What COVID19 and Social Distancing have Returned to the Lives of the Chronically Ill

What COVID19 and Social Distancing have Returned to the Lives of the Chronically Ill

COVID19 and social distancing are changing everyone’s lives. Whether you are chronically ill, physically disabled, or a healthy individual, every single person has experienced a change. It’s not always easy to find a silver lining when dealing with a crisis, however, after being on a state-issued stay home lockdown since March 19th, I have recognized a few changes that are worth celebrating.

Sheryl’s prompts for April’s A Chronic Voice linkup are returning, understating, distancing, stressing, and celebrating. Follow along as I share something that Coronavirus and social distancing have returned to the lives of the chronically ill.

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COVID19 and Social Distancing are Returning Self-Respect

Living with a painful chronic illness like fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and endometriosis can take a huge emotional toll! One example is the loss of self-respect.

Every time my chronic illnesses forced me to cancel or reschedule plans, my self-respect took a hit. It didn’t matter that I knew my body needed to rest or heal. Doing what was necessary for preventing an increase of pain or injury never felt as important as the feelings of those I would let down.

Because of covid19 and social distancing
I no longer feel
guilty
for staying home ~The Disabled Diva Quote

Painful flares aren’t the only reasons that people chronic illnesses stay home. We actively avoid people who are sick to spare ourselves an extended hospital stay. For the chronically ill, a simple cold can quickly turn into a life-threatening illness. The sad part is that it still doesn’t reduce the guilt we feel when we have to cancel or decline an invitation.

Because of COVID19, the world now knows the importance of taking action in hopes of avoiding illness. While the elderly and chronically ill are at a higher risk than the average person, this virus does not discriminate and can kill people of all ages no matter what their health status.

It does not bring me joy that the healthy and abled have a new founded understanding, but it does feel fantastic to stay home without feeling guilty.

Because of #COVID19 I no longer feel guilty for staying home #chronicillness #autoimmunedisease #highriskcovid19 #stayhome

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No Longer Understating the Importance of Self-Care

With so many people being ordered to stay home, the topic of self-care is becoming even more popular. They are also learning that self-care is more than bubble baths and manicures. Self-care also addresses emotional needs.

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During this time, many who live alone are experiencing the loneliness that the chronically ill know well. They are learning the importance of taking the best possible care of their bodies and minds. That self-care also includes taking precautions to prevent an injury that would put us in the hospital. It’s about modifying our lives to keep us as safe and healthy as possible.

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COVID19 and Social Distancing are Bringing People Closer

We have had the ability to socialize online for quite some time. However, it is not always considered when the chronically ill are unable to attend a gathering or family event.

Thanks to both COVID19 and social distancing, more friends and family of the chronically ill are socializing together without getting together.

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With limits on gatherings and the proximity of those in attendance, graduations, birthday celebrations, and for the first time in my lifetime Easter will not be the same. Some schools are postponing graduations or holding them online. Families are driving by and waving through windows or gathering online to celebrate birthdays and other family celebrations. Easter will not be spent in church or at grandma’s house, but we can and will celebrate online. Speaking of churches, pastors of small churches are leaving their comfort zones and leading worship online.

Because of covid19 and social distancing 
more people understand what it is like to  miss out on life's big moments because of an illness

I understand how heartbreaking it is to miss out on important life events. There have been many times throughout my chronic life that I was forced to miss out too. I hate that an illness or spread of a virus can take so much from us.

Because of #COVID19 more people understand what it is like to miss out on big moments because of an #illness #HighRiskCovid19 #autoimmunedisease

If you are new to missing out, you will not hear me say “Now you know how it feels.” Instead, I will offer you my condolences and help you find an alternative way of celebrating. Because if living with multiple chronic illnesses for over 20 years has taught me anything, it is how to think outside the box.

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Stressing About the Same Things

COVID19 and social distancing have given us a common worry. It’s no longer the chronically ill who stress out about catching a cold or virus. The healthy are just (or should be) as worried as we are.

Many are stressing over whether or not they will have enough toilet paper. Whether someone lives with chronic pain or not, going from one store to the next in search of a basic product puts everyone at a higher risk of being exposed to COVID19.

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Everyone is worried about their jobs. How long until those who are working become ill? Will those who were laid off have a job to return to?

Grocery shopping has become a scavenger hunt! I pick one store per week. Whatever is on their shelves that my family is able and willing to eat is what I bring home. Currently, my body does not have the energy to go to multiple stores, nor do I wish to further risk exposure to the virus. I can joke about my shopping haul, but it is not funny for those who follow strict diets because of health issues. I am thankful that I do not rely on dairy-free or gluten-free products and promise to leave them for those who do.

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A COVID19 and Social Distancing Change that is Worth Celebrating

Last but not least, I want to bring attention to something worth a huge celebration. Since the breakout of this virus, more and more chronic illness patients are speaking up!

Living with a chronic illness can be very lonely. Not every patient has found their tribe of people with similar illnesses and struggles. Some have feared speaking out about their illness because of how family and friends might react.

Because of COVID19  and social distancing more chronic illness patients are speaking up

More and more chronic illness patients are speaking up. They are sharing their fears, struggles, and victories! Now is our time to share our self-care expertise!

Did COVID19 prompt you to become vocal about your chronic life?

Because of #COVID19 more #chronicillness patients are speaking up! #highriskcovid19 #findyourvoice #Ihearyou

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22 thoughts on “What COVID19 and Social Distancing have Returned to the Lives of the Chronically Ill

  1. Hi Cynthia,

    It has been a while since I’ve stopped by. I’ve been here before through A Chronic Voice’s linkup party for April and I follow you on IG and Twitter. Anyways, I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your post this month and found it so positive. Being in Taiwan, I was wondering if I’d come across entries from Western countries that might be a little more upsetting to read, but this was a true pleasure. I agree with what you said. Family members and friends that didn’t take time to connect with me before are now reaching out. They now seem to have a firm grasp on what my life has been like for years. I’ve even had people ask how I’ve done this for so long. My reply is with love, art, cats, plants and an understanding partner! Take good care and be safe!

    • Thanks for popping in! I am so happy to hear that this experience has opened up communication and understanding with some of you family and friends! To me that is the best thing that could come out of all of this! Hugs!!!

  2. What a lovely and positive post despite the negativity and fear that the current situation is having on so many people. I agree that the current pademic is often showing the best side of humanity, and am touched by the number of good deeds, and hearing about people helping each other. Let’s hope it still continues after the lockdown has been lifted!

  3. This is a really positive post in the face of something so upsetting, thank you for sharing!

    My mum has fibromyalgia and other health conditions that mean she is now in 12 weeks of isolation. I think it is actually a good thing for her, since for the past year she has been busy helping to care for her brother and her dad, who have both now passed away. She can find time to properly grieve and rest her aching body.

    As for me, I have tried to speak up about my chronic pain condition for many years, but it falls on deaf ears to those that I really need to share it with. Because I appear to be physically fit, cheerful and capable, I am left to deal with the business of family life alone. I feel lonely now, despite having a fantastic network of close friends. But I have the tools to help myself, so it’s all good.

    • Sounds like this will be a good time for your mom to practice some self-care. I am so sorry that those who you need to understand the most aren’t listening. A little advice…. keep speaking up and share from your heart. Keeping quiet adds stress and as you know, stress increases pain. Hugs!!

  4. So much goodness in this post! I love the part about helping people think outside the box instead of saying “know you know how it feels.” And I love your take on what we have to celebrate out of this.

  5. Yes – totally a relief not to have to force myself to socialise, I’m with you there! Although rightly worried it’ll be a shock once we ‘have to start again…

    • To be honest, I worry about that it could be overwhelming too. But I also hope that our friends and family that didn’t take time to connect online before this will want to continue knowing we can’t always be physically available.

  6. Great post! I agree that so many people are now seeing things from a similar perspective. Stay safe 🙂

  7. My latest post is about how the MS Community are coming together in a way I have never known. I have also attended a online wedding and three online Church services which in normal times would never have been available, so if nothing else it is opening things and opportunities for us to thrive as Chronically Ill.

  8. I agree. People can relate to missing out on things and having to stay home when they don’t want to. But complete isolation for me isn’t healthy, necessary right now due to my health, but risky due to my depression… so I have to be careful to manage my mental health without the actual contact with others and all this Time Alone to ruminate and worry and stress.

    • Yes! Too much time to think. I broke my 3 year streak of no panic attacks this week. 😢 The longer this goes on, the more I worry about everyone’s mental health.

  9. I actually believe you’ve managed to put a positive spin on this horrid virus. I’m so used to being isolated and not being able to attend events and outings, I think it does give other’s food for thought. But once it’s over I doubt that any sympathy will last. Stay safe x

    • Lol, it’s a curse!! I can usually find something positive in almost any situation. 🤪 I agree that sympathy won’t last. Unless they were to experience the physical symptoms that prevent us from going out, they’ll never really get it. But for now they can at the very least understand the disappointment of missing out.

  10. You have made a wonderful case here and I appreciate both how candid and encouraging you are. There are always things we can celebrate. I love that we can use what we have learned the hard way to help others through this time. And, yes, I think it will grow a heart of compassion in those who are teachable to those of us who have to choose to stay at home more often than not. I hope you don’t mind, I said a prayer for your health 🙂

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