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  • Writer's picturehopecaitlins

Me, myself and I - life after isolation

Hello my lovelies, it's been far too long again, but no fear, inktober is coming up and soon you'll never get rid of my ramblings! This week's thoughts revolve around the challenges I've experienced coming out of a period of isolation, as many of us are in one way or another right now. It's crazy how comfortable you can get when you're alone and how hard it is to go back out into the world when you've been away from it for so long. So these are just some thoughts from that crazy brain of mine, I hope they can resonate with some people.

Something I haven’t talked about much on here is social anxiety. I’ve never struggled with it until I became ill, or more so as I started to get better and move out into the world more. You see when you’ve been away from it a while you sort of forget how to do things ;) I often refer to it as suddenly socialising on manual instead of automatic, at least for a while. I’m lucky in that I’ve always been naturally good socially, making conversation, chatting with peers and those above my age as well, to some my worst day socialising is their best but it’s all relative to experience. In particular i find it challenging to go about how to approach my illness in new social environments with new people, especially if I’m not using my wheelchair and to the average stranger I’m “fine” I’m not super loud and confident, and have never been one to like being the centre of attention (ok maybe a little ;) but not for this!) but something I’ve always known is that people take the lead on stuff like this from you, and if you’re relaxed and casual about it, it’s easier for them to react that way too. But that’s not always obvious or easy.

Another thing I find hard to navigate is having my mum around, due to my seizures and the fact that most times I can only manage short bursts of activity before I need to leave/rest. It’s hard not to get used to relying on another person to break the ice for you, or to hide behind when you don’t feel like stepping out on your own. It’s also hard because in every social situation it’s easier to have at least one person there I know, a friend just in the periphery of my vision that can support me when I have an attack. But how do I own my own self in situations like this. How do I show Hope, in a way that separates me from my disability and instead shows my character and the fact I’m just a normal 19 year old (well, not normal ;) but you get what I mean)

I’ve been pondering this today, and wonder what others similar to me might offer as advice. I think from my reflection the best thing you can do is to learn from each experience, that’s why it’s so hard in the first place, it’s new again. But it does get easier, you find a new you in the process, things become more automatic like they used to be and as you become more comfortable in yourself you take steps forward in owning who you are in social situations too. I guess what I’m saying is I’m still figuring a lot of basic stuff out, but know there’s a whole person underneath everyone you meet, they just might not be ready to share them yet, but they will.

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