Isolation is something many of us have had to face. Some because they live out in the bush, and then some of us (like myself) are surrounded by people everywhere, yet have felt at times completely and utterly alone. This seems to be especially the case for those that have suffered long term illness of any sort. Loved ones are more than happy to support you through a flu or recovery from surgery but when your situation drags on and on for years… well people soon get pretty bored with you. I can’t really blame them as I’m pretty bored with it all myself. Unfortunately there are no days off for me. I’m not sharing this to be a sad sack but actually to thank you all for coming into my world and sharing so much love, encouragement and support. It has just blown my mind and my heart! I gotta say, I had no idea the love I was in for when I decided to jot down some of my thoughts and share them with you.
Now to those of you who have decided the world will never “get it” so it’s just easier not to engage and to hide away, well I totally understand where you are coming from and if it was something that contributed to your recovery then I’d say go for it. But the problem is that being sick for a long time can get you down. Whether your illness was actually depression in the first place, or if living with pain and illness causes you to feel miserable and sad, either way depression is something most of us feel at some point. So when you combine isolation and depression it heads no where good. Isolation allows a nice quite place for depression to be heard. Depression is a bully and when it speaks it has nothing nice to say. Depression speaks only lies. It tells you no one cares. It yells at you that your life is worth nothing, that you have nothing to contribute. It says life will never get better and with each lie it robs you of hope.
I know escaping from isolation and depression is not easy. Especially when leaving the house for some of you requires so many coins. And I know what it feels like when you finally open up to people, only to be let down. I used to get so frustrated by dumb stuff people would say to me, and like you, I know what it’s like to graciously smile at friends and family when all you really want to do is punch them in the face. Like seriously the suggestions I have received from people over the years. I feel like saying, you do realise I’m sick not stupid. So look, it might take a few tries to find some safe people you can be honest with, who are worth climbing out of bed for. I promise they are out there.
In saying all that the blame can’t completely be on our loved ones for not being there for us. It’s also up to us to man up and get real. Tell your friend you’d love to catch up but only for an hour. People can’t support you unless your honest about what you need. Forget those lies you’ve been listening to and realise that there are people who would be happy to have half an hour with you than nothing at all. For those days you just can’t leave the house. You may need to get over the fact that in order to ditch ‘isolation’ you might just need to be ok with people coming to your house even though the dishes are still in the sink from last saturday. Yes your house is a mess but it’s not because you are lazy it’s because you are surviving and some days the coins just don’t allow for folding washing or sweeping the floor. This has been a hard one for me to get over.
So my friends please, please give it another go and climb out of the isolation trap. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. Love yourself enough to find an environment that will give hope a voice and the truth that it speaks.