Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

The Lonely Patient

I’m always looking to broaden my understanding of life in general, but more specifically the impact that illness has on our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.  There are so many facets to these questions but one issue seems to cross all boundaries and that has to do with the loneliness or isolation many people feel following and illness diagnosis.  Many feel an emotional exile because they are misunderstood and trying to understand all angles of a diagnosis can be overwhelming.

Jeanne Achterberg recorded “Intentional Healing” a very good resource for those who are looking to connect consciousness and health.  In the audio she references Albert Schweitzer.  She quotes him as saying, “There’s a sleeping sickness of the soul”.  It’s during these sleeping episodes (which by the way aren’t real sleep, but metaphorical sleep) that people feel disengaged, lack of zest or enthusiasm and signs of indifference.  You may be reading these qualities and think the person is depressed, but when you look beyond the psychological and expand the idea to the spiritual there is an expanded understanding of consciousness and how the patient engages with life.

It’s as if a part of the person’s soul has been extracted from their bodies.  That might work well when trying to remove a tumor but what if something besides just an organ is removed?  What if non-surgically a person’s self-awareness, self-worth, and self-esteem goes dormant?  I’m not talking about an emotional or spiritual hibernation, but a disconnect so great that each of us may not recognize that part of ourselves if we met it on the street.

This loneliness is why those facing a health challenge need to reach out.  They need to create a lifeline.  It’s critical to wellness and frankly to one’s sanity to be connected to the world in which you live.  I don’t think you can wait for someone to reach out a hand to save you because it could be too late, so take the first step for eliminating the loneliness of illness.  Try a support group, go online and join a forum, get involved in a hobby, but whatever you choose make sure it’s something where you feel connected to others.

How do you combat loneliness?  What have you done to maintain connection in your own life?