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Friday, 27 September 2019

Taboo talk: The crippling loneliness chronic illness causes in your early 20’s


It creeps up slowly, dangerously slowly in fact, so much so that you really don’t even recognise the signs yourself. 


One bad day turns into a bad week, and then one bad week turns into one absolutely horrendous month, and yep you’ve guessed it, that one awful month then turns into six. With each day that passes you sink further and further, it completely takes over your personality, and before you know it you’ve turned into a complete stranger. 
And that’s depression and loneliness caused by chronic illness, it slowly suffocates you... 

It’s being out surrounded by your family who are laughing whilst in that very moment you feel incredibly alone. It’s that sharp pang of devastation when you’re watching your old school mates function so seamlessly, whilst you’re trapped in an unreliable body, silently screaming and fighting to be let out. It’s listening to your best friend talking about bagging an amazing new job, whilst you try to hold back the gut wrenching tears of absolute envy. 

To put it bluntly: time does not stand still, and life doesn’t just simply pause because we’re battling a chronic illness each and everyday. Family and friends inevitably move on without us, leaving us with no other choice but to watch them thrive, whilst we try to survive

Now, I beg that you please understand that the level of envy we feel when we see others healthy and achieving isn’t because we aren’t happy for them, because we really, truly are thrilled and so proud. It’s just...we’re secretly grieving. Grieving for a life that we know we should be living too, which is why it’s so soul destroying to have to miss out. 

The isolation chronic illness forces you into is downright plain cruel; the long days spent staring at the wall in silence, unable to move, the exciting plans we’re forced to miss out on with our friends- they all hurt. 

Loneliness completely engulfs you the more time ticks on, and even though friends try to understand and listen, they can’t possibly 100% understand how our biggest achievement most days is simply going in the shower, or brushing our teeth. Small everyday tasks are a HUGE WIN to us. 

You see, this then causes the feeling of complete loneliness to intensify, and that’s the cruelest thing about it. 

And that’s exactly what’s wrong; most people never mention how they really feel (never 100% anyway) they hold it inside. They’re sad, but they don’t cry in front of others. They’re angry, but they don’t scream. I guess it’s petrifying to share our very brutal feelings, but we shouldn’t be ashamed of being a normal human being with overwhelming thoughts and feelings.



I personally refused to believe that I was lonely for years because I felt embarrassed... ashamed and weak almost. I shouldn’t be feeling so lonely in my early twenties, I thought to myself, how embarrassing when you’re young and should make your entire being about socialising. 

I allowed my feelings of isolation to bubble inside of me and harm me like a potent poison. Day by day, week by week. 

Truth is, loneliness can hit at any age which is why I so desperately wanted to share my insight. It almost seems like a bit of a taboo, I’ve not once came across this topic being discussed amongst other twenty something year olds. But maybe, just maybe if more people did express these feelings, the less this would be such a huge problem amongst chronic illness fighters. 

So when your friend doesn’t answer your calls/texts and you pass it off as being rude, they could actually be feeling broken at that VERY moment, feeling a complete burden to others. Or when they decline meeting up for the third time this month just stop in your tracks and make time to check that they’re okay, really truly okay... you never know you might just change a life. 

Oh, and one last thing: to any of you out there reading this feeling exactly the same way and in need of a good cry, PLEASE do send me a little message because nobody deserves to feel alone. 

“We sometimes think we want to disappear, but all we really want is to be found.”


You can also read my other blogpost on chronic illness here.
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