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.
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. 🙂
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