Have you isolated yourself?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by KateMac329, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. KateMac329

    KateMac329 New Member


    Okay so a quick recap, I have been sick for a couple of years. I was pretty thin, kept myself up, had a job, went to the gym and just was overall a pretty outgoing individual.

    Well since getting sick I have slowly shut myself in day by day, week by week and month by month.

    It started out small. I quit working out, quit my job, started declining invitations to go out, stopped wanting to go on dates with my husband and then just got to the point where it was hard for me to even go to the grocery store.

    Well since my son was born I have decided that no matter how bad I feel I need to get out because I don't want him to grow up in isolation.

    BUT...I am SO extremely self conscious of myself that it is hard to go anywhere!!! I try everything I can to keep from going anywhere. I make up excuse after excuse. The thought of actually joining a "mommy group" terrifies me. In my head they are going to take one look at me and judge me. I just feel like I don't have anything to offer. Does that make sense?

    My husband took me to Old Navy about two weeks ago and I about had an anxiety attack right there in the store. I kept it together by just not speaking. When we got home I went into the bathroom and just cried and cried.

    I don't know WHY in the world I have become so self conscious. Well I mean I do know. It is because I essentially took myself out of society for a few years.

    I just feel so overwhelmed when I go out. I am self conscious about my hair, my body (pregnancy weight) my clothes, the way they fit, the way I walk, EVERYTHING about me I have become so timid. I rarely look people in the eye anymore because I feel so afraid.

    I really used to be a very outgoing person! Now I am like a wounded animal or something and it makes me sick!

    I am trying to force myself out. I take my son for a walk just about everyday up and down our street and the entire time we walk I fear someone coming up and talking to us.

    This is so ridiculous and I just wanted to know if anyone else was going through this?

    Thanks for reading.



    P.S. And if women today didn't have it bad enough...

    On my homepage I have a bunch of daily stuff that comes up and one of them is the daily "How To's" by WikiHow and today's subject...DRUMROLL...How to look like a Model.

    COME ON! Seriously. It is an entire aritcle on what to do to look like a model. It even goes as far as to saying that you should always smile because that is what models do because they are such happy and beautiful people.

    (don't quote me on that last part but that is essentially what it said)

    Anyway, how in the world is someone supposed to feel good about themselves when there is crap like that all around us.

    Okay sorry, had to get that out!
  2. KateMac329

    KateMac329 New Member

    Lamotta77 - Thank you so much for your input on this subject. You are right, these illnesses HAVE isolated us and I am very interested in the CBT!

    I am writing that down right now to research tomorrow. I need to get to bed for the night otherwise I would do it now but I am so curious about it I may have to look it up tonight otherwise I will be up all night thinking about it! LOL

    Okay sorry for the rambling!

    I think today's society is SO judgemental that it is a wonder so many people have anxiety issues.

    If you don't look right or act right or are sick all the time, you get judged.

    It is sad...

    Thanks for your reply! Like I said I will be looking into the CBT tomorrow!

    Mayline - Honey thank you so much for your support! You are so sweet and have such a good heart! I am so tired and about to head to bed but wanted to tell you that I read your post about your insurance money. That is so wonderful! I am so glad that you will be able to get a car now so you don't have to ask people for rides. I know it will feel so good to be more independent!

    I am proud of you for getting out and going to karoke! I have said this to you before but you have more guts than I do and it isn't just for getting up there and singing. It is for getting yourself out there whether you feel like it or not!

    I hope you have a wonderful night and I am so happy about you and your sweetie! You deserve someone that will treat you well!



  3. lorreannhopkins

    lorreannhopkins New Member

    I'm just putting my two cents in on this subject. I'm a very outgoing person, too, but I've always had some anxiety and social phobia. The problem is, once I got sick (10 years with Fibromyalgia &CFS) my world has gradually gotten smaller and smaller as I'm able to do less and less. It's so much work to just get out of bed, get dressed, and if I'm lucky MAYBE go to the store. I used to be very pretty and always had my make-up on, dressed nice, etc. Now I just go for comfort-sweat pants, etc. This whole thing with being too tired to do anything automatically creates isolation. So I completely understand and relate to what you're saying. It also sounds like you might be having anxiety attacks when you leave the house (Agoraphobia) and you might want to talk to your doctor about medication-which will also help with your CFS (I have Fibromyalgia and I take Lexapro which helps with pain, sleep, and also really helps with my anxiety) Some of your symptoms could be physiological and anxiety can be treated medically. Also, if you're already on medication sometimes that can cause problems, too, if the meds don't agree with you. Anyway, I wish you luck because I know what you're going through and I know how hard it is pushing out of isolation.

    PS Have you done any reading on Social Anxiety? Or Agoraphobia? Maybe talking to a doctor about this might help. I hope I'm not offending you by suggesting this but this is what I'm dealing with too and I've gotten help from a psychiatrist and counselor. Not cured-but I don't have panic attacks anymore or the debiltating self conscious anxiety that I used to have. I'm still too tired to do anything, just without the fear and anxiety.
    [This Message was Edited on 04/26/2006]
  4. tinypillar

    tinypillar New Member

    I did something I've never done before. I went to the movies by myself.

    I've missed the last 2 days of work, after only being back a week, and my boyfriend is giving me a guilt trip. He thinks I made a choice to not go to work, when really I had no choice, I've been in bed or on the couch in pain or sleeping.

    I tend to isolate myself when I'm not feeling good enough to leave the house, and tonight I decided to do something different. Since my boyfriend had to work late and couldn't come with me, I knew I needed to get out of the house (or I'd sit here feeling sorry for myself). I felt good enough to sit and drive a short distance, so I went to the movies. It's dark there, nobody will be looking at you or talking, so it's a nice escape.

    I have some social anxiety, something I never had until a few years ago (including panic attacks), but I just have to make myself face the fear.
  5. Sandyz

    Sandyz New Member

    Yes, I have gotten more and more isolated. Pretty soon I`m going to move into a cave and never come out again. Its really hard to not feel bad about ourselves when we are sick and in pain all the time.

    Their is so many normal things we can no longer do. The only thing we can do is focus and what we have left and what we can do. Feel joy in the simple things, they are truely what matter.

    I have to say you are very good at writing and I always enjoy your posts. Writing might be something you could be really good at.
  6. wangotango

    wangotango New Member

    yes i get tired of hearing all of my family's and friends one week cures or family about walking thru the 4ft of snow with cfs when they was 12 after working 4 jobs and going to school. not much support for me family wise so i hide all i can. bill
  7. Crispangel66

    Crispangel66 New Member

    I will even go out of my way to avoid people I know when I am in the grocery store.

    I hate to say it but I have also stopped going to church because I feel like most of the people there don't understand and when they ask how are you doing I will answer that I am fine because I don't think they really want to know.

    I don't want anyone coming to my house either, even most of my family.

    I go to the drug store, grocery store and that is about it.

    The only reason I go to those places is because when I send my husband he usually doesn't get what I ask him to get for me or he doesn't want to go.

  8. greatgran

    greatgran Member

    I look in the mirrow and can't believe that it is me compared to how I looked 6 yrs ago before the disease..My whole world and life has changed since the CFS and fibro..Don't make the mistake I made and beat yourself up over this, which only added to my depression/anxiety..

    What hurt me more than anything was not being able to go and do with my family plus all the other activities I was involved with..Like friends that I don't have anymore..

    My point in all this is, it isn't you its his dd..Not only the dd but you are a new mom which is great but stessful..

    Do what ever you can to work on your health and don't push beyond your limits, that just causes more stress..I am no doc by any means but I would say you need as much rest as you can get..If that means isolation for now then so be it..That's not the life any of us want but until we can find out limits sometimes we have to just back of and do what we can that keeps us sane.

    God Bless you, greatgran

  9. matthewson

    matthewson New Member

    First thing that jumped into my mind was social anxiety and agoraphobia! I also had social anxiety from the age of 12 and managed to lead a fairly normal life, people would even think I was outgoing, but it was always there underneath.

    When I hit menopause, my serotonin level hit rock bottom. I had horrible anxiety attacks and couldn't leave the house! I couldn't even stand on my front porch it was that bad. I was put on zoloft and once I was up to the right dose, no more anxiety attacks, agorophobia, social anxiety. I felt NORMAL for the first time in my life! No more worrying about everything, no more OCD (which I had just been starting to develop also)! It was a miracle!

    If I were you, I would really look into taking something to raise your serotonin level. You could try 5-htp if you don't want to take an anti-d. It helps to raise your level of serotonin. I previously posted an article about the 4 neurotransmitters involved in mental health and will bump it up if you are interested. Just let me know.

    I have been where you are and I am a new person now, thanks to raising up my serotonin levels.

    Take care, Sally
  10. bpmwriter

    bpmwriter New Member

    a line from my new novel,

    "faking sanity is like faking an orgasm, just smile and pretend like you're having fun." :)

    seriously though, the symptoms you describe can effectively be controlled with an SSRI. they won't change your self image, that one's up to you, but they will ease the social anxiety and panic.

    feel better,
  11. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member

    I am reclusive and have to say I do not mind it a bit.
    You have a child, so it is somewhat different. Yet: even a child can adapt to not going places too much.

    Being reclusive for me means going where I want when I can and call my own shots.

    Ex was so mean to me I knew how that would end up: divorce, as quick as possible.

    My neighbors know I am sick, but they do not pry.

    Do I get lonely: never. Reason: I do not have to pay the price of going through people's ignorance and misunderstanding that used to make me, like you, lock myelf in the bathroom to cry.

    I have adapted to the reclusive life. I do not feel isolated though because I live in a cyber world now and have made some good friends along the way who I keep near and dear to me.

    Yes, a different kind of life: not really all that bad when you look at the plus side of it.

  12. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Oh, you know what you are doing, you are judging yourself. We learn to do this when we live in a society that is peristently judging others by some unattainable yardstick.

    I have to laugh at Oprah, who on one hand encourages this sort of mentality, then on the other has programs denouncing it. Making women feel badly if we don't wear makeup, dress in sweats etc. Heck, the day someone can convince me to wear heels and stockings is the day the moon will freeze over!!! I quit that years ago. I buy clothing that is comfortable and suits my DD and day. I learned to do this when Danny was born. Kids with autism feel exactly as you do Kate, all of the time.

    People, noises, smells and the feel of fabrics can all be terrifying to them. I think the way we worked with Danny may be OK for you. I have a lot of your fears BTW, even though as a psych. I should know how to get over it. For eg I could NEVER eat out alone, my hand would shake so much I could never get food to my mouth-I know I tried it a couple of times.(LOL) peas all over the place, unable to swallow.

    What helps Danny is wearing earplugs like you wear to soften noise-the waxy ones. Also tinted glasses. I thing that help is a buddy system too. For eg I know you and especially Landon would gain such a lot from a mommy group, but the first few times you go you need someone with you. Just entering a room alone can be a nightmare otherwise.

    I just got an email from an expert in differently abled people, and she said something that I totlaly agree with. She said, "Not only children who are labelled with DD's need specialized classrooms and schools, MANY kids would do so much better with the school divided into smaller "pods" with quiet lighting and sound levels." You bet!!!

    At one time, our society was very close, people never moved much, you grew up and remained in the same neighborhood. There was an established hierarchy at school and work and even in our relationships that was easier, the rules applied. Crowds were something we coped with at the State Fair!!!

    A good baby step for me was volunteering at Habitat just stuffing envelopes every now and then. Not a huge commitment but it got me a bit back on track.

    Even though you do not have a school aged child, often schools have these twice a year volunteer things. I know it seems a LOT, but if you had a friend to go with you, I know it would be a step for you that may help.

    I am so proud of you taking Landon out daily. Another thing autistic people have to do is learn scripts to say, so to help with your fear of meeting people, have a script ready. "if I bump into someone, I will be able to say, It is a lovely dsay. The flowers look great. My baby is loving this weather." Then I can move on and continue my walk.

    I call it the three sentence rule. I promise myself I can say three sentences then goodbye. I give myself permission not to HAVE to say more than three sentences. There WIll be a beginning and and END. This is claled compartmentalizing issues that seem too big to handle. Break them up into doable goals.

    Hey kiddo, here am I the oldest mom on the block(59 with a not quite 12 year old) my biggest fear is that someone will say, "Is this your grandson!!!" (LOL) There comes a point as you age Kate, that the things that seemed so important when we were younger, just don't occupy a place.

    Many of us here just are worried we can get home before needing to pee BADLY, so take a deep breath, it will get beter, it will be OK and yes, I think we do isolate ourselves, and it is very hard to move off that, but just little steps, and relaly one day at a time. Most of all, love yourself for who you are and know you are a fine person and a great mom! That goes for everyone else with these same issues too, we are courageous to be sure.

    I agree that CBT would really be a help. Excuse my typos.

    Hugs always,

    Love Anne C
    [This Message was Edited on 04/27/2006]
  13. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    I am seeing if the board is stuck again.
    Anne C
  14. elastigirl

    elastigirl New Member

    I haven't seen a post here since 4/27. Has Kate been around in chat? A little worried here.
  15. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I see this is an older post but I wanted to comment on it anyway. (I hope Kate is found soon!)

    First of all, I think everyone who has posted here can begin by patting yourself gently on the back. Especially those like Kate who put their child's best interest before their own when they feel so exhausted and unwell.

    I, too, have found myself withdrawing more and more into what I call "my nest". In it, I can control to some degree what happens - when I rest, how much I do, how loud/how quiet, whether I talk to anyone or not. Out in the world I can't do that. Having some control is very important to my sense of well-being since I can't control my health issues or what people judge them or me to be.

    I do think that depression is more prevelent when we do this, though, especially if, like I was, we were very social beings before. We need to try to moderate our seclusion if that's not an oxymoron type of thing.

    One thing I make myself do every day is to get dressed, put on a little makeup and make sure I don't have a bedhead. I don't do that for others because, chances are, I won't see another soul all day; I do that for me. Also it means that if a wee bit of energy shows its face, I might choose to do an errand without the exhaustion of getting ready.

    Sometimes it helps me to think of animals who are injured or sick; what do they do? They go off by themselves to be quiet and heal. I think we could learn from them and not be so hard on ourselves.

    Again this morning I ask myself, why are we so hard on us??

  16. Gail8899

    Gail8899 New Member

    I stay to myself because all of my friends who were not sick got tired of asking me out and me not going so they just left. If I did force myself to go I had to come home before they were ready, or just find somewhere to sit quietly until they were ready to call it a day.

    I have gained so much weight because of not being able to exercise that I have actually heard people behind my back, and to my face say that if I would just get off my butt and move I would be cured. One of those people that says things like that is my husband. My mother used to try it too, but I think she has finally figured out that I'm not lazy. It was when strangers would whisper (loudly) about how I look that I finally gave up going out unless it's a dire emergency. I don't need the extra stress.

    My dogs don't mind a bit that I sometimes can't comb my hair or get dressed for days at a time. So long as I feed them, pet them, and let them follow me everywhere I go they are perfectly happy. I like them a whole lot better than I like most people so I'm perfectly happy too!

  17. Hope4Sofia

    Hope4Sofia New Member

    More and more over time. I want friends but I get very stressed by social situations. When I'm at a party I tend to stand around until someone approaches me. I want to talk I just don't know how to start.

    I'm always very tired when I get back home. Like my tongue is heavy and my brain is tired.

    I've promised myself I will interact more with my neighbors because if there's ever a convenient friend it's a neighbor.

    I refuse to let this remove me from the world.

  18. Strawberry94

    Strawberry94 New Member

    People with CFS are so counter to what this society expects out of people. Egomania is epidemic in our culture and everything has to be THE MOST Extreme, what a rush! WOW! be all to all, do all, live 24/7 in a constant state of over excited adrenlene rush...and then there are people like us who can't deal with being overstimulated.

    We are bound to feel the pressure of this.
  19. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Well put.

  20. ldbgcoleman

    ldbgcoleman New Member

    From reading your posts on this board i find you to be a very beautiful woman and a loving mother. i think many of us have felt this way from time to time. Sometimes when I don't feel like going out I have to force myself and then I end up having fun.

    I have had my moments with my weight as well and the most depressing thing is when I am going somewhere and don't have an outfit that I feel good in. I hope you will find some things that fit you well in the size you are now and that make you feel good.

    Try to pretend like you are your own best friend. Would you think thoses things about your friend? Would you want her to feel that way? There are alot of women who are witches out there it's true but there are more kind and caring women. If someone judges you it's their problem the people who know and love you, love you the way you are which from this board is a pretty darn wonderful woman!

    You might consider getting help as well. You have a new baby and that can be very isolating in itself! Grant is 4 now but when I first had him all my friends were working and it was very lonely! Lynn

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