We’ll set a time when you are free and so am I. No distractions please. You get a cup of coffee or tea at your house, and I do the same at mine. Then, whoever initiated the date makes the call, and we talk just like we would if I could see you. It’s really that simple.
If you’re ever limited in your ability to go out, it’s extremely important to keep your connection with others until you can do more. With MS, you can quickly lose touch; you don’t see it happening until it’s too late. It’s such an unpredictable disease; you expect to be down for just a bit, but you never know. This withdrawal can lead to an unintended isolation, which leads to depression. It happens quickly. Friends call to talk and go places and you decline more and more. Your speech problems, your balance issues, your spasms, your fatigue. You really just don’t feel like going out. Even talking on the phone can wear you out. It all takes so much energy. Eventually, they call less and you are relieved.
There are those few that hang in there. They don’t call as often, but they will still call, you can count on it. They’re the ones that understand because you’ve explained this to them when you were well, before the relapse. They call to say they don’t want to talk, the call is just to check on you, and to say that they love you.
Things you can do to make this easier:
1) Most importantly, talk to your close friends when you are well. Explain to them how it feels when you are having a relapse, as best you can. Each relapse is different, but you can explain how things have gone in the past, and that they may be completely different but to please be patient.
2) Send a blanket email or text to your selected friends.” I’m not answering calls or emails and such right now because my MS is acting up. Please don’t worry; I need to use my energy wisely. Another note will come when I’m up to it. Meanwhile, keep the party going.”
3) Answer calls when you can, but keep it simple. You don’t need to explain everything. “I know I haven’t answered your calls in a while but my MS is acting up and I feel crappy. Please call me back in a couple of days, (weeks, months).” Do not wear yourself out.
As soon as you can, do a little more. Start small. Answer more calls and even make some. Have coffee dates more often, and enjoy them.
COMMENTS: Please share the things that you do to stay connected that don’t require going out. We could use more ideas.