Loneliness, Posttraumatic Growth, and Invisible Disabilities

Amelia Hill shared an eloquent post about enduring and working with loneliness (see below).  Amelia and I are both  housebound (and have been so for years), but she is currently confined to a much smaller space in her home than I am in mine.

loneliness - Amelia HillFrom Heal Amelia’s Life:

Loneliness. I’ve kinda learned to override the often relentless waves of loneliness one feels living an isolated existence like mine.I don’t deny the feelings of loneliness or push them down in an unhealthy way. But it’s more like a repetitive cycle of acknowledging it & letting it go, acknowledging it & letting it go. It’s how I survive.

The more I deepen my meditation practice & stay aligned with my true identity, the easier that process is. It’s not a breeze by any means. But the inner work definitely helps.

There can be a lot of beauty, revelation & soul strength available in solitude. Things can be discovered there that can never be accessed while in the constant contact of others. That I know firsthand. And ultimately, I’m grateful for what I have learned. It’s made me who I am today.

But as human beings, we thrive on connection, shared experience & human touch. And the world is filled with breathtaking vistas, opportunities for togetherness, colour, sounds, hugs, smiles, giggles, tears & precious spontaneity.

And no matter how well you ride the waves, the heart will always ache for those things it instinctually longs for. It knows how amazing life can be & it will always want to experience it. It will always want more.

Night night, All.

A x


Here are some excerpts from an article about a book that looks into some of the issues that Amelia described so well. While there’s no MCS/ES perspective in the book (as far as I know, I’m unable to read books at this time) there are many people in the world who are experiencing all kinds of serious challenges now, and some of their stories are included.

Transforming Bad Breaks into Breakthroughs
by Michaela Haas

“No one ever tells us to stop running away from fear. We are very rarely told to move closer, to just be there, to become familiar with fear.”

When I once asked Pema how she dealt with her own debilitating chronic fatigue, she said she tried to apply the advice her teacher had given her. “Lean into it. Stay present. Stay curious. Go through it paying meticulous attention as if you wanted to describe it in great detail to someone who’s never heard of it.” What would happen if we stayed to pay attention?”

“According to psychologist Richard Tedeschi, posttraumatic growth’s leading researcher, as many as ninety percent of survivors report at least one aspect of posttraumatic growth, such as a renewed appreciation for life or a deeper connection to their heart’s purpose. This does not happen immediately or easily. We need to actively work towards positive change, and we need the right tools and support in order to transform a bad break into a breakthrough.” …

(I repeat:)

*we need the right tools and support in order to transform a bad break into a breakthrough*

“Perhaps one of the most common growth experiences triggered by a major stressor is an increased appreciation of life. But it is important to make clear that not everybody experiences growth, and we are not implying that traumatic events are a good thing,” Richard Tedeschi stresses. “They are not. In the wake of trauma, people become more aware of the futility in life and that unsettles some while it focuses others. This is the paradox of growth: people become more vulnerable, yet stronger.”

It is crucial to distinguish between the event and the outcome. There is nothing positive about trauma itself; we wouldn’t choose it, then or now.

Nevertheless, we might be able to reap something beneficial out of the sorrow. The good only comes from what we decide to do with it ― from our struggle that unveils what needs to change in us and in our society…”


I had some thoughts of my own to add:

We humans were not meant to be alone all the time, year after year after year…

Even those who choose to go into solitary retreats have more contact with others than many of us who have invisible (from surface appearances) socially inconvenient disabilities.

Those of us who have disabling MCS/ES need others to change the products they use to universally healthier options.

When that doesn’t happen, we are just like prisoners, locked away in solitary confinement, often like caged animals, out of sight, out of mind.

Without access to the internet, most of us would not survive, yet the internet cannot offer us a hug or true community.

…Only people can do that…

…People who choose people over products…

6 responses to “Loneliness, Posttraumatic Growth, and Invisible Disabilities

  1. Very touching post. I too use my “lonely” time to focus on alone work like meditation, writing,or sorting photos. However, I have to admit with MCS — the forced isolation feels like I was sentenced to house arrest for a crime committed by others and there is no appeal process to rectify that I am being “punished” for needing clean air. This feeling of resentment, of course, sends me back to more meditating and practicing forgiveness.

    • Even when you are able to get out and go photographing and spend time with your father!
      There have been times when I thought that if I could do that, if I could be out in nature, if I could drive somewhere (and pick up food etc), I could live without the humans that cause so much trouble in my air… but being housebound and dependent on mostly strangers it’s so different… Pretty well the only times I talk with people are for a few minutes when they deliver something… I moved here for the safer housing, not knowing anyone around here, being too sick and disabled to go out meeting people, especially when they are not fragrance free…
      For this kind of inner work, it really would help to have the guidance of a qualified teacher, as doing it alone, by books and videos, when it forces us to go so deep to find sanity in the world, is not easy… It’s definitely not easy…

    • And exactly that

      “sentenced to house arrest for a crime committed by others and there is no appeal process to rectify that I am being “punished” for needing clean air.”

  2. Wonderful post. Thanks. :-)

  3. If you are tired of seeing posts about how toxic and harmful products with fragrances are, can you imagine how tired I am of being disabled, and stuck at home because some of you won’t stop using them?

  4. I need to repeat this again:

    *we need the right tools and support in order to transform a bad break into a breakthrough*

    We are human after all <3

    If you are in a position to offer support, Amelia really needs us now:

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