You likely know about some of the side effects of my diagnosis and treatment, but one that you might not realize, and that is hard for me to talk about, is loneliness.
This is for a number of reasons:
I don’t say any of this to make you feel sorry for me, but instead to explain how I’m feeling and to ask for some understanding and support. Just giving you a peek at my reality is hard but also really important to me. I also want to tell you some possible ways you can help:
Send me a text or call me on your lunch break or send me a card in the mail. Little things like that can make a huge difference in my day! Realize that I appreciate them even if I don’t always have the energy to say so. Ending texts with “No need to reply,” also takes the pressure off and helps me to receive support without guilt.
Remember how it felt to be stuck in your house during COVID-19? That’s how I feel most of the time. Even though you can’t fully step into my shoes, being sheltered in place gave you a bit of a look at what my reality is often like. Remember that even when you’re back in the world, I still won’t be.
Even if there’s a good chance I may not be able to attend, I still want to be invited. It’s lonely to not be able to go, but it’s even lonelier to be excluded altogether.
Making dinner? Call me online so we can chat while you cook. Netflix has a Watch Party feature. Schedule a time for us to binge our favorite shows together. Invite me to join you when you’re online gaming.
I may not be able to spend a whole afternoon out, but I would love to sit on the front steps for fifteen minutes with you.
Know that I can never predict how I might feel in ten minutes, let alone next week. Please understand and try again if I need to cancel or I don’t answer the phone. Don’t stop trying. These connections are important to me!
Loneliness is just one of the many side effects I deal with each day, but it’s a big one and one you can help ease. Thank you for supporting me in all the ways. This road is hard, but it’s easier with help from you.