Ok… so I have been feeling this way for a while and thinking about writing this post for almost as long. But it’s a scary thing to admit isn’t it – that you feel a bit lonely!
So as many of you know, at the beginning of 2016 my marriage broke down and it was only three months later I was having emergency surgery and was in hospital for a month. I had moved to Essex to live with my ex and so was almost three hours away from my family during this time, which was pretty awful.
I had decided to stay in Essex to try and maintain some sense of stability for the boys but found it increasingly difficult. So I took the decision to come back to Derby in November of that year. Since then, a lot has changed and there have been many ups and downs.
During the time in hospital I couldn’t have been more grateful for the support I received from the online IBD community. I had friends visiting, people always ready at the touch of a button to chat to and message. Social media was my saviour. Going through such major surgery and having that support from people who understood me was the best thing I could have hoped for and for that, I will be forever grateful to social media and the good it can do.
I have recently been listening to the podcast ‘What I’d Wish I’d Known…’ by three (well two and a half) 30 something Instagrammers who chat about all things life! I am really enjoying catching up on all the episodes and on Saturday I listened to the one about social media and it really made me sit up and listen. They gave some really great insight and advice. Many people like to curse social media for all its faults and the issues it causes – which it can do – but as I said, I have also found it to be an amazing place and have met so many amazing people and friends on it too.
These ladies pretty much said a similar thing to me – it is good and bad but learning to navigate social media is a skill we can all learn and will need to for the future as it isn’t going away any time soon! But it was one comment that really struck me as it matched up to how I have been feeling lately. They talked about how social media is not really a substitute for real, face to face relationships. And it isn’t.
Since moving back to Derby, although I am surrounded by family which is amazing but I have few friends I see regularly. I don’t do a school run anymore so there is no chance to meet other mums at the school gate – one thing kids are great for! I am currently unable to work due to my health, so have no colleagues. Even my university degree course is online!
The thing is, how do you find and make friends as an adult?!
I know I could probably push myself more in some social situations and my anxiety does cause me issues with this. My anxiety makes me feel like people won’t like me, so I generally shy away in fear of being rejected. I am not generally a shy person – once I am comfortable you will find you can’t shut me up, it is often just about taking that first step.
So what am I going to do about it? Well I have recently taken the step of joining my local Young IA (Ileostomy Association) Support Group. I hope to be able to meet people who live close by who have things in common and understand about my life as a spoonie. I am also planning on joining the committee so I can help out and get involved with supporting others which I am really passionate about. I am really lucky to have met two lovely ladies already involved with running the group – Clare and Brigitte – who are ‘taking me under their wing’ and helping me find my feet.
I am also looking to start going back to the library and even looking for local co-working spaces that I can go to to study and write my blog posts so it isn’t all me, sat alone at home.
Although I hope there aren’t many feeling the same way as me, I know this will strike a chord with some of you as it isn’t just a spoonie thing, or a mum thing. If you have felt like this and made steps forward, please let us know in the comments what has worked for you – I am sure people reading will appreciate the advice as well as me. Ans remember my inbox is always open for a chat, there is a contact box at the bottom of the About Me & Contact info page for if you would like to email me.
The ladies on the podcast I mentioned earlier always give out a warning about not being trained or experts, they just talk from their life experience and they always say that one thing they have all realised is that sharing our own stories and what has helped us, helps others. That is definitely one of my whys- Why I Blog. So although admitting this ‘out loud’ is hard I also know, there will be some of you feeling the same and if we can start a conversation about it, maybe we can turn these feelings around for some of us!