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.
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 #stayhomeTweet
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 #autoimmunediseaseTweet
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 #IhearyouTweet