Isolation and Connecting to Groups
When we are diagnosed with COPD, most of us hold onto the thought that we can continue the path of our past lives as if nothing has changed. However, a lot has changed, and our lives will likely never be quite the same.
Friends and some family have simply gone by the wayside. I just couldn’t keep up with their social lives, and they were not willing to conform to mine. It took twice as long for me to 'get up and go.' Mornings are a ‘no-go’ now, and I had to be home before my supplemental O2 ran out. Many friends still smoked and we spent most of our time together outside puffing anyway. I held no grudges. I let them go because I needed room for my new friends.
Giving up my job
My job was my social life. Most of my activities revolved around work or clients. I did little after work because, in fact, I had little energy left. My job was taxing on me and took lots of my energy. I fought hard to keep my job but inevitably, at the end of the day, I did not have enough spoons. I gave up my job because I could no longer be ‘the best’. I knew I had other work to do.
Time on my hands
With lots of time on my hands, I began to surf the web. All my doctors told me not to do a Google search on COPD. They said that the information was usually incorrect. So, I didn’t surf for information. I surfed for support. I found one person who was actively involved in COPD. His name was Derek Cummings. He is a past writer for COPD.net and he led me to COPD.net, where I found the support I needed. Of course, I too am a writer and moderator for COPD.net now. Do you use social media?
I went looking for support closer to home, and it led me to write a blog - CatchYourBreath60.com in an attempt to reach out to those with COPD and chronic illness. I am always so happy to get comments. Suddenly, I was not so alone anymore. I had people talking to me that were going through the same thing. They could relate to my problems.
More social media
I created a page on Facebook, and I use it to go live every Tuesday for about half an hour. Subjects vary and sometimes people reach out and ask if I can talk about a certain subject. Then, I created an Instagram page along with Twitter and YouTube. I learned how to upload my videos to my YouTube page to gain a larger audience.
Ask the question
I found out a long time ago that if you want an answer you need to ask the question. I did just that a long time ago and ended up creating a peer support community that is priceless to my journey with COPD.
If you are feeling isolated, as most of us are today, find a support group by searching for and contacting one in your area. If you use Facebook, there are a plethora of sites to join. Zoom makes social media much easier and accessible these days too. I can actually talk to someone, face to face, half a world away.
If you can’t find a support group, create one.
Are you looking for tips on combating anxiety with COPD?