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Loneliness

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.

Woman sitting and posing

I feel lonely a lot of the time

This is for  a number of reasons:

  • I’m living through and with something that most of you have not experienced.
  • I’m not able to do the things I used to be able to do because I don’t have as much energy, I’m not well enough yet, and my immune system is compromised. 
  • Even when I am able to do things, I often have to do them in a limited or modified way.
  • Because my activities are limited, I don’t have a lot to talk about that’s not related to my disease. This makes small talk tricky, sometimes exhausting, and often makes me feel even more lonely.
  • I don’t really want to talk about my disease all the time...and at the same time it’s all I know and all I can think about.
  • Because I’m not in the hospital anymore, many people think I’m fine and a lot of the support and love and check-ins that I used to get have stopped happening.
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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:

Check In With Me!

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.

Step Into My Shoes

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.

Invite Me To Things.

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.

Include Me

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.

Tiny Visits

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.

Be Flexible and Understanding.

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!

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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. 

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