On connecting and loneliness

If you only read for the hot posts, look away now.

When I set this blog up, I had no idea what it would turn into. My Twitter bio quite clearly says that I write about ‘sex and disability,’ but whenever I do, I feel slightly guilty, like I’m somehow letting down my readers. I lose followers, too. But I fully buy the argument that you should blog first and foremost for yourself, so this post, as you might expect of one written at 4am, is really a post for me. To help me make sense of things.

I have a friend who also has a medical issue that dates back to birth. In the last 5 years or so, she’s on occasion expressed frustration with doctors, saying that they never really understood her condition so what’s the point of expecting them to find long term solutions to pain and other problems that flare up. My answer has always been that things have changed since the early 80s. Doctors *do* have knowledge and solutions now that they didn’t have then.

What I didn’t realise was that that applies to me too. Naively, I thought that because I have a condition that affects 1 in a 1000, it was common enough that doctors understood it inside out, and always had.

That, of course, is not true. And it’s frustrating, given that I last saw a consultant at the age of ten. Since then, my only contact with medical professionals around the whole issue has been when something flares up. Knee and hip pain might get me referred for an MRI. It might get me onto a waiting list for a handful of sessions of NHS physio. I no longer get to talk to specialists about it.

Which means that occasionally, I stick whatever symptoms I’m having into google with ‘+ hemiplegia’ tacked on the end. ‘Depression + hemiplegia,’ ‘Anxiety + hemiplegia,’ that kind of thing. And HemiHelp, which is what that link above leads to, is a massively useful source of information.

Last night, I was talking to someone about why I feel so low, or, more specifically, why I feel so lonely. Part of the problem is that I feel like I don’t know how to connect with people – I have problems with small talk, bonding on a superficial level and making new friends. Sometimes, I said, it feels like I might be borderline autistic.

Well, she said, perhaps that’s true. Have you looked it up? So I did. And here’s what came back:

The answers to ‘does your child have associated conditions?’ were as individual as the children themselves. ‘Yes’ is the short answer, for 69% of parents. A majority of parents said that in addition to the visible physical effects of their hemiplegia, 67% of their children have learning difficulties, while 42% have epilepsy, 40% have visual impairments and 34% have speech impairments. Autistic Spectrum Disorder was also reported by a significant minority of parents (14%). Even more parents (86%) told us about other associated difficulties, with the main problem being irritability (61%). This is followed by attention span (59%), anxiety (55%), visio-spatial issues (50%), maths (49%), obsessiveness (44%) and reading (38%) (Parents’ survey: the findings. http://www.hemihelp.org.uk)

Ah. Suffice to say I think I have a fair few of those issues. Irritability? Definitely. Obsessiveness? Yes, that seems fairly accurate too. And the Visio-spatial issues and maths problems are also relevant.

So perhaps that’s why I have problems connecting. Perhaps that’s why I’m bossy, self-absorbed, selfish, and bad at friendship. It’s not a get out of jail card, but it helps to know there might be a reason for it.

7 thoughts on “On connecting and loneliness

  1. Thanks for sharing this. That feeling of not quite connecting with people can be so hard. You are right, blog for yourself first and foremost and remember, like F Dot Leonora said there are readers out here in the blogesphere that are interested in what you have to say and care when you say you are having a hard time x

  2. I think *everybody* feels bad at connecting, sometimes. Everybody gets nervous. Everybody has moments of low self-esteem. Everybody feels like there is something wrong with them.

    It always feels to me that these things are a spectrum. Someone we might label as ‘depressed’ near the rougher, more difficult, end of that spectrum. Someone who appears, outwardly, to be mega-confident at all times on the other end of the spectrum. The rest of us? We’re somewhere in the middle. And we move up and down the scale from one day to the next.

    For some, it’s all in our heads. For others, there may be medical reasons for why they feel the way they do.

    *shrug* … I guess what I’m trying to say is that feeling crappy is universal. We can all remember the last time we felt exactly the way you describe – whether it’s for medical reasons, mental ones, personal reasons, outside factors … whatever. We can all sympathise. For that reason alone, we can each give you a big hug and a glass of wine. We can empathise and *listen* when you want to talk about it.

  3. Now that you’ve found out a little more maybe you can look into more, if you want to of course. It’s not nice feeling lonely and possibly isolated, it’s something I feel often but without the added disabilities which i imagine can make you feel worse, like I said though I have no idea really. In glad you write this, holly x

  4. Pingback: Hell is other people | Sex blog (of sorts)

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