Social Isolation Because of Chronic Pain

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide
  • Today I find myself thinking about how easy it is for those of us with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or any other chronic pain illness to become virtual hermits––to isolate ourselves from the “normal” world around us.  What triggered these somber thoughts?  To answer that, I’ll have to go back in time.

    Throughout high school, I had three close friends.  We were known as the Four Musketeers.  (I know, not very original.)  Every month we had slumber party, rotating through each of our houses.  After we graduated, we scattered across the country––going to different colleges, getting married and moving away. Occasionally two or three of us would manage to get together, but the four of us have not been together for more than 20 years––until now.  This weekend all four of us are getting together and recreating one of our infamous slumber parties.  We’re all so excited, we feel like kids again.  
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    How did this upcoming reunion get me to thinking about isolation?   It started when I found myself telling the girls that I might not be able to make plans with them for Saturday afternoon––it would depend on how I feel.  Since we’ve got plans for both Friday and Saturday nights, I may need to rest Saturday afternoon.  

    I began to think about how often I avoid making plans because I hate having to cancel at the last minute.  Or I can’t plan more than one or two out-of-the-house activities a week because they leave me so drained I’m not able to work.  (Thankfully, at least I work from home.)  It’s just easier not to plan anything.  I’ve become the old lady who lives alone with her cats!  

    For now, my once or twice-a-week activity schedule works well for me.  Sometimes I wonder how much I’m missing by not being out there more.  But then I’ll try being more active for a week or two and I find myself overwhelmed and exhausted.  Since I’m actually quite happy with my life as it is right now, I think I’ll leave well enough alone.  And although I may pay next week for my activity-filled weekend, I wouldn’t miss our reunion of the Four Musketeers for anything!
     
Published On: June 19, 2007