Loneliness & disability

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I stumbled across an article earlier this week that really shocked & saddened me, it was an article on BBC ouch that was titled ‘Why are a quarter of disabled people  are lonely’ this report was made up of survey results from disabled people 23% said that they feel lonely and isolated on a daily basis so why is this and why isn’t more being done to change it?

Reading articles like this one really get to me as it makes me realise that the way I felt growing up was perfectly normal sadly,  loneliness is one of the hardest feelings I think there is to deal with and while it is something that everybody deals with. I do think  a lot of research is put into helping older people who may struggle from loneliness due to no longer working or loosing friends due to age but not much seems to be put in place for young disabled people who can’t socialise, I do think it can be harder if you have some sort of disability or something that may make you feel different to your peers, as it may be harder for you to gain friends in the first place. I know for me it was struggling to do what other children found easy that made it harder for me to socialise comfortably because I always felt somewhat less than my peers. Even at the age of 25 I still struggle to socialise in certain situations due to poor access into certain places or just basically my awful shyness and I genuinely think that more needs to be done to help young disabled people to overcome these barriers and make lasting friendships.

This article highlights a number of reasons why people with disabilities find it really hard to make and maintain friendships e.g poor access, lack of money or low self esteem which are all perfectly understandable reasons to me as someone who has a disability myself but one of the most shocking facts this article brought to light was that a huge 67% of the British public admit to avoiding communicating with disabled people as they feel uncomfortable or just don’t know what to say which makes this another huge factor as too why people with disabilities struggle to make lasting friendships with their none disabled peers. I strongly believe that everybody should have at least one friend in life regardless of their abilities so more needs to be done to help people get out there and make connections, so my dream is to set up some sort of workshops to help people out with their social skills and hopefully give them a safe environment for them to make forever friendships.

So what are your guys thoughts on loneliness disabled or not, is it something you have struggled with or still do? If so what do you find helpful?

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10 thoughts on “Loneliness & disability

  1. Yes this is so true, there is a lot that’s not done and should be. Maybe weekly days out or just a get together now and then would help it doesn’t have to cost nothing a meet up in a local park or even a trip to the library is something and would make it something to look forward to.

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  2. I never really struggled with loneliness. I was lucky enough to have (and still have) caring friends that accepted me for who I was. I guess the hardest time for me dealing with my CP and when I did feel a bit of loneliness was about 5 years ago when I felt like the people I was around at that time did not accept me for who I was and honestly I just felt like I was a project that they needed to complete because they were all up in my ass about healing me on a daily basis.

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  3. As a child I never had trouble making friends. It wasn’t until my teenage years I started to feel isolated and in some instances isolated myself. When my teenage friends began under age drinking or doing things that were a little irresponsible they started to only invite me along sometimes. I called them ‘special Sara days’. I didn’t like that. I didn’t like being a part time friend but I also understood why they did it. I mean there’s a certain amount of responsibility when inviting someone with my level of disability anywhere. Another problem I found was that I was brought up in an integrated world. I went to mainstream school, mainstream clubs.. all my best friends were able bodied. That lead me to feel uncomfortable with the things they did have in place for disabled people because they weren’t inclusive. So I no longer felt I fit in with my able bodied friends but I didn’t want to feel like I was being lumped together with other disabled people either. If there is a positive I can take away from all this it’s that I learned to enjoy my own company. I never really feel lonely or isolated anymore or even bored. Though having a network of friends online also helps. I think that’s the great thing about the internet.

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    • It’s tough isn’t it Sara when you don’t particularly agree with how someone is acting but also understand in a way why they’re doing it, It’s funny how we both have completely separate experiences but can still relate to each others experiences. Everything in my life from day one was disability related, I went to a ‘special’ school & nearly all my friends were disabled which meant my system was in shock when I got to an age were I went out into the ‘mainstream’ world and I sort of resented not having the chance to intergrate more but like you still it also made me really comfortable in my own company and now I spend a lot of time alone not because I don’t have friends but because I enjoy it which is a lovely feeling to never feel alone, if that makes sense? x

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