Invisible Illness and Isolation

Invisible suffering..Invisible illness…Invisible pain…Chronic illness….Mental suffering…Domestic abuse…Mental abuse..Narcissistic Victim Abuse Syndrome…PTSD…Chronic Pain…

These are all real illnesses and disorders, that other people cannot see. It can be hard for other people to understand what it is like for you. The lack of people supporting  you…or even believing you …causes re-traumatization.

There is the initial trauma of the illness, pain, or abuse and then there is a whole new kind of painful suffering caused by what happens next.

People do not see your suffering and so..

…some people do not believe you at all..

…they do not believe that it is that bad..

…they think you can just “shake it off”…

…they do not believe that you cannot do the things that they can easily do.

…they think you are lazy…

…they think you are a big baby…

..they  think you should have gotten better by now..

…they forget that you “still have” that invisible illness…

…they get tired of hearing the same things…

..they lose patience with you..

…you do not want to tell people..

…you lose friends…

..You self isolate…

Yes, that is often what ends up happening. Self isolating can be a relief from dealing with interactions with people. Over time the isolation can cause worse depression. 

The only people who really understand are people who have been through it or are going through it. 

The isolating process can begin with other people giving up on you, getting tired of you, or not wanting to listen to you anymore. You lose one ot two friends and family members. The you are afraid to lose the rest of them. 

You do not actively go out and seek new people because you fear the pain of rejection from them. “Why should you put yourself through this again”….is what your brain is saying.

The isolating can begin with ourselves, because it is too much effort or too painful to interact with other people, especially if they do not believe or understand what we are going through.

The retraumatization can be severe. When people just simply do not believe you or think you are exaggerating, that is one of the worst things you can go through.

Then, of course,  there are people who are predators, and they prey on the weak ones, who are desperate for understanding and companionship. If you have been set up and abused, because of your invisible condition, then it is very difficult to trust people again…or to trust your own judgement of who is safe and who is not.

We can also be retraumatized by bad therapists, counselors and insensitive doctors and nurses. I have heard horror stories of what people have gone through at treatment facilities, rehab facilities and emergency rooms. I have also experienced insensitive therapists and healthcare workers.

So where does this leave us? In pain…suffering…in need of human compassion…and isolated…

Some people physically isolate themselves in their homes. Other people build walls up around themselves and self isolate by disconnecting from other humans emotionally.

We can be around people all day long, yet be completely alone.

Some people cannot leave their house or apartment.

Other people just leave the house to go to work, and do necessary errands, and then self isolate themselves in their house, the rest of the time. This would be me…

When you have reached your limit of being traumatized and re-traumatized, then your mammalian instinct of self protection is going to kick in. Your brain wants to protect itself from any more trauma and abuse.

Sometimes the world appears to be a dark and dangerous place.   Interact with people is just a risk of being injured, when you are suffering from an invisible enemy.

No one can see your enemy and therefore it feels like you are fighting alone.

You energy is going into fighting against your invisible illness, mental illness, or trauma from abuse. You do not have a whole lot of energy left for reaching out to people who might end up hurting you. You do not have a lot of energy to explain and re-explain to people about your invisible illness.

You do not have energy to make new friends, knowing that at some point you have to explain to them about your invisible enemy. There is no guarantee they will understand you or stick around once they find out, anyway.

Your energy is focused on survival. Your little bit of energy that is left, is focused on just getting through one day at a time. Relationships take time and energy and after a while it can seem like there simply is not enough energy to go around.

I do not have any simple answer for this problem. I wanted to at least validate the people who are nodding their heads up and down, as they are reading this.

You are not alone, in being alone. You may be alone in your house at this moment, feeling isolated and different than everyone else. But there are other people who feel the same way.

The isolating is a normal reaction to being traumatized, suffering mental wounds and suffering pain of any kind. It is an instinct to survive be separating from potential danger.

It is also an instinct to preserve whatever energy is left, in order to use to heal and survive.

If there is any approach to this problem that could work, it would lie in the matter of balance. We have to constantly balance the various aspects of our lives. Find new methodologies for healing and for dealing with stress.

We cannot have the same amount of energy every day. Some days we feel better than other days.

On our better days, we can try to reach out a little bit. Go somewhere with people or call someone on the phone. Text someone or send and email. Whatever is in your comfort zone for that particular day.

There will be days when interacting with others is impossible. But some days we might be able to reach out, just a little bit.

Do what you can and take advantage of any days that are kind of good. If you cannot go out, then try to find people online to connect with.

Who you should reach out to and talk to, depends on what is good for you. Some of you have friends that you can all on the phone. Some people would be able to go out to a place where there are strangers and interact a little bit with them.

Another way to get some compassionate human interaction, is to do some volunteer work. Nursing homes will often let you come and visit.

You may have to set things up, to be a volunteer ahead of time. The people you visit at places like this, will not judge you in the same ways that you are afraid of your friends or family judging you.

Going out of the house depends on your condition. Some people are completely housebound. Reaching out to those people can be a way of helping yourself too. 

Animals are also great. Pets are good companions. As you know, if you read my blog, I get great joy and comfort from my bunny. I also like to go to places with a animals.  There is a place called Sun High Orchard, near my house. They have bunnies and sheep that you can pet and feed.

Sometimes you can go to speciality stores where the people will talk with you. Some places like that would be: comic book stores, craft stores, tattoo parlors, hobby shops and book stores. Any place where people gather, that have a similar interest.

It is okay to self isolate to a point.  Sometimes we need to self isolate for a while to heal our brains. But if the isolation is becoming a problem for you, then do a little bit of interacting on the good days and just rest in bed on the harder days. Balance is the key to most problems in life.

We are supportive of each other here and WordPress has been a blessing for me. I love hearing from the people that follow my blog and I consider the interactions meaningful.

Blessings to all,

Annie

turkey 22

It is important to take some time for yourself. The hustle and bustle can make you focus on others and forget about yourself.
Can you think of something to do for yourself that will make your day a little easier or a little better?
You might take a short walk, watch some funny YouTube videos, make a phone call to someone you love to talk to…or….what can you do to take care of yourself today?

…If you are struggling with an invisible illness like chronic pain, depression, chronic illness, PTSD from domestic abuse, or anything that makes you feel isolated from other people, you need support. 

If you are feeling alone, the holidays can be very hard. Many people get more depressed during the holidays. Since this is the beginning of the holiday season, let us begin it together. 

Stay in touch here today and don’t feel alone. 

Thanksgiving Blog Meet-Up for My Followers

I am thinking of doing something on the holidays,  here on the blog, for people who find the holidays difficult.

There are many people who read my blog who need some extra support to get through the holidays.

I have seen other bloggers do blog parties where people connect through their blog throughout the day. I was thinking of a “holiday connection day” kind of idea…not so much a party but more like a get-together.

I have nevet done this kind of thing before so if you have any ideas let me know in the comments below.

I want people to have somewhere to connect with me and with each other, in order to be able to talk to other people who understand how difficult the holidays can be.

 

 

 

 

 

Osteoarthritis in the Morning , Chronic Pain , Fibromyalgia, Arthritis and Yoga

Osteoarthritis in the morning.

I saw this search term in my stats page. I decided to write a post about this, because there are other people seeking some validation that they are not the only ones who go through this.

Osteoarthritis is a disease that attacks the joints in the body. It creates inflammation,  which is extremely painful. From my personal experience, the pain is most disabling in the morning. 

When i wake up in the morning, I am afraid to  move.   There is extreme pain upon starting to move my body in the morning. Pain screams from my cervical spine, my lower back, and my shoulders. 

Slowly, I turn myself to the side. I very slowly draw my legs out of the bed and over the edge. Sitting up is difficult, due to the severe stiffness in the body that does not want to  move.

I have to sit for a minute first and I try to do some very slow movements with my neck. I slowly lower my chin towards my chest. I very  very slowly roll my head to the right side and then back to the front again. Then to the left side and back to the front again.

The neck has to move in order to reduce the stiffness and the searing pain coming from my herniated discs. After a few of these, I do complete neck rolls, very slowly all the way around. One way and then the other.

By this time, my bladder is calling to me, so I have to find a way to stand up, in spite of the pain. I have to reach for furniture to hold onto

 I recently got a cane and that was a very good idea. It helps for me to make it ti the bathroom in the morning, without falling.

There have been many times, when I stood onto my feet in the morning, that I actually collapsed into the wall or other furniture, because it was so painful to stand and put pressure on the joints. 

All of the muscles are stiff and reacting to the inflammation in the bones. The bones make creaking noises as they move, The knees sound like rice crispies when you straighten and bend them.

The pain sears in  my foot, with has arthritis and PTTD, which is a kind of tendonitis that deforms and alters the way the foot can stand and hole weight.

I grab my cane for dear life as I make my way to the bathroom. My bathroom is in a dangerous place for me, as far as mornings go. It is right at the top of a huge flight of stairs. As I approach the stairs, from the hallway that leads to them, I feel the fear of falling down them.

It would be easy to lose my balance and fall. I lean into the wall as far as it goes, until there is no more wall there to lean on.

Then I balance myself on my cane and get  to the door of the bathroom. I grab the door knob for balance and open the door. Every morning I make it to the bathroom, I am thankful for not falling down the stairs today.

Then I have to make my way back, with pain searing through my back, my knees , my hips and the balance being very difficult with my bad foot.

 I make my way back to the bedroom. I struggle to get pain med bottles out of the cabinet and open one. I consider what combination might work today

 I take two or three different types of pills, One for inflammation,  Maybe a half of one of the nerve pain meds.  Sometimes a muscle relaxer, but I like to  wait to take that one, because it can make me sleepy.

I lay in the bed and wait for the meds to kick in. After an hour , I asses if they are working well enough and whether or not I need to take another anti-inflammatory pill or if I need the muscle relaxer.

I try to take the minimum that will work, because I need to be able to function to take care of my kids.

I cannot go anywhere for hours, as far as leaving the house. The times that I had to leave within the first hour, were stories of extreme difficulty and probably unsafe driving, due to the pain level.

After the meds kick in a little, I have to walk around slowly and try to do some yoga stretches. I will tell you that yoga stretches can do wonders, once you can move at all.

Here are the Yoga Stretches I Do

1. Mountain pose – standing upright

2. Slowly reach down towards my toes – I repeat this several times. Each time I can get down a little farther

3. squat with feet between hands

4. Cobra – lay flat on stomach on the floor. Press hands to the floor and push with your hands to stretch up the head and upper back, while leaving the hip bones on the floor

5. repeat the cobra as many times as i can, very slowly

6. Twists  of the  hips –  lay on back, Bring knees up to chest. Take the knees to the right and your head and chest to the left. The bring the knees up to the chest and bring the knees to the left while the head and neck go to the right. This twist helps a lot for the lower back and the hips, where i have a lot of pain.

7. Warrior poses –  warrior pose 1 and warrior pose 2. I used to be able to do warrior pose 3, but it is too difficult for the morning. I cannot balance it.

These stretches help. You must do the slowly and with attention being paid to your body, in order to respect any limitation, which can vary from one day to the next.

Once i do the yoga, I sit in the bed and blog for a while, hoping for the pain meds to kick in more. On bad days I have to take more gabapentin (neurontin for nerve pain) or I have to take extra aleve, which I try to keep to a reasonable amount because it can cause other problems. 

Sometimes I have to take the muscle relaxer but I try the yoga first because the tizanidine can make me sleepy or sluggish.

I may make a video of my routine, although I am no expert on yoga. But I do know what helps me.

You can try ice on very painful areas. Ice helps to numb pain and reduce inflammation.

You can try heat, like a heating pad, or a rice bag in the microwave for 2 minutes. You can out regular dry rice into a sock. No more that 2 minutes in the microwave and better to do 1 minute and then 30 second increments.

Wishing you less pain,

Annie

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