Staying Connected when you’re Shut Off

What works best for staying social when you can't leave the house?

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Hi all. This is a topic which has literally been my life for the last few months. Although I’m normally quite travel restricted due to having seizures, since May this year I’ve been signed off work for kidney area pain which now requires three surgeries. This has left me unable to leave the house alone and largely stuck in bed. As you can imagine, this is lonely as heck and I know I’m not alone in the isolated feelings those with long term health conditions feel. To help this, I’ve been thinking of ways of staying connected whilst you can’t leave the house!

Social Media

Probably the most obvious here, but it’s invaluable to those stuck in the house. I don’t know how i’d maintain half my friendships without Facebook Messenger! My friends live all over the place and most work full time so getting hold of people can be tough. It’s cool that I can message anytime and people respond when they have time. Hearing their updates helps me feel less isolated and shut in my house. I also love social media groups, like a lot of the chronic illness ones on facebook- they remind me i’m not alone!

There are so many social media platforms for keeping connected and sharing your thoughts and activities with people all over the world. No matter how short or silly the conversations are, it’s an amazing, minimal energy way to feel you’re talking to people and keep checking in with your friends.

Online Gaming

Video games are the friend of many ill people due to the escapist nature of the stories and ability to play as strong, invincible characters. Multiplayer games let you play with your friends or random online people and give you the chance to socialise and/or make new friends.

Just recently, a group of friends and I have started a purely online D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) game which we’ll be playing through Skype. I have other friends who play in person and I can’t join in so this is perfect!

Phone Dates with Friends

It can be really disheartening to look at the week ahead and see no social plans pencilled in. I’ve found that planning a set time for a proper phone or Skype catch up with a friend can really help as it feels like an actual social plan and in a way helps you feel like you were worth someone’s time to schedule in.

I miss the times when I was a student and someone was always free for a chat. Now of course, all my friends (and I normally) work and it’s hard getting hold of people. Getting a set date in the diary to talk gives you both a chance to dedicate your time to each other and for those with chronic conditions, a chance to prepare mentally or physically.

Be Honest that You Need People to visit You

It can be tough to tell people how unwell you are. It’s easier to just kind of vanish into the background than be upfront. At the end of the day though, people aren’t psychic. They’re busy and may well not realise how unwell you are, or think that you want to be alone to deal with things. If you want company, try to be honest and let your friends know you’d like company but need to keep it casual and at your house. Give people the chance before you accidentally isolate yourself more!

Hope this way helpful, feel free to let me know any other useful tips for staying connected.

Laters, Ruthy xo

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