Home Alone: The Battle Against Boredom!
As I sit in my living room, flipping channels while my dog basks in the late morning sunlight, I’m struck with an all-too-familiar feeling. One that I never quite expected when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis way back in the year 2000. I figured there would be pain, anxiety, even some depression. However, I never expected this particular emotion to be so prevalent in my life. I’m speaking about boredom. Being a single, 40 year old man on disability, who’s not supposed to drive, leads to having a lot of solo time with nothing to do (or being able to do nothing). This leads to a significant amount of uninteresting downtime, which has some real consequences on my life.
Finding others who understand
Now, I’m not writing this article because I’m bored, well, not totally anyway. Like much of what I write about, I imagine I am not alone in this situation. Though it never solves my problems, I know I always feel a little better when I know someone else actually understands what I go through. Someone else who “gets it”. I have a feeling a lot of people will understand this all too well. There will still be many though, that will wonder how I’m bored, or even wish they were in my situation. That can be a bit maddening to hear, so I’ll explain some more.
Just being home doesn't make problems disappear
Being home alone, well, ok, I do have my dog Ferdinand with me (and I shudder to think what my life would be like without him during the day) is not the cakewalk that you might think. You have a dog, why don’t you walk him? Well, I do, except there are times I can’t (the whole MS thing can make walking, even standing, difficult at times). You could read something! Well, yeah, I do sometimes read, except when MS stops me there too (and I should note that, the cognitive issues that affect my ability to read every bit have an effect on watching TV as well). As I’ve said before, I build a lot of LEGO sets, but again, various issues can stop me there too. That’s sort of the big point here: the issues that led to me being forced onto disability still affect me when I’m at home. Just being home doesn’t make those problems disappear.
Living in a rural area doesn't help
In my current situation, living in a somewhat rural area and not being supposed to drive, I can really be hamstrung. I can even be having a good day or a good few hours and I’m still pretty much stuck. I can occasionally rely on Uber to get somewhere, but again, a semi-rural area means those aren’t as prevalent and can get expensive. So on those days when I can do any of the numerous things you might suggest to fill the time with at home, I can still get bored of just being in the same place for so long. One of my biggest issues with my state in life is that I can easily end up stuck in the house for almost a week at a time because I either feel bad physically, or don’t have transportation, or a mix of both.
It's a hard cycle to break
Being stuck at home and bored sounds unpleasant but it’s also a hard cycle to break. I’ll tell you this: in my experience, the longer you stay stuck at home, the harder it is to leave. The longer I go without seeing and talking to others, the harder it is to do it when I have the chance. I do have a roommate, but she works full time and also spends time at her significant other’s place. So not only do I have stretches of not leaving the house, during some of those, I may not see another human being. That can be hard and lonely, but it can also be downright scary when it begins to feel normal. It makes going into the real world so much harder.
I try to drag myself out
I don’t have a ton of solutions to this. Again, there are many times where I can’t physically do things, and it’s hard to combat that. I do try to make an effort to get out of the house at least once a week (I have a standard meet up with friends with guaranteed transportation every Thursday), that’s extremely important to me and I try to drag myself out for that no matter how I’m feeling. For the most part, my coping hasn’t been about stopping the boredom as much as it’s been really savoring the times when I’m not bored. It’s focused on making the most of all of the moments where I feel decent enough to be active, and really appreciating each time I leave the house or go hang out with friends. That doesn’t make me less bored, but it does make life a lot more bearable.
Thanks for reading!
Does your employer provide workplace accommodations due to your MS?