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The tried and true methods for getting through being housebound or bedridden.
By
Stephanie Anderson

6 Mar 2020 - 2:52 PM  UPDATED 6 Mar 2020 - 8:07 PM

I’ve been chronically ill for nearly a decade. I have endometriosis, PMDD and a central nervous system sensitisation problem, as well as a bunch of stomach problems and mental illness, which often leave me housebound for days or weeks on end.

Rercently I saw this tweet detailing the government’s advice on how to cope with being housebound if you have to self-isolate because of Coronavirus.

I’ll be honest, my first thought - given that I’m currently in a period where I’ve been housebound for about a month, excluding medical appointments - was “I hate this!”.

This morning, though, I’ve woken up with a benevolent spirit. I thought, “Stephanie, you live this, you have a lot of good and useful advice for people who are usually healthy to help them through this difficult fortnight of their lives”.

Now, this advice may differ from the government’s advice, and I’m not saying they’re wrong. I’m just saying, these are the tried and true methods for getting through being housebound or bedridden.

Consider what your life would be like if you had to go through this all the time, and go forth knowing how lucky you are to exist in a body that’s not actively attacking you every single day. 

Abandon your daily routine

Give it up! It’s like a holiday, but depressing! Ignore your bedtime, take naps, sleep late, who cares! The entire structure of days and weeks means nothing now. Two weeks into my most recent experience being housebound, I had no idea what day it was, because it didn’t matter! Just set an alarm for when your quarantine is up, since you’re gonna have to get back to real life eventually.

Pretend to read 

Hold a book on your lap while switching manically between social media apps for hours.

This is for when you have good intentions to read a novel rather than staring at a screen, but your brain fog and attention span simply won’t work with you in order to follow your plans through.

 

 

Three-screen it

Sometimes when I’m really bored, I find myself binge-watching a series, while doing a jigsaw puzzle on my iPad, and then every few minutes I check my social media on my phone to see all the fun and exciting things I’m missing out on in the outside world. Is this good for your eyes? No. Is it good for your mental health? Also no! But I love it. Would HIGHLY recommend this

Make a to-do list and then don't complete it

The actual list-making doesn’t take up much time, but if you do it right, the part where you realise that you’re too fatigued and sick to actually accomplish any of the tasks and then feel the nuanced combination of guilt, laziness and frustration can take up hours. It’s unpleasant, yes, but it certainly helps pass the time.

Blankly stare at a wall

This can take as little or as long as you need it to! I’ve found this is a useful way to pass time through medication changes, days-long headaches, extreme bouts of nausea and dizziness, and of course, depression. The best part? It’s free! You literally just sit there and zone out because you’re too fatigued or sick to even consider doing anything else. No, it’s not like mindfulness. It’s the opposite of that, actually.

Get some perspective

See, here’s the thing. This is two weeks of your life that you have to find a way to live within the confines of your own house, which one can only assume is full of ways to entertain yourself.

If you are a usually healthy person, this is a frustrating inconvenience, but for the many, many chronically ill people in the world, this is the reality of our day-to-day lives.

Consider what your life would be like if you had to go through this all the time, and go forth knowing how lucky you are to exist in a body that’s not actively attacking you every single day. 

And there you have it. Hopefully you’ve learned some great tips from an expert in the field of chronic illness. You’re absolutely welcome.

Stephanie Anderson is a freelance writer. You can follow Stephanie on Twitter @stefinitely and Instagram @stefinitely85. 

 

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