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Social Isolation and RA

Hi, I feel extremely lonely and isolated since I have RA. I moved to a new place four years ago and that's about the same time when I was diagnosed with RA. Hence I do not have a big social network and whenever I try to make new friends it quickly fizzles out because I am physically unable to do most things they want to do. But what I struggle most with is that with my longstanding friends I just can't ever mention the pain that I am going through without getting advice or other comments and it's just super stressful to me that way. So, I hardly ever mention it. I would wish to be able to just say it every now and then and be seen and then move on. I just don't know what to do about this anymore. How do you guys feel about your social contacts and did any of you have conversations with friends where you spoke about this exact topics and how did that go? Does anyone on here even know what I mean? Not sure, I explained it very well. Thank you.

  1. Hi Sabrina! I’ve had some similar issues here. I’ve been talking to a therapist the last few months and she gave me some really helpful things to try.
    First, think about how you would respond to them in a similar situation. You likely wouldn’t see them talking about it as a burden, because you care about them and want to be there to support them, right? They feel the same!! They are your friends, and I think the best way to approach it is with honesty. Tell them how you feel, say you aren’t always looking for advice but really appreciate that they want to help. Say sometimes you just need to get things off your chest without looking for solutions.

    That really helped me navigate friendships. I hope it helps you!

    1. Hi Ezbreezy, Thank you for your reply. I will try that if I can find the courage. I am always scared that it will lead to them avoiding me altogether. But yeah, I guess if they do, then they are not very good friends.

  2. Having friends is work, and having friends when you have a chronic illness like RA is even more work. I find that we often censor ourselves for THEIR benefit because we are afraid it will alienate or offend or make them not want to hang out with us. Trust me you're not alone, I've been there and I still say, "I'm fine," when asked how I am. That being said, we definitely need to talk to someone at times and let it all out. Forgive the old cliche, but keeping it bottled up inside isn't great. Writing helps me with that (obviously lol), but I also have a friend or two who will listen to be blather on for a while and it's cathartic. I have a feeling if you tell your friend, "hey I just need to vent about some stuff," they will probably be fine with that. After all what are friends for? If not, though, always know you can come here and be with people who get it. If you want to just vent or chat or ask a question, we are pretty much 24-7 around! -DPM

    1. I hope it's Ok, but I need to vent this time: I am back to feeling all alone. I mean the thing is that I am really alone. It's not just a fiction of my mind. I may have 2 - 4 hours physical contact per month with a friend and that's it. Sometimes I get to Skype with some of my international friends. That's the curse of having moved around so much in the world that now I do not have enough friends in one place. The rest I am completely alone and since my last job failed again because of my unmanageable pain levels, I am without a job too. And I am someone who is Ok with being alone a lot, in fact I actually need it but this much aloneness is just too much. If I could walk all day or do sports then I would do that and that would keep me in good spirits, but that's not an option. The only thing I can do well is to just sit around really but I long for some human company or a job really. But all the jobs I tried I failed since I have nothing for the pain. It just goes up and up and up until I hit level 10 and then I don't recover from it anymore. None of the chemical approaches of the standard treatments have worked for my body, in fact, they have made it worse. So now I am trying with herbs and other alternative medicine options. So far it hasn't gotten worse at least but I also still can't work. It's a nightmare. I wish I could do home office but I have not been lucky in obtaining any work because that really is the only option for now that would kind of work I think. Sorry, for the long rant.

    2. Hi . I'm so sorry you are struggling and feeling isolated. You do not have to worry about ranting here - this community is here to support each other and people here understand. As others have expressed, the experience of feeling that others may not want to listen or simply don't understand what life with a chronic condition is like is not uncommon. I want to share with you this article from our contributor Rick on how he started an in-person RA support group: While starting your own group may not be something you are quite prepared for, you may be able to find one in your area. Your doctor may have some information or there is often a social worker at the local hospital who may be able to help. If there is not an RA specific group, perhaps a broader one geared towards those with chronic conditions would enable you to meet some new people and get some human connection. Please know that you are always welcome here. Best, Richard ( Team)

  3. Thank you Daniel! That is good to hear. 😀

    1. Thank you Daniel for what works for you Thank you for you question, one I have been debating since newly diagnosed

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