I've just been watching BBC news and one of their top stories was about elderly people being vulnerable to lonliness. That loneliness can be as dangerous as smoking and drinking. The news piece for me was actually quite difficult to watch, of course not just from the prospective of our elders being lonley but for those of us suffering from chronic pain and chronic illnesses too.
Since I've been back from my holiday I have been taking caution. Knowing that my body is suffering from the travel and not wanting to push it too much so that I end up feeling worse. Of course I knew that this is what I would have to do. Because I have been resting and taking care I haven't felt too bad. Stupidly I ran out of tramadol last Friday and hadn't realised until then, so I had to suffer the weekend without any. And indeed I did suffer. My fibromyalgia pains have flared again, where just the slightest touch has caused a crazy amount of pain and even tapping the screen on my touch screen phone was painful, as well as holding my phone.
But mainly since I have been back I have felt really sad and somewhat lonely. On holiday I was conversing with different people everyday. Okay, I wasn't out and about much but I was 'out' every day. It helped that I knew the family that owned the hotel where we stayed and the family that owned the restaurant where we eat every night, so there was always friendly conversation and lots of laughter. I've also been learning Greek to be able to talk more with them, even though they speak perfect English. On holiday I spoke to people of all ages, from a couple in their 70s to a cheeky Greek 2 year old. People that I had met last year and people that I simply met sitting around the pool or in the hotel bar. Just striking up conversations about a book they had read or the pool gossip was mostly about some noisy guests.
I don't know if the change has made me feel worse but I definitely have not been feeling too chipper. This is why I am grateful to have my wheelchair because it means that on better days I can get out. I don't have to be stuck inside. Of course it can make you feel self conscious. You wonder what people are thinking. Still though the type of getting out that is done with a chronic illness is not always conducive to being that sociable. For me it is usually to get something from the shops. Or to socialize with family. I very rarely meet new people.
Again I think it is the emotional and psychological side or outcomes of being chronically ill that can be the worst to deal with. You can't take a tablet for feeling lonely as you can for pain. Yes, there are anti depressants but they don't stop you feeling like you're missing out. The easy solution that you would say to someone would be to just get out. Join a club. Go Salsa dancing as it were. But when you can't always guarantee that you can get out it's so difficult. Even talking at length can be tiring for many of us. There are many ME support groups but somehow I feel that you need something that is away from your illness. You want to be surrounded by people that understand the difficulties you face but not constantly be reminded that you are unwell. Such a catch 22.
One thing I will say is that I have met some wonderful people on Twitter that also have ME. It's nice to be able to talk to people that understand and give and recieve support. It has certainly been a lifeline. Perhaps I need to look into more things that I could do. When I'm feeling a bit more with it though and can do a bit more than blog, read and watch tv.