This week's column on English Informer in France focused on a situation where the writer is disabled and feels alone and frustrated much of the time. You can see the original article here: http://www.englishinformerinfrance.com/full-article/Feeling-Isolated
19th April, 2016
Dear Dr Jules,
I am in a wheelchair 90% of the time, my wife works all day and I have 3 children who are all at school. I get frustrated because of funds I only get out when she can take me. Friends come around sometimes but I think they are even fed up now. I am so bored and don't know what to do. Funds are low and I think there is nothing much left for me until everyone comes home at 6 pm
I can sense your isolation and frustration very clearly, and can see how it would be easy to begin to feel your sense of self worth decreasing. Unfortunately, too much alone time is not a good thing, as you are finding out, so it is important to find ways to keep occupied or feel connected with other people. You might think friends are fed up with you, but that could also be your low mood talking. Invite people over if they have time, and make sure you don’t dwell on your problems when they are with you. Ask about their lives and maybe suggest they can help you get out of the house for a bit. If you have access to a smart phone or computer then it is also a great idea to get involved with some groups via social media such as Facebook or online organizations that either share your interests or offer support to people who are dealing with chronic health problems. I am also wondering what you can do to be more involved with your local community and find voluntary work, or perhaps paid work you can do from home?
I know it must feel like you don’t know where to start, but staying home alone all day can lead to depression and feeling hopeless. I really encourage you to see your value, and the importance of fighting hard to show your kids how great you really are. You have three great children and a partner, and they need you! Make a list with them of all the things you can do start filling up your days, and then pick one small thing you can do right now and start there. Let your kids encourage you each day with each step forward. It is amazing how these things can snowball!
If you are feeling isolated and stuck with your life, then counselling can be helpful in providing support and a non-judgmental space to explore your options.
For more in-depth help and counselling, consider contacting Dr Jules in person