Isolated with a chronic illness, isn’t new for me.

Two months ago, life as I knew it changed with a fibromyalgia flare up that left me in the worst pain of my life, I was signed off work and prescribed bed rest and a new form of medication. For the first week of the flare, I was living alone in a three storey house unable to do much for myself, sometimes crawling to bed was the only thing possible . I depended entirely on my dad popping in to break the week up arround his shifts, bring me essentials and listening as I grew frustrated at life and illness. The next week my husband was home, and the monotony of each day was broken by knowing he’d return home from work and break the silence.

At the time where I became restricted to the walls of my house, normality outside of my bubble was continuing as normal – busy working, socialising and going about their normal daily lives. For me, I had to start to adjust to life in there here and now. I’d been slowing down for months, I’d stopped doing food shopping and started getting it delivered, I’d cancelled on friends more times than I can count and I left the house pretty much only to go to and from work. My health in reflection had been declining for months, and I’d already started to self isolate because I had no energy to do anything else, I self isolated on weekends and after work, on holidays and days where the pain was too much- but when bed rest was ordered, even work had to stop (even now).

When you’re unable to socialise, you stop getting as many calls and texts; when you’re chronically ill people eventually stop checking in or tell you that you live your life selfishly, I’ve had both over the past few years. You become isolated from who you used to be, you become more introverted and more dependent on yourself; not because you want to, but because your energy and health demands that you have no other choice.

If you’re chronically ill, it may be that you are housebound and only leave the house when necessary, you can’t get out to the shops or if you can it’s only for essentials, you are used to seeing no one for days, weeks or months on end, you can’t work or need to work reduced hours, you make meals out of whatever you have in (always). This has been my reality for a long time, whilst the rest of the world carried on as normal – no one really gave a thought for the chronically ill, disabled or elderly and their needs.

Covid-19 forced the UK into their homes, instructed social distancing and not to leave their house unless essential or to exercise. In the blink of an eye, the normality of the UK changed to my reality, the only difference being the world around me reacted accordingly (which was amazing to see). Shops introduced hours for the vulnerable (whilst removing vital things like food deliveries for anyone outside the classification of “vulnerable”), mental health wellbeing- due to isolation has exploded online with tips and tricks and loads of people have introduced platforms to help with physical well being whilst housebound. Amazing tools are now available from wide sources, which is incredible, but does leave me questioning why such tools never previously existed for the thousands of people housebound pre Covid-19. The world has highlighted the need for good hygiene and limiting the spread of disease, things that ordinarily chronically ill people do on a day to day as they can be at more risk of picking things up.

I always say, you don’t get chronic illness – until you get a chronic illness; but the world has been given an exclusive glimpse into the everyday life of those who are housebound, it most certainly isn’t all fun and games and sitting around all day doing nothing. It’s developing routine, living one day to the next, learning to occupy your mind so it doesn’t occupy you. It’s learning to live a restricted life filled with boundaries, it’s not seeing your friends or family whenever you want to, it’s not being able to work, its not being able to just pop the shops to get a bar a chocolate…it’s life changing!

I appreciate we are all experiencing very uncertain times, but there is a glorious light at the end of the tunnel in which Covid-19 won’t be dominating our planet and restrictions will eventually loosen; but for the chronically ill, disabled and elderly – there isn’t the same light at the end of the tunnel. For some of us, it is as if life hasn’t changed that much at all, other than increase of anxiety/ fear and all medical appointments being cancelled for thee foreseeable future. As my close family are key workers, I worry for them and appreciate them so much more when they walk through the front door.

My heart is with everyone impacted by these times, but this too shall pass. And when it does I do hope the world is changed positively by this, that people realise the impact of isolation, of being housebound and living with limitations in place. I hope that the world has more insight into how difficult life in isolation really is and become more considerate, kinder and thoughtful.

Please all keep as safe as possible!

Color Blocks Stop The Spread Facebook Post

xox

chronic illness covid_19 self isolation wellness

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: