Self-Isolating in Mental Illness, Chronic Illness, Chronic Pain, Invisible Illness

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

These are things that concern me because the people who are enduring these things are not getting enough support. The lack of people supporting  you…or even believing you …causes retraumatization.

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..

…they 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.  That is one of the reasons that people with invisible illness and invisible suffering turn to the world of blogging.  We have to be able to talk and to connect with someone.

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.

At some point, the world appears to be a dark and dangerous place to interact with people in, 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. 

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.

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.

On good days, I can go to places like a museum or a farmers market and interact with people that I see.

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.

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. 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

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