Monday, April 25, 2011

Overcoming Isolation with Social Media Network

Here is the second blog I had the pleasure of writing for Crafted Elegance. Hope you enjoy!

One of the things I have learned just recently in 2011, is how my own social isolation was improved by the Internet. Many individuals, who are housebound (i.e. disabled, stay at home moms along with caregivers), find themselves over time to become socially isolated. Participating in relationships and contacts outside the home is critical to health as shown by national studies. Studies recently conducted, are focusing on whether the Internet is a positive or negative influence for those isolated. Overall the studies do show that the online communication of chat rooms, online dating and social networks have reduced isolation and will continue to do so through 2020! Here is a study I found on this serious topic and to view click on the link:

I haven't been to a happy hour in probably 15 or so years. The "end of the work week" used to be a place where my coworkers and friends would gather over a beer, while enjoying each other with laughter. Being social was always part of my way of being. I talk a lot and anyone who knows me will tell you that! My history of employment was that of a service type position where I had to work on people's computers, telephones, wiring, etc. It was important that I have a social attitude when working on people's office equipment and that opportunity fulfilled my strong desire to be part of a group of people.

I think many of us have that nature in us to be a part of something other than ourselves. We make friends at work, church and in our fitness world (if we have one outside the home). I was an avid "work-out girl" and used to spend hours upon hours at the gym....and I loved the social atmosphere there too! Another thing I used to love to do with my friends is dance! Most weekends I had to be "out" or I felt so bored.

Starting a family is a common stage in life where family becomes the primary focus and we gradually wean into this family mode. Especially when you have that baby that just makes your heart explode, being social takes a different twist. We tend to mingle at the work place but happy hours and weekend dancing goes way back on the back burner.

Imagine though becoming ill with your body restricted...or injured to the point that interacting with others is more than a becomes so difficult you can't drive, maybe even mobility is an issue. The trend is unfortunately that your good co-workers (who are busy with their family and friends) after time will not call anymore, or visit. Definitely relationships with friends can be strained by your new world. It's nobody's fault that you're "disabled" and/or your life doesn't fit in with others. It is very hard to understand and live with someone who is disabled. In my experience, and as I have learned from talking to others who have become disabled, life outside the home rarely exist. It becomes a world you don't recognize, and turns into isolation that can lead to depression. I know, as I went through all of this.

Now comes what some may think is funny or odd, but I bet those who have been isolated, will understand. Social Media Network stopped my isolation! I have been on Facebook since about 2008, however, I wasn't really drawn into Facebook and I wasn't a regular visitor except when I wanted to post some pictures.

When 2011 arrived, I started a Facebook group called "Finding the Answer" which was to help me focus on finding answers for my wellness. This was the new pavement that I was about to learn would lead me out of isolation and back into my social world. I began sharing stories with friends, finding new friends, finding friends with common issues, and the list goes on. I found opportunity in Facebook with my writing but most of all I had my laughter and social energy back!!! I so desperately needed friends to just joke around with and feel like I belonged to a group.

The amount of time I spend hooting over witty comments and fun times with my friends and family across the U.S. has changed my life for the better. I had lost my sense of humor, but I regained it and then something far better and surprising happened. I physically felt better!!! When I had my social interactions back, I could feel my body strength improve and physical pain reduce. I may have serious health issues going on at present, but having the ability to joke and laugh, makes all the rest seem not as important. I don't want my pain, illness, or plain health issues to be the center of me. Making others smile and laugh, brings delight in my life and my body has been rewarded by this gift.

It may be hard to reach out in the Social Medial Network if you are presently alone and maybe not sure how to get "out there" on any internet social media. I never thought that 3 years after I joined facebook I would be writing about how it virtually saved my life. One step towards opening the door, allowing a few friends to be of comfort and to add light back into your spirit may surprise you beyond what you could imagine. I only hope that more people who are isolated can find their way to people who make them inspired, grow, and is one source of medicine we do require.

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