Okay, this is not going to be as depressing as the title sounds. But it is a reality for many facing an invisible illness to go through some lonely times. For some it's once in a while and others everyday.
It could be very subtle, noticing that invitations are starting to decrease, or something more obvious, friends that have always been there before suddenly wish no part of your life. Even some family can start to drift away.
Okay, okay that sounded a bit depressing, but it's very much true for some. When I first became sick, I started to isolate myself because I basically couldn't get out of bed. I actually did pull away from some, it's hard to call people and say "I'm really sick". I could no longer fly on a plane, I could no longer drive far distances, I could no longer be in crowds etc. . How do you explain all of that to your people? Plus, many of us with invisible illnesses don't know for years why we are actually sick. So it's very hard for others to understand.
Here's the good news though, there are ways to combat the feeling of loneliness from an invisible illness. Here are a few tools and tips that I began to incorporate:
Storyboard: This was a biggie..An organizer that consists of pictures, quotes, illustrations in sequence that helped me visualize my healing journey. I'd put up motivating quotes, pictures of me before I was sick, happy images of what I wanted my future to look like. Anything that motivated me to keep going and visualize myself well again.
Support groups: There are so many support groups out there. Many of them now are online, which is so wonderful for people that have a hard time leaving their home.
Get outdoors: I hated being stuck in my house and watching my family doing and going places. Get those shoes on and just walk around your neighborhood. The fresh air, the sounds of nature are so darn important.
Self-compassion: I had no self compassion when my sick journey began. I was in a complete state of fear, panic and massive anxiety. I felt I was going to be stuck in this nightmare forever. I began reading books, and I wasn't much of a reader than, I am now. Couple recommendations: "How To Be Sick" by Toni Bernhard and "Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program" by Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff
lastly, self-love: If someone would have come to me and said "Jessica this is one day going to end" my life would have completely shifted. Not one doctor or therapist ever said those words to me. This is the main reason I became a wellness advocate, people need to hear those words. Since, I didn't have that person, I became that person. Once I started to incorporate self-love and shifting my language and emotions towards healing the loneliness started to shift as well.
A tip of something to avoid: Some social media platforms. When a person is lonely and very ill the last thing they need to see are those perfect pics of their friends or families having the time of their lives. For me personally that made me feel even more lonely. Just a tip!!
I sure hope this helps anyone feeing lonely from and illness. We have to stick together and know that "your illness is going to end one day".