It took me a long time to come round to the idea that I should join all others and set up a LAN so that I could watch programs on the catchup services, a long time that I now wish I hadn’t wasted and had simply done it. It’s is strange how something so small can actually totally change your daily life and how quickly it has along with a PC or internet connection of some sort, is now part of me personal recommended things you require to stay sane in a housebound world. I have never envied those who were housebound as little as 20 years ago, their trials would have been a million times worse than mine. A long time ago I said that I thought that the NHS should supply a tablet or PC in the homes of all those who are housebound, along with lessons for those who need them, as the contact through social media is life changing when you have no one left to just sit and chat with at home. Add in all the other benefits of the web and it is without a doubt an essential lifeline that I don’t need to describe as we all know it’s wonders.
When I ran that LAN from my rooter to the TV, I still had doubts that it would be that much of a gain, but maybe enough for me to spend £5 on the cable, now I don’t think I watch anything other than programs between 6 – 9 pm and the News, when it was originally scheduled for. Daytime TV is enough to drive anyone mad, no matter how many channels you have, trust me they all show their oldest and least appealing programs at that time of day and all their best after I go to bed at 9 pm, catch up is amazing! I know that elderly people don’t like change, but spend some time showing them that all their favourites are there when they want them and I think even the most stuck in the past will come around to it and eventually thank you for showing them how.
I stressed myself terribly years ago at the idea of being stuck here in my home unable to do or enjoy anything. With poor eyesight and dexterity, all my past hobbies were closed to me and I saw nothing but long days sat on the settee watching bad TV or playing games on my PC. I honestly saw the bleakest of futures as I wasn’t even a great reader, my options seemed so slim, just as many might still see theirs. I could and can still remember my impression of what my future life would be like and trust me I don’t think anyone would survive it for too long. Imagine no social media, no hobbies, no visitors, a body that won’t even let you do something as simple as dusting your home. Imagine a life of total nothing. I honestly don’t know how those who were housebound 30+ years ago managed to survive at all, the boredom must have been unbearable and I fully understand why most of them suffered from depression. I have manage to avoid that hell, I do know all to well what depression is as I suffered with it badly many years ago, it isn’t a place I ever want to go again.
Avoiding depression isn’t just about being busy, it help a lot, but it more about having a feeling of still being of use, still having a purpose and being able to achieve something in this world. All of us have to find for ourselves what gives us that feeling, for some it can be as simple but important as parenting their children, housebound doesn’t only happen to those of us passed those years. For others well some manage to start and run successful small businesses from home, for me well I believe they call it my on-line presence, for me it is the contact I have with real people around the world and small difference I make to their lives by just being me, but bigger. Whatever it is you choose to do, it is that feeling daily of achieving that keep depression at bay, sounds simple but it is actually as much hard work as it took to earn a living, something I no longer do, but staying happy is more important when making money is impossible. On its own achievement isn’t the magic pill, but there is a strange thing about making other people happy, it makes you happy yourself and that is for me and many others that social media comes in.
I don’t count the number of tweets I send daily, nor do I count the number I receive but just reading how others appreciate what I do, lifts me minute by minute throughout the day. You don’t have to build a huge network as I have done to achieve that happiness, it just takes getting to know a few who you can connect with and they become your daily lift, just as they life you, you lift them and well happiness appears, depression has less space to make it’s way in. Add in quality entertainment, sources of learning to filling those hours we are forced into spending alone, the day gets shorter and shorter, as it’s not being alone that is our enemy it is being lonely that brings depression to the door of the housebound. I don’t have time to be lonely, or even alone, I don’t have time to be depressed.
There is, of course, one other factor, love, it’s a really important one and all you need is one person who loves you and you love in return. I know I am incredibly lucky to have Adam in my life, he is around me all the time in one way or another. Yes, he goes to work, but he is home every lunchtime, evening and every weekend, but he is also at the end of a phone and if needed I can call him anytime. I also have my daughter and although she is living at the other end of the country, she too is around me in much the same way. You don’t have to be physically with someone to know they love you, or to feel that love and it’s that knowledge that also protects you from feeling down or lost to life. There are many components to staying happy, most are there free to us once we are connected to them, but all of them take action on our part, we have to make the effort no matter how difficult it might feel at the start, once started it becomes easier and easier to stay feeling part of life and part of the world. Happiness once started has a funny way of taking over your life even when you thought your life was over, it gives you a new one.
There is one final thing that many miss when it comes to happiness and love, somehow they don’t just change your mood, they can also change your illness. I have noticed often that when my pain is bad, it is somehow easier to cope with when I’m happy. It doesn’t take the pain away, but it gives you a boost, lifting you enough to be able to deal with the pain just that bit better. I have lost count of the times that I have found myself laughing at my pain when I should have been crying, just because of a 140 character message or a simple “I love you” from someone I love to.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 14/03/12 – Changing Direction, or not?
I have gone 2 full days without any real changes. The spasms have settled down, as is normal I am not free of them but mainly they at a level that allows me to live. I called the ‘Rehab’ team yesterday and as I have found regardless what these teams call themselves, you only ever get to speak to an answering machine. So once again I am fulfilling my role as a patient, in both senses of the word.