One of the biggest challenges for those facing an illness either on the patient side or the caregiver side are the feelings of isolation. It’s difficult when most of your contacts, friends and family, have had no or very little experience with illness. You look for a sympathetic ear and although they mean well you probably know the blank stares that come your way.
During the day it’s easy to create diversions because there is so much to do. It’s once the sun goes down and the world gets smaller that the sense of isolation increases. For the patient and caregiver, trying to support one another isn’t helpful because you’re both fighting the same demon. You try and remember what it was like prior to the illness and although your activities may not have been any different, like sitting in front the of the television, the implications of your new circumstance ring loud like bells in church steeples.
It’s important that you each set up some type of communication plan. Care groups form to help ease the experience by cooking meals, driving the patient to an appointment or by picking up the phone and making human contact. I know that sleep patterns are often not usual so what do you do when it’s the middle of the night, you look out your window and every light on your block is out. Remember that with technology there is always a part of the world that is awake. Illness and caregiving is a universal experience. There are both those who can’t sleep who you can communicate with online and those halfway around the world who are dealing with the day-to-day challenges of facing illness.
Don’t let isolation get the best of you. Come up with solutions to create a strong community and make sure that you utilize the resources that are provided to you (both of you). What do you do to tackle those sleepless nights? Let’s share so that we make the world less of a lonely place.