Stop Doing This Alone |Life and chronic illness

The science is there…

As humans we yearn for it…

Unhappy woman holding up hand to block face

Image source: David Castillo Dominici

“We are wired to connect”

So, what’s the initial response when you get sick and branded by chronic illness… you disconnect.

Epic social shutdown…

The first few years you’re trying to figure out how to manipulate your “new” body, forcing yourself daily to be “somewhat” present. You could care less about connecting with people.

A few years of being smothered by anger and depression, you’ve likely shut yourself off from social interaction.

If your illness has left you homebound, your exposure to social interaction is slim to non existent.

It’s not your fault! You’re confronting limitations and addressing health concerns.

But,  it’s important you understand that lack of social interaction is harmful to your health

Yes, isolation is harmful to your health!

While you’re in isolation mode, your social skills are not being challenged.

Remember what happened to Tom Hanks (Chuck Noland) in the movie Cast Away? His need to connect, and forced isolation, drove him to turn a volleyball into his best friend… AKA Wilson. (Heads up… I tried to watch the scene on YouTube, and I couldn’t get through it! Yikes… talk about movement. )

Instead, here’s the audio of Chuck Noland losing ” Wilson”…:

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Download the audio

For those that can handle movement in video:

Can you relate? Replace the word “Wilson” with (insert your name) “__________” . Talk about a lesson in letting go!

I lost it when “Wilson” get’s lost at sea! Terrible.

Eventually, like Noland, you’ll move through the grieving process and then what?

Rebuilding and reconnecting!

I hope you’re convinced or at least questioning the importance of connecting again.

No need to rush. Start out slow…

1. Consider joining a Facebook group and answering  a few Facebook posts . ( I’ve met AWESOME people through various Facebook groups, and even connected with a few people via Skype.)

2. How about listening in on a chronic illness support group call? Chronic Pain Anonymous is awesome. Here’s the link: http://www.chronicpainanonymous.org/services/phone-meetings/

Don’t be afraid to fail.

It’s been awkward trying to reconnect with people, especially from my past, but that won’t deter me, and it shouldn’t deter you!

Reconnect and rebuild… you’re worth it… your overall health depends on it!

Much love,
Marissa

PS: You need someone to connect with… I got your back. Shoot me a message via my contact form, or comment below. We got this!

Christmas Marathon Phone Meetings for Chronic Illness and Pain Sufferers

You may recall my time spent with June’s 12-12-12 project member Dale Lehn

Project member Dale

“I am a T-5 paraplegic and have been in a wheelchair since 2005. My paralysis is not due to an accident but from having a tumor growing inside my spinal cord.

“I soon found myself withdrawing from my family and friends.

The doctors said the only medication they could prescribe to “get rid of the pain” were narcotics based drugs. I wasn’t willing to go down this path. Over the course of several years, along with another man who had a similar issue with chronic pain we developed a way of living that gave us the tools to live a full and productive life even with chronic pain.”

Helping people learn to overcome the emotional debilitation and isolation of chronic pain and chronic illness is the fundamental work Chronic Pain Anonymous is doing.

Chronic Pain Anonymous logo

I have personally attended a few phone meetings through Chronic Pain Anonymous and found it extremely comforting. You become part of a fellowship that is supportive and most importantly understanding.

As I was going through my emails today, I came across the title… “Special Announcement – 4th Holiday Meeting

I opened the email to find a list of phone meetings that are going to be held on Christmas Day! A Christmas Marathon of Phone Meetings. A brilliant idea!

“Many people with chronic pain and chronic illness are home bound, either by choice or by medical need. During the holidays it is valuable for us to have an outlet to speak with others, especially those who understand what it is like to live with chronic illness or chronic pain.”

Isn’t that the truth! I spend the majority of my time at home. This is not by choice, but based on the limitations placed on me due to my medical condition. Lord willing, I am going to have the luxury of attending two holiday gatherings on Christmas Day. However, what if lived alone, a few hours away from my family? What if I lived by myself in another state? Most likely I would be spending the holidays alone!

I know first hand what living with a chronic illness can do to your mental health. I sympathize with how isolating a life of chronic illness creates. That is why I believe what Dale and Chronic Pain Anonymous are doing with the Christmas Marathon Phone Meetings is a blessing.

So here are the details of the email I received…

Holiday Phone Marathon

 Lutherville, MD… Chronic Pain Anonymous has announced a special phone marathon to take place on Christmas Day, December 25, 2012.

Here is the schedule for the day:

• The first meeting will begin at 1 PM EST to 2 PM EST. Fellowship to follow.

• Our regular Meeting is from 3 PM to 4 PM EST. Fellowship to follow

• Next meeting time will begin 5 PM to 6 PM EST. Fellowship to follow

• Last meeting time will begin 7 PM to 8 PM EST. Fellowship to follow

As we will know, many people with chronic pain and chronic illness are homebound. Either we are isolated by choice or by medical needs. During holidays it is valuable for us to have an outlet to speak with others, especially ones who understand what it is like to have our illness of chronic pain. The number to call is (213) 342-3090 and the access code is 1952435.

CPA has five regularly scheduled phone meetings, two Google Group internet meetings and 13 face-to-face meetings taking place in Canada and the United States. All current meetings can be found on our website.

Chronic Pain Anonymous is a Twelve Step fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problem and to help others recover from the disabling effects of chronic pain and chronic illness. The only requirement for membership in CPA is a desire to recover from the emotional, physical, and spiritual debilitation of chronic pain and chronic illness and a willingness to help others to do the same.

For more information, you are invited to learn about the program on the website: http://www.chronicpainanonymous.org. If you have any questions, contact Dale L. at dale@chronicpainanonymous.org or info@chronicpainanonymous.org

Much love,
Marissa

PS: Please promise me you will find fellowship on Christmas Day!  You don’t even have to speak if you don’t want to! Just listening in on the call will do you some good. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. The number to call is (213) 342-3090 and the access code is 1952435. If I could hug you, I WOULD!