One of the hardest part about being chronically ill, is how isolating it can feel. It can be a really lonely thing, when you aren’t able to do as much as you once were, and feel like other people don’t want to understand. I was diagnosed with MS 5 years ago, and in those 5 years I’ve lost touch with some people I thought were my good friends, and am no longer able to work, so I spend a lot of time at home, alone. I’m very thankful to now share that home with my amazing boyfriend (who is also my best friend!), but he of course has to go to work during the week and I have from 1 pm to about 10:30 pm alone every day to try and fill. We have the dog, who sometimes also keeps me stuck at home or close by with his separation anxiety issues, but is still such nice company to have during the day. And I do still have friends that I stay in touch with and try to reach out to make plans with, but it’s just not always possible with chronic fatigue, pain and disability. Some people are really understanding about that, but they also have their own lives, and jobs, and aren’t really available a lot of the time, which I try to be understanding of, but unfortunately ends up leaving me feeling lonely a lot of the time.
It does feel sad to think about it, but we cope, and learn to live this new found life. I have found some great things to fill some of the time with, like volunteering at the local humane society and for the online forum for people with MS that I’ve mentioned here in this blog before, but unfortunately it’s not always enough and there are a lot of days where the most I can do is lay on the couch watching TV. I’ve had to take some time off from the shelter recently because of how I’ve been feeling, and it’s just hard when your body and your mind don’t seem to agree. I’d love to be out doing things and seeing friends, but my body doesn’t always let me. Staying positive can be hard sometimes, and falling into that loneliness is far too easy.
At the end of the day though, I remind myself that the people who really care will make the effort, even when I can’t. Tomorrow is always a new day, and whatever it brings, we have to adapt and live our lives as best we can, and learn to appreciate when we are able to do things that much more.