Think back fifteen years, its 1997 and the internet was still in its early infancy and was just starting to take off. Being chronically ill or housebound must have been really lonely and isolating – being stuck indoors with only daytime television for company…
Fifteen years on however, the internet is just another part of our everyday life, a lifeline for ‘spoonies’ everywhere; it’s a connection to the outside world, a place where we can meet and talk to others. The internet is an invention that has meant that the chronically ill and housebound need no more have those feelings of loneliness and isolation.
We need no more rely on others to go shopping for us – it can all be done with a few clicks of the mouse, which can then be delivered to our front door. Even those who are chronically ill and are able to go out but are easily fatigued can access online shopping and save their spoons for other chores that need to be done.
Another advantage is the explosion of social media – sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others are a fantastic opportunity to connect with others, or stay in contact with friends and family if you do not get the chance to see them regularly. It’s a lifeline for those nights plagued with insomnia, unable to sleep, and unlikely to be able to due to the severity of the symptoms, before it would mean sitting alone with a mug of hot chocolate in front of the television, but since the invention of social media you can always find someone online to talk and vent your frustration with. It has become so easy to find new friends with sites such as Facebook, and since starting this blog and taking advantage of social media; I have met and made contact with a lot of fantastic and beautiful people, each battling with different illnesses but meanwhile writing and spreading awareness for their particular cause. I have also come to love sites such as Pinterest, which allows the opportunity to ‘pin’ those images that you love to pin boards – I often use this tool for saving certain crafts that I love the look of and would love the opportunity to try them for myself – also giving me something to keep myself occupied during those times when I am alone in the house and looking for something to do
And online health communities are definitely an advantage for those of us battling chronic illness – it provides somewhere to connect with others with the same condition, or perhaps neurological conditions in general, as an example. Connecting with others on particular online health communities can also mean for the newly diagnosed they can find information and tips for living well with the illness from experts – other patients! Certain health communities such as ‘Patients Like Me’ even offer the option to track your particular health condition by filling out questionnaires on how you are feeling and by detailing the severity of the symptoms being experienced. This obviously offers many advantages, one of which is being able to easily spot any deterioration in symptoms experienced, and noting any progression in the condition, especially if it is one that is degenerative.
There are so many wonderful reasons why I love the internet, social media and online health communities – these tools for everyday life has simply transformed the lives of so many, making life more enjoyable and less isolating!