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Why My Illness Makes Me Avoid Social Media

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It is hard enough to live in the condition my body is in: constant pain, weak, fatigued, exhausted, unable to consume solid food and unable to do normal daily activities and live my life. When I go on social media I see accomplishments of my friends my age, which only makes me feel worse. It’s not their fault; I’m sure they don’t realize how much it hurts. Social media is full of posts about getting new jobs, new houses, and expecting children. Hearing and seeing pictures of all these things reminds me that if I was working and living a normal life, like everyone else in their mid-20s, I could be doing those things too. Celebrating milestones, getting married, shopping for houses and thinking about having kids are all things I would love to be doing at my age, but instead I spend my life going to doctor’s appointments, arguing with insurance companies over coverage, getting blood drawn and going through countless procedures.

When people post on social media about things they have accomplished in a single day, I think if I made a list of my accomplishments for the day it would read: I got out of bed today, I did the dishes, I cooked so that there are leftovers for the next few day and I folded a basket of laundry. That’s all the energy I could come up with today.

It is especially hard during the summer months when I see pictures of everyone on vacation and on the beach. I love being outside and I love the beach. But in my condition it isn’t the least bit enjoyable. Going anywhere or traveling is so much work. I am beyond exhausted to begin with from the fatigue. Going anywhere away from home involves preparing and taking all my own food with me, having to ensure I have chances to rest throughout the day and ensuring I’m never very far from a bathroom. Traveling also carries a high level of anxiety in terms of becoming sick. My immune system is so much weaker than the average healthy adult’s and I am extremely susceptible to catching a virus. It takes my body three to four weeks to fight off a cold, and that is in the best case scenario, if it doesn’t turn into an infection. So the majority of the time it’s just better to stay home.

Social media is a reminder to me of all the things I would love to have the ability to do at this point in my life. It makes me recognize all I am unable to do because of my illness. It is hard for me to see others my age doing the things I would love to be doing, so I avoid social media and communicate with my friends in other ways.

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Originally published: November 21, 2016
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