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Making Online Friends Changed My Life

After becoming incredibly ill and home bound, I not only lost my social life but also some friends along the way. This was devastating and heartbreaking because these were the friends I thought would stick with me through the darkest moments. A couple years have now passed, and I have now recovered my social life in a different way that benefits my newfound boundaries with my body.

I started making friends through gaming

About a year into falling ill, I started playing a lot of video games to pass my time. It was simultaneously a way for me to escape, but also a way to feel more present and actually enjoy my time while being stuck at home day in day out. Along the way, I started meeting people through these games and eventually became good friends with some of them, which entirely changed the way I viewed what it means to have a social life.

I reinvented what it meant to have a social life

Pre-illness, my social life meant leaving the house, going to parties, for drives with friends or grabbing a coffee and going for walks. Unfortunately, many of these things are out of the question now. Dealing with large groups of people, let alone leaving the house, is a big stressor on my body. For a long while I thought that meant the end of my social life. As time passed, I realized I could redefine what it meant for me to have a social life and what it would look like to me.

Discord has become a game-changer

Discord is an instant-messaging social platform, where you can chat in different channels to discuss various subjects, video chat and even stream games to your friends. This helped me immensely because not only could I choose between typing in a channel on my bad days or video calling on my better ones, but it was also a way for me to play games with a community of people who also enjoyed being online from the comfort of their home. It made me feel less alone.

Before I had felt an intense sadness about being stuck at home, while watching everyone else my age goes out with friends. But through Discord, I realized there was also a large portion of people out there who do choose to stay home. They helped me learn to enjoy it rather than dread it. There was also no disappointment with these people like there were with friends that I had IRL. I would constantly have to cancel plans and be left with this guilt, whereas with my online friends it was more accessible for me without disappointing anyone because I was hanging out within my limitations.

Having online friends makes me feel like I took my life back

Now that I have a social life that can be easily manageable within my body’s limitations, it feels like I’ve taken control over a part of my life that I thought I had lost forever. It may look different now, but nonetheless was still achievable and now a space that once felt empty feels whole again. I feel a joy in my life that was missing for so long.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AxialSpondyloarthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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