Social isolation due to chronic illness
Having a chronic illness can make it challenging to have a social life. You may lack the energy and ability to go out and cultivate relationships with others. When you do make it out, it’s easy to feel like a burden, because you have special needs and requirements. If you have a physical disability, spending time with friends comes with additional challenges, as many places are not accessible.
Because your peers do not share your experience, you may feel alienated and alone. It is harder for healthy people to understand everything that is involved with chronic illness, and this often leads to feelings of disconnect.
This disconnect can multiply when friends do not invite you to join an activity because they assume you can’t handle it, or when friendships fade because people no longer know how to interact with you.
Braving the medical system can also feel overwhelming and alienating. For many people, when they need to seek medical attention for something serious, friends and family members rush to their side. When doctor and ER visits become a regular occurrence, however, friends may seem to stop caring enough to make the effort.
Therapy can help
People living with a chronic illness often feel that no one could possibly understand what they are going through. Therapy can help you feel heard and navigate feelings of alienation. As someone who suffers from a chronic illness myself, I understand and empathize with the physical, emotional, and social challenges involved. I can help you come up with practical coping strategies, which have proven effective based on my own experience and the experiences of my clients.
In addition to individual therapy, I run various online support groups for people living with chronic illnesses. Group therapy is an especially effective treatment for the feelings of alienation, loneliness, and social isolation due to chronic illness. In group therapy, my clients find that others experience many similar feelings and have many of the same thoughts and reactions. Through group therapy, you can learn and feel that you are not alone in your struggles.
There is no reason to suffer alone. To schedule a complimentary consultation, give me a call or just fill out the contact form and click Send.
If you haven’t already read the book, it’s a great place to start: Living With Chronic Illness Handbook.