Loneliness and isolation are some of the biggest challenges during treatment and recovery.
Diagnosis, treatment and survivorship can each bring unique challenges. Feeling alone during challenging times can be one of the most difficult parts of living with a serious illness.
At certain points throughout your diagnosis and treatment, you may have been told that you must isolate yourself to stay safe and healthy. If your immune system is compromised, this is probably the advice you were given by your healthcare team. Since the beginning of COVID-19, isolation has become even more important.
Isolation is difficult. Often, being told you must isolate yourself or social distance sends the message that you are all alone. It's important to stay socially connected, while remaining physically distanced.
While isolating yourself physically is crucial at certain times, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually isolating yourself can be detrimental to your health. When human beings connect with one another, important hormones are released that help combat stress, anxiety and even depression.
It can also be difficult during periods of transition as you start those steps towards connecting again. This section talks about some of the emotions that can emerge and ways to cope.
“After my bone marrow transplant, I felt like my friends didn't know how to talk to me. It was like they thought all I would want to talk about was my disease or the transplant. In reality, I was dying to hear about the mundane drama of their lives! Who is dating who? What are everyone's plans for spring break? And so on… I just wanted to live vicariously through their normal lives for a few minutes to take my mind off of transplant. Once I told them that, we were able to have normal conversations again, and those FaceTime sessions became the highlight of my week!"