What the heck is social isolation?
Social isolation is a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society. It differs from loneliness, which reflects a temporary lack of contact with other humans. Social isolation can be an issue for individuals of any age, though symptoms may differ by age group.Okay, I understand that. As someone living post stroke, I can see where other survivors might feel this way. Your regular friends from work really can't understand where you are at now. Your whole world was turned upside down. You may be still battling paralysis, PBA (Psuedobulbar Affect), difficulty communicating, or a whole host of difficulties that prevent you from being with others as you used to. This even includes family members. You feel alone even in a crowd I feel like many times being both a stroke survivor and a widow. I feel like I have two strikes against me from the get go. Nobody on Earth could possibly know how I'm feeling or goes through my head unless it's another stroke survivor and a widow too.
As a widow, you are faced with a whole bunch of issues if you live in the same place as you did with your husband. The first question everybody asked is how are you doing? I could answer honestly and say... that my beloved and better half has been ripped from my side. Even after almost three years. There is still a gaping wound and I don't believe it will ever heal. But I don't because that's not what they want to hear. I simply respond that I'm doing okay. This is the major reason I moved six hours away and don't go home unless I have to. Being there is painful. Yes, I'm a coward, but it's my way of coping. This is a form of self social isolation.
Even within my stroke support group, I feel a sense of social isolation between me and others who are lucky enough to have no visible signs of a stroke. It's not jealousy or envy. I just feel excluded from the recovered parties within a support group where no one is worse than me. Not that I'd honestly wish that on anyone else. My participation is a deliberate choice to keep social isolation at bay.
But everyone these days feels a certain amount of social isolation. Every time my children texts me instead of calling me, I feel a sense of this. Emails across vast distances draws you closer but pushes human contact farther away. I've got several hundred, if not a thousand, "cyber" friends, but only a few that I have met eye to eye with. Isn't this also a form of social isolation? We hide behind devices instead of actual human contact. I understand all the excuses why we don't develop this social skill more. We're too busy. Are we really not as busy than our grandfathers? I think not. They were in fact busier. Oh, just get with it, Jo. That's just the way things are now. Maybe I'm just an old fart, but I mourn the loss of human contact. A lot can be said for touching someone else's hand in support or compassion. Giving an actual hugs instead of a smilie or emoji. 🤗 Today's society is kind of a lonely existence. A kind of semi imposed social isolation.
Let's make a change.
Nothing is impossible.