Friday 21 June 2019

Chronic illness and loneliness

It's coming to the end of loneliness awareness week and I wasn't quite sure what to write other than 'being chronically ill is very lonely' because it just is.
"Over 9 million adults are often or always lonely." - Sense
"Almost half of working-age disabled people are chronically lonely... that works out at about 3 million lonely disabled people in Britain.""On a typical day, one in eight disabled people have less than a half-hour’s interaction with other people." - The Guardian
Doing my research for this article it seemed that a huge barrier to disabled people combatting their loneliness was the lack of accessibility in society. Such as wheelchair users turning down going out he the pub, or to a restaurant or going on public transport with friends because of lack of access.

The a lot of the time I am house/sofa-bound, I see the same few walls and windows week-in; week-out. Though I try to get out when I'm well enough with a friend, family member or carer. I don't live alone (though I'd like to but that's a whole saga in itself) but we don't often sit down and spend time together in the same room except to eat tea (evening meal if you're not for up north). I see my carers a couple of times a week and I see care professionals such as my nurse and physio. But the vast majority of the time I'm on my own.

I've struggled a lot with clinical depression since I was 11 and been isolated and lonely as well as dealing with being chronically ill doesn't help.

I have one friend who I see in person every-so-often but my biggest defence against loneliness is mail - both writing and receiving. This give me that "social" interaction that I can't do in person. I have pen pals; some whom I've become good friends with and some of my pen pals also have health problems too so there's that shared understanding, but it's nice to talk about non-medical stuff too as we spend our days dealing with symptoms and appointments etc so its nice to talk about other things like what we've been watching TV or our latest craft project.

I'd defiantly recommend getting into letter writing as a way of combatting loneliness.