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Being home alone


dawn
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Hey everyone,

I remember the "good old days" when I couldn't wait for everyone to go somewhere so I could have alone time. Now I panic when I'm left alone. I'm making myself sick over it. I"m afraid to shower (what if I faint?) I'm afraid to go upstairs (what if the tachycardia doesn't stop?) I notice every skipped beat in my heart. I pace around the house. Watch (try) TV. Call friends. The whole time I'm in panic mode.

It is ridiculous but real.

Wondering what you all do to cope? :)

Dawn

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I don't get scared being along, but my husband works 5 minutes from our home. One thing I do though, when I'm going to be alone, is I have someone help me set up everything I'm going to need around my recliner chair and I spend most of the time sitting. I have the phone next to me, my gatorade or ginger ale full, any activities I might want (knitting etc) next to me and I really don't havet to get up much except to pee.

Don't know if you've tried all this, but I hoped it might help.

~Roselover

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I live alone and can very much relate to your fear. We are all different so I don't know what will work for you or what you find most helpful. I will just share some things that have helped for me.

1-If I'm anxious or have a panicky feeling and it seems to be a general fear (for example, "What if my heart starts racing, or what if...") then I try to remind myself that MANY times I am really okay. Sometimes bad things have happened but I remind myself that I've always been able to handle them.

2-If I'm having a particularly bad day I make a plan ...I need to call a friend and ask them to come over, or call a friend and tell them I'm not feeling well and ask them to please check in with me every hour or two (or whatever your need may be) just to make sure I'm okay. This helps me because I know (living alone) that someone else will know relatively quickly if I'm in trouble.

3-I also do what Roselover mentioned...keeping the items I know I need or will most likely need close by at arms reach. I now live in a smaller apartment as opposed to a 3 bedroom house but particularly on my bad days I have all my phones plugged up strategically placed so that there is a greater chance than not if I need a phone one will be easily accessible.

4-When my anxiety seems to be high yet my body is not acting up too much I then know that, for me, it's a much bigger "mental" battle (that's NOT to say it's in your head ...just means it may have to be approached differently). If watching tv doesn't help get your mind off of it then maybe you could find something else to try to take your mind off of things...write a note to someone, do some research on the internet, take a bath, play a game of solitare...something that might not require much physical stamina but yet engages your brain so that hopefully you can divert the attention away from the anxiety.

I also notice that if I have a "safety" plan I feel much calmer. I keep track of what friends are in town, which are traveling on business so I know who I can call, I have a phone nearby, I try to always have some food I can just grab and eat that I don't have to prepare etc.

Dr. Phil once said, don't play the "what if" game unless you are going to complete it. This has really helped me. When the "What if" statements come I make a plan and it does reduce my anxiety. Then you have to keep reminding yourself that you are going to be okay (I know this is easier said than done sometimes).

Hope something here will help you!!

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I'm pretty much the same as Roselover. I set myself up with lots of fluids and snacks around my bed, along with my phone. I try to do a lot of quiet activities like reading and watching tv. I have my laptop computer on my tummy usually :lol:

One thing i don't do while home alone is shower if i don't feel up to it. I usually wait until my mom is around in case i have trouble. If i feel ok, though, sometimes i'll give it a shot.

In my eyes, the worse case is for me to pass out. If that happens, i'll end up flat and my body will correct itself by getting blood to my head. Though passing out is terribly unpleasant and inconvenient, it's really just a great safety mechanism to keep your brain alive. Normally i can feel it coming and sit myself down quickly.

I know how scary it can be to be alone when you feel really sick. It's a natural reaction. I think that having a plan if something does go wrong is probably the most comforting thing you can do for yourself. Lying in bed is also another comfort for me...just knowing i'm safe from harming myself helps.

Kristen

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I'm alone all day and I guess it's never really bothered me, not sure why. My biggest fear is my hubs or son will come home and find me in trouble of one sort or another. But I just realize I have no control over what's going to happen and I just refuse to panic. I can't tell you how I do it. I know that doesn't help, but it's all I can offer. I do one thing differently. I tend to only take showers when someone is here, but I refuse to let them stay in the bathroom or anything. I feel that feeds into any anxieties I might have. morgan

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Try to relax and stay mentally busy. Keep phone on hand with important numbers and know your limitations. I am home with a baby 12-14 hours a day mon-fri and now more with spouse deployed. I try to call family or friend by noon everyday. That way if (my especially) no one has heard from me then someone will call. Since the only place I go where I have to drive is Food lion, target or Dr appt then I am always back in a hour. I always let a neighbor or My Mom know if I plan to go for a walk. They know I will be back in 20-30 min and I check back in as soon as I return.

Well, Baby is up! Got to Go

Pam

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Shower in the sitting down position, and don't try to boil yourself in tub or shower.

That is one thing I miss so much! As soon as I get company that will watch the little one and that I am comfortable with them helping out of the tub, I go soak away the stress (while enjoying cold water or gator aid in a glass)

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Great thread. Dawn, thanks for starting it.

One of the worst problems for me, besides being too debilitated to take care of myself for days on end, is the loneliness - not being able to socialize, other than by phone or internet.

And, since I cannot sit or stand for any length of time without some kind of symptoms, (not the least of which is chronic exhaustion), how do people make themselves meals? Or does anyone use meals-on-wheels or something like that?

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To make meals I have a barstool. My parents bought me big comfy barstools last Christmas. I have two in the kitchen and I use on when I cook. The other I use in the bathroom to sit while I do makeup and hair (usually a ponytail!).

I have found that it is challenging to cook, but I stick with smaller recipes like Cooking Light's 6 by 6 and other recipes with few ingredients and little time spent over heated burners. I'm still working on it, but everytime I can actually cook a meal- I feel like I have conquered the world! :)

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I agree with many of the posts. Especially regarding "staying connected" with people. (via cell phones, etc.)

I enjoy listening to music. I find that if it's completely quiet for too long I feel kinda "buggy". Then on the otherhand a little peace and quiet is good at times.

It sounds like many of us are home alone along with you! :)

Lisa

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TV dinners!! Okay, as bad as that sounds, that's practically what I live on. Swanson's makes a microwave pot pie. I, too use a bar stool in the kitchen. If I make something in the crickpot I feel like I've really cooked something!

When i'm home alone I keep things I need around me and keep my cell phone in my pocket. I'm at a point where I only get dresses that have pockets.

I sit in the shower. If I'm having a good day I will take one when I'm alone otherwise I wait until hubby is home.

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Good topic! Being home alone or doing anything outside the home by myself was a big struggle for me at first too. I am pretty much the same as everyone else. I always keep the things that I need near me. And the most important thing is the phone and cell phone. Whenever I'm feeling the least bit scared, I always call a friend or family member to talk to me. If I am really scared, they can talk me through my fears. Or sometimes, it just helps to have someone to talk to and distract you from whatever you're worried about, even if you are talking about something unrelated. I also have a Medic Alert bracelet in case I can't reach anyone during an emergency. I have gotten less scared about being by myself over time.

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I don't mind being alone now as much as I did when I first became sick. My husband doesn't work too far from home and he keeps his cell on when he's out. I also have a neighbor who I can call if it's an emergency.

What I am worried about is when my husband has to go out of town. He's going to be gone for over a week in October and I'm not looking forward to it. I'm going to have to come up with a good back up plan for when he's gone.

It's kind of a weird feeling to not want to be alone. When I was healthy I enjoyed being alone and wasn't dependent on anyone. This feeling of being dependent is something I'll never get used to.

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I eat lots of quick things and when I cook its enough for 3 people for 3 days. I chow tith my baby. I call it my toddielers and wobbelers diet. Cheese cubes, grill cheese, soups, cans of veggies hot or cold served, macaroni and cheese (quick variety) and add meat of any variety with any of the above. She is just geting into the whole eating the real bannana thing and its hilarious. Since I think we are both 1/2 monkey we eat bannasas every am and stretch together on the floor.

I also have two good portable handrails. One is Cupid (11month old 130lb Great Dane) and Copper (1.5 year old boxer mastive mix). Both come lick my face if I fall down. Cupid reminds me at 5:00 am that I need to get up for my meds and his food, and he will help me up from the bed of floor. I grab is harnss he pulls slowly, wates for me to get balance and we continue this process until I get to the door. Copper goes and gets things for me, like the remote, my shoes ( I don't always need them but just in case..). Seriously. With out traing the dane he knows to wait and go slow with me.

As for showering, I try to invite myself into my husbands shower. He doesn't complain. And He gets a laugh or two watching me try to rinse my hair and hold onto the wall a the same time. He is a big help though.

Anyone vacumed or mopped,swept or vacumed while sitting or crawling?

Pam

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Hi,

Great topic. I am home alone a lot. It surprises many of my family and friends but Jim has to work. Most days I am home alone 10 hours or more. I do not take showers except when he is here. I keep a phone with me at all times bathroom and back, Mayo at jacksonville suggested that. I am mostly bedridden so Jim leaves me everything I will need for the day. Last year we bought a microwave for the bedroom. It sits a step away and he leaves me lunch and sometimes dinner in a cooler and then I just zap it. It has helped a lot. My side of the room does tend to get cluttered because I keep things near me I will need. But somedays isn't it soooooooo hard when you realize that you can't go to the store when you want something like chocolate :-) or a video when there is NOTHING on. I try and not think of not being able to do waht I once could or even daily living stuff people take for granted cause it makes me crazy but somedays it is very hard to wait for everything!! I am not complaining about Jim, he is really wonderful and tries but I wish I could get a hershey bar a magazine and a romantic movie ya know! The other day I got a call and it was a lady outside with a flower delevery. I thought I can go to the door and answer it and get the flowers. BAD IDEA! I almosted fainted right at her feet. Had to sit on the floor and she was looking at me like I was crazy. That was so frustrating becuase I can't even open my front door. Arggh! Sorry didn't mean to go off on that just wanted to say I understand. The fear well I guess I have learned waht to do if I am going to faint SIT! and if I get to sick I call Jim and when he is out of class he can call me back. We have plans for real emergencies but sometimes it is a bit difficult to get a hold of him and on days he is worried he takes his cell phone in to school and I know I can interrupt his lecture if I have too. With time I think you will get more use to it and when you do feel that coming on and when I do I turn on the tv or I come to dinet and type or read away.

Hope this helps.

Get a microwave in your room it is the new chic thing to do ! :lol::lol:

I can go on!

Stacey :-)

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I usually call people and talk to keep my mind off any anxiety I might have.

If I get really scared i'll call my son---or a friend to come over for a visit.

My husband works as a letter carrier, and he is back in school again at H & R block taking tax classes.

He received his bachelors degree already in accounting, but would like to get a little experience----so he'll do taxes this season which means i'll be alone more often. That's OK because i'm used to it, as he was finishing up his degree when I was at my worst. He'll be in school from 6:30 to 9:30 Tuesdays and Thursdays for 16 weeks. He has his cell phone on him at all times. WE both use our cell phones to call eachother----cell-to cell----we have free minutes.

Even though I was pretty sick the last three years or so---after the Big crash I managed to do quite a bit----although I realized I can't work outside of the home. Now i'm struggling to do errands---and simple outings. I had to take my car in today to have scratches repaired---(of course $250.00 deductable- :lol: )Not a nice time---not at all, but I made it home. I had to drive a pontiac montana (rental car)----verses my honda accord-----that was weird. It's was bigger---and difficult to adjust to while having more POTS moments.

When my husband is working and going to school, I have more responsibilities---and more errands to run. He still tries to help the best he can---especially since I have crashed so hard this summer.

I don't mind being alone----but don't you all get really really bored? :lol:

I used to work 10 hour days and go to school. I didn't always work 10 hours, sometimes 8----depending on how busy the week was.

I'm finding it harder and harder to go out---as steering the car is even difficult, and just walking is getting more difficult. Having POTS, EDS, and upper spine compression is starting to take a toll on my ability to be mobile. the end result is that i'm home more, and a lot of the time alone. The good news is that I know how to adapt. And of course I have all of you wonderful people----a blessing for sure. :D:D:D

Oh---and let's not forget---I have my wonder two cats-----Spencer, and Samantha----and my loyal doggie India-----a big big help in the lonely department.

Julie :0)

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I am more cautious when I am home alone. I am careful what I do. I keep my meds and a phone nearby. I let someone else know if I am symptomatic, in case I need them. I keep things easy to grab to eat or easy to cook incase I feel to ill to cook. I have had to be home alone after major episodes, and after surgeries in the past year. These things worked for then, and after the surgeries I just remained in bed as much as I could and kept anything I may need close at hand.

Over time with these comforts and a plan, my anxieties of being home alone and sick have diminished.

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Guest Finrussak

the 2 things that help me most when alone are keeping a notebook by me to record all meds and any unusual symptoms...even the local emt squad now knows to look for it...so even of Im unconscious they can tell whats going on. I take it from room to room with me...and when Im out of the house I take a 2 page summary of my conditoon, meds, allergies and doctors whose care Im under...the squad knows to look for this paper too!

The second is a Lifeline button...the "Ive fallen and cant get up " type...they are not just for seniors....when alone I can even wear it in the shower BUT I dont yet sdhower unless another adult is in the house. And I also use the cell phone buddy system...I have a portable At&T set that came with 2 phones...1 in charger and one always within reach...I programmed speed dial for the emerg squad and my relatives as well as a close neighbor...and all those who know me know that If I am phoning them yet not responding...Im in trouble. The lifeline is great because if I feel even a little faint and press the button it auto dials into the hospital where a live person asks me if I need help. I can tell them I feel funny and theyll stay on phone several minutes until it passes OR until I say to call ambulance (or even an emergency contact of my choice). Plus if as Im going down I press the button and they dont hear me answer they know to send an ambulance AND call a contact.

It is a level of security for very litttle per month. Most hospitals now service these things.and it is amazing that it can hear me from every room in my home and even out to the end of my driveway so gardening is safer too.

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I agree with what others have said about keeping the phone nearby and staying in bed or sitting.

I've also been looking into is those senior monitors: You can purchase the service for about $30 a month in my area and they seem like a good thing.

Right now, my mother's staying with me so I don't need the service, but when she leaves I'm getting it. Still, even if I'm left alone for twenty minutes or so I get nervous, but I tell myself that I haven't died yet, even when my symptoms were awful, for some reason that makes me feel better.

-lauren :)

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Thank you for all your responses. So many good suggestions. I did just purchase the Claire Weekes CD on Panic, she did a radio show that they have now put on CD. It was very good. I have only listened to it once, will need to listen several times to "get it."

Thank you all so much again. :)

Dawn

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i've never had issues with panic or anxiety re: being home alone (or otherwise) but definitely have struggled (and am struggling) with other aspects of the issue. just a few things to add to all that's already been put on the table...

i too use a stool for the minimal cooking i do, as well as dishes, the bathroom sink, etc....

if having a good day i might be able to cook something simple & save it for days to come. i miss cooking A LOT as i really like it, but just don't have the ability to do it much these days. especially since starting school. if i do it at all, it's generally my sole activity for the day...

i've found that the parents bringing food to fill my fridge/freezer is a great help:-)

short of that, i'm a fan of TV dinners. i know which ones are the "good ones" and they have the added benefit of being high in salt. canned soups are also good. as are simple things such as sandwiches, hummus/pita, yogurt, etc....things that don't really require "prep." but i'll admit that there are times i can't even handle a TV dinner or throwing turkey on bread & will just grab a handful of turkey & the pretzels next to my bed...

i'm also a fan of keeping things i need close by. my mom commented once that my bed is a sort of "island" b/c when i'm having a rough time anything i need is within reach of my bed...

pamela - i loved hearing about your dogs!! i don't have my kitty trained quite so well yet....he knows when i'm not feeling well but hasn't figured out yet what to do about it beyond being a bedfellow...

i have never had an issue with boredom my entire life, but i do get tired of not being able to do things that i would like to be doing. and i get lonely b/c of having to use all that's in me to do the necessities & thus having little social interaction with people...this has been even more accetuated since moving b/c in baltimore i had friends that i could see at least periodically; not so in cleveland & i'm hardly able to get out in the social scene to meet people. i'm hoping that i'll connect with folks at school more but it's hard when i'm not able to do much outside of make it to class...

for me i find being alone easier at times when i'm not feeling well - as long as it's not to the point where something new/scary is going on - b/c i don't play the game of trying to pretend i'm doing better than i really am. that said, not having anyone i know well closer than my parents 2 hrs away isn't the best either...

B) melissa

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