all the isolation changes me into being more content with my alone-ness.  Does this sound a little crazy to you?  I’m pretty sure that I’m not crazy, but who knows. 🙂

online

One nice way to break the cycle of isolation is to reach out online.  There seems to be an unlimited number of support groups, forums, social media groups, and private messaging for those of us with chronic illness.  Blogging has been very beneficial to me in my chronic illness journey.  I gain so much from you dear readers, as you provide me with so much encouragement.

Those of you who are more extroverted may feel more lonely when you get too isolated.  It would be important for you to make the effort to have a guest over, no matter how messy your home.  When you can, try to go out for short trips to meet a friend at the coffee shop or a movie.  You may need to rest for days afterward, but it will be worth it.

The most important thing to remember is to look at your life in the most positive way that you can.  Look for the good things, even small occurrences and blessings.  Prayer is a meaningful part of my self-care.  Self-care is necessary and different for everyone, but you must stay away from blaming yourself.  Find friends or online buddies that are dealing with similar illnesses and share with them.  You’ll find plenty of people who are taking a positive approach to help them cope with all that chronic illness brings.

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical expert, but share my opinions and experiences.  This post doesn’t present medical advice.  If you have medical concerns, please consult your personal physician.

@2018, copyright Lisa Ehrman

18 Comments

  1. I don’t have a chronic illness, but I was on bedrest for several weeks with my first pregnancy. It was very frustrating and lonely. Now, if I hear of a friend or family member who is homebound for some reason, I definitely understand their need for a visit!

  2. You nailed it. It’s like a vicious circle……not feeling good means more isolation……which means not feeling good. Being online definitely helps.

  3. I completely understand. I was an only child for a long time and am used to being alone. Quiet is comforting. That’s why I love being able to keep in contact with my friends via Facebook when I am homebound. Thank you for addressing this issue. I know there are many people who are uncomfortable and depressed being alone. When I have company, I tend to try to be “the host-est of the most-est” even when I have vertigo and drop everything I pick up. That being said, I love people and welcome visitors. So ya’ll come and please don’t look at the messy house. 😉

    • xaoti

      May 3, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      You have a great attitude about welcoming visitors! It’s hard to let go of the hostess-with-the-mostest. We grew up with that pressure to impress and please our guests. But, friends will visit and not care whether our homes are messy or not 🙂 That’s the beauty of friends!

  4. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

  5. Thank you for writing about this. I’ve found that I enjoy my alone time as well, but I may unintentionally be creating isolation where depression-like thoughts can creep in and bring me down. I love the idea of meeting a friend for coffee. I think I will do this soon 🙂

    • xaoti

      May 3, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      That’s right where I am, too. I hope you have a good-enough day to meet your friend soon 🙂

  6. Diana Corlett

    May 7, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Everyone needs to feel loved and appreciated. Yet it seems, in our technology filled world, we sometimes don’t get to make the connections needed to not feel alone. Coupled with a so -called “invisible illness” which makes one less up for going out and about, it can make for a life of loneliness.

    • xaoti

      May 7, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      Yes, it’s such a unfortunate set of circumstances that keep us isolated. I hope you have a support, whether in person or online 🙂

  7. I know this curcle very well… unfortunatetly… and my problem is that people, friends and even relatives don’t understand why I’m not “social” active and very often in a bad mood and exsausted… people ask me about my goals or wishes, and they don’t understand that I don’t belong to myself and my “plans” because I don’t know how I will feel myself in an hour… People with good health don’t understand it at all… And I don’t know what about I can talk with people with the same problems, just “hi, I need a rest, but have to work to survive (I need to eat, pay for apartment and no-one surpport me financialy and i have a lot anxiety about it…) and I want but cannot go out at the weekend because it’s my time just to lie in silence… without a movement… I’waiting for the weekends…

    • xaoti

      May 7, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      That’s so tough, having to work all week, when you don’t feel able to. But, when we’re exhausted, what else can you do on the weekends? We miss our health and those who haven’t been sick can’t possibly relate. I hope and pray that you’ll receive support from those of us online that care and understand 🙂

  8. gloria patterson

    May 11, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    I don’t have problems with being alone I am comfortable. My feeling is if you like the way my home looks clean it up for me.

    • xaoti

      May 12, 2018 at 1:22 am

      That’s a great attitude to have, and I can really relate to being alone and comfortable 🙂

  9. Jerry Marquardt

    May 12, 2018 at 2:40 am

    There is a lot of people I know who will benefit from your article. I thank you for sharing, and I am passing this on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *