When can't can'ts us out of life with chronic pain and chronic illness

I know isolation. I know hermiting. I know not doing anything because I was in pain and doing things would aggravate it. I know how this leads to can’t-ing ourselves right out of things we want to do… but don’t have the energy or feel it will trigger pain so we decide just not to do it. I’ve been there. And in the end, you just don’t do anything as a result.

We can't stop living with chronic pain

I do it. I think many of us do it. Here is the warning. I hermited for a few years. More than a few when my pain wasn’t being managed. And it isn’t good for a person, even an introvert. We need to get out and about once in a while and socialize.

So sometimes we have to get out of that comfort zone a little and find ways to engage more in the world.

Things I do:

  • Go for walks (get me out of the house)
  • Coffee with my mom
  • Coffee with an old co-worker
  • Game night with friends
  • Karaoke night (I am there for support… no one needs to hear me sing. lol)
  • Did a paint night one night. Going to try that again. It was a blast.
  • Getting together for dinner, or shopping with my mom
  • Family events
  • Fires pits gatherings at our house with friends and/or our neighbors.

This weekend I plan on going to a fire and BBQ with friends in the city. And next weekend at my uncle’s 50th-anniversary party event.

So in the beginning, I was doing nothing. What helped was a little pain management. Then some acceptance on top. This awareness I’ll be at pain at home as well. Pain either way. As long as I go prepared I can enjoy myself. And by enjoying myself I get rid of that sense of isolation and I boost my mood. I don’t need a lot of social contact being an introvert. Just a little and quality not quantity for me.

What I get from being social:

  • Decrease in isolation
  • Boost to mood
  • A great time and laughs
  • Visiting people I enjoy being around.
  • Doing things I enjoy
  • De-stressing
  • Taking my mind off things.

I started really slow. I was just initially going for coffee with mom every couple of weeks or so. Just to get out of the house, which was driving me stir crazy.  And slowly added into it from there. And going for walks, also to get me out of the house and my initial exercise program.

It depends on your pain, fatigue and comfort zone. It likewise depends on the activities. If someone invites me to a concert I’d Love to go, but I can’t. Migraines can’t handle the noise and lights. Just not something I can do. But a game night? Yes, I can do that. Or movie marathon. Or a small pub karaoke session, I can handle that. Going out for coffee or inviting someone to my place. Inviting a few people over for a fire at my place is also something mellow I enjoy. Going to a loud, packed bar or club? Nope. Tried that one night with a live band. Migraine in 2.5 seconds and it was a bad one, so off I went. So it depends on the activities to engage in. When to say no. What to suggest.

Also… means meeting new people. When you hermit for years? Not many people stick around, I’ll tell you that. We had to meet new people to hang out with. Two introverted people meeting new people? Hard stuff, man. But we did. Slowly but surely.

It was worth it to me. It was valuable to do. It made me feel connected and engaged with the world again.

Other posts on socializing:

Socializing: the one thing that helped me

Friendship and socializing

That socializing thing and the migraine zone

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

4 thoughts on “When ‘can’t’ can’ts us right out of life

  1. Yeah, me too, happened to me and my mood swings because of the pain and people not understanding did not help either. I got engrossed in breeding Russian Steppe Lemmings because it got me moving about, and, technically exercising, enhancing my co-ordination and time management because I had to manage their care.

    Granted it wasn’t outside!
    I was a hermit, I became a hermit, but was a busy hermit doing something I really enjoyed and the lemmings were adorable to have, as well as helping me with my pain management, and, pacing myself 🙂

    I went on to go back to Uni and got a Masters in Business Studies but my health went downhill again afterwards with serious fatigue, and, pain problems. Plus my hypermobility problems were causing me a lot of strife as well.

    I think the more we grow and move forwards we are always going to have a few setbacks, but when the setbacks happen over and over again it is easy to fall into the realms of depression, stress and social anxiety.

    Personally, I wasn’t definitively diagnosed with anything until 4-5 years ago which also didn’t help. Life was cruel then so I was having mental health help for chronic anxiety disorder, depression and stress. I even completed an Anxiety management course LOL and Pain Management.

    “Make your home a safe haven” is something that will forever stick with me because it transformed my strength enough for me to have my safe haven and lost friends because of it too. Lack of understanding caused a lot of problems for me because it became easier to avoid going to social gatherings where I knew these certain people would be. No-one understood why I did it so was labelled moody and anti-social, so the I thought if that’s what you think then ‘up yours matey’, I don’t need that negative vibe in my life anymore! I was rather viscious so I made many enemies. 😉

    Anyhoo! that safe haven became the only place I felt safe so I slowly became a hermit as a result and the added chronic pain and fatigue from chronic illness etc.

    Up until 4 years ago I didn’t have a support network or know many folk that were like me and riddled with the undiagnosed. Since I founded my support group my life suddenly changed because I founded it and had to run a monthly meeting where I’d be meeting complete strangers and my anxieities were roaring. Going outside terrified me and getting to the centre terrified me, the whole process terrified me and in some ways 3 years on it still does even though I’m meeting freinds and fellow Chronic illness warriors.

    Apologies for the epic lifestory but your post really hit home with me as it echoed a part of my life so I could feel those emotions again, however, I must say that I’m happy now for the first time in over a decade and love what I do,(just in case I come across as whingeing). I can now manage the anxieties and go outside and do things… not on my own though! 😀 A huge improvement but I don’t thnk I’ll ever be the same person again, but I am positively moving forwards and looking back anymore 🙂

    I like the idea of #doingitforme what do you think?

    Wishing you wellness and less pain as always Nikki

    Carole Sian Xx 🙂


    1. Yes, #doingitforme is a great hasgtag! Thank you for your comment and remarks. It is so difficult for us to get out of the isolation, depression and hermit mode once we are in it. Well, I found depression itself wasn’t exactly something that encouraged me getting out and about for sure. It was such a slow process. And we do become aware that it could happen again just due to the same issues. A real life support group is a great way to get out of that hermit mode. I was thinking of doing that myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Go for it, I have found that it can be challenging at times, I admit, but meeting new people is fantastic!
        It’s fabulous when you know that they understand you so you don’t have to try to hard to explain your problems 🙂
        When one of us needs help we connect online and arrange to meet, hence why FibroFlutters is across so many social media platforms LOL 😉 Not everyone is on FB or Twitter for instance and many of us often can’t leave the house so I set it up that everyone could stay connected to our group somehow. Especially useful in times of emergency!

        I met some fantastic fellow warriors along the way too 🙂

        If you’re fancying a new challenge or project I think it’s worth considering, t also gives you a sense of satisfaction for helping others too. For me giving something back to the community.

        Anyhoo, I’m interested to hear about it if you choose to do it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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