Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cabin Fever

I love our home, which is off the beaten path.  The acreage gives us privacy, and being surrounded by forest is very peaceful.  A creek meanders through the woods along the edge of the back yard, where daytime brings all sorts of birds, from bald eagles to chick-a-dees.  When darkness falls, coyotes gather to yip and bark, keeping me company when I can't sleep.  All in all, it's a good place to be stuck, and since I'm too ill to get out much, stuck I am.

I have had ME for 26 years, but am one of the lucky ones who recovered enough to lead a (more or less) normal life for much of that time.  Up until 2 years ago, that is, when I suffered a relapse from which I have not recovered.

While I'm very grateful not to be bed-bound with this illness, being housebound has given me a bad case of cabin fever.  To heck with the woods and the birdies - I want to get out amongst people!!!  I want to be able to do normal people things, like go to the bank or the post office, without having to stop and think about whether I am up to it, or if it will make me feel worse.  It's not that I love going to the bank or the post office all that much (who does?) it's the face-time with other people that I crave.  Just exchanging pleasantries with the grocery store clerk makes me feel more human, more normal.  It gives me a high.

The illness itself is bad, (for the more severely affected it is hideous) and the resulting isolation just makes things worse.  I have often heard from others with ME "If not for my online friends, I would surely go insane!", and it's true!  Those friendships are invaluable, and help us feel connected.  Online conversations often lead to wishes like "someday, when we are well, we'll get together for a nice cup of tea and a chat".  Face to face, in the same room...that would feel so good! So many times we want those distant friends to be "present" friends.  People are meant to be with other people, and that's something this illness takes away from us.  It hurts.

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