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Dear Debra
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1852
Experience:  I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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Im trying to come to terms with my life and the way I see

Customer Question

I'm trying to come to terms with my life and the way I see it. All my life I've struggled through medical complications, treatment and recovery, as well as the social disadvantages growing up with a physical handicap.

Occasional acquaintance type relationships would pop up here and there but nothing ever developed into a meaningful relationship. In short, I have been alone to myself for almost 20 years.
You may find it even more astonishing that having 10 brothers and sisters didn't did not help my social life at all. My family was there to support me physically but never emotionally. No doubt, they care for me and were always there when I was sick. But, when it came to help me get out socially, in the public, they were nonexistent. I spent couple of days home alone and my siblings left to have fun.
My physical handicap makes it impossible for me to drive and venturing out on my own is risky because of breathing issues, though my health has improved lately which makes 4 to 5 hour outstrips more possible.
Nevertheless, only recently have I found someone who I may call a friend. The fact that my friend is married complicates our friendship in that we can go out as often as I would like. So, I do have a friend in spirit but not someone I can see and commiserate with on a regular basis.
So, why am I writing? As I look towards the future, I wish I could say I see something positive, some optimism, something to look forward to. Every time I become relatively healthy and have the chance to seek out friendships and social contacts, my health, in one way or another, fails me.
I have given up on the possibility of finding work outside my home, even though I desperately want that regular physical interaction with people, coworkers or even strangers. Working from home is the only option as I see it now. But, it is an option I consider reluctantly, as I feel this option means that I've failed.
I just cannot seem to make friends. One friendship and 20 years is ridiculous. I am not a jerk. Why don't people want to get to know me??? Some people say is my handicap that draws people away from me. Others say that is not me and besides why would you want to be friends with people uncomfortable with your handicap.
This may all be true. But I still have no one to go out with on a Friday night, to the ballgame, a local bar or movie or to even talk with on the phone. People remark that he can believe I've taken my difficulties so well and for so long, that I should be congratulated.
I suppose this is meant to be a compliment. But, it really isn't one at all. It just means that I failed to accomplish the basics in life, something other people with varying handicaps have easily conquered.
I'm always told not to compare myself with others. This is a bad habit and I should stop.
So, how am I supposed to look upon my life and the future with some sense of optimism? Why should I get out of bed in the morning?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 4 years ago.
I really want you to think about your personality and think about every amazing quality that you have and know that there are so many people missing out on a wonderful person. I understand it is very difficult for you to go out because of your health, but there are people out there that would love to be your friend, it is just hard because you having trouble going out some times. You are looking for your family to understand how you feel specially since they are able to go out and interact with others. Communication sites like facebook is a great place to talk to friends. I want you to think about joining a group that will fully understand how you feel. People have health problems that also need to talk and feel just like you. I want to tell you, you are never alone. Your family is there for you and helps you, but you need that emotional understanding and i feel you need to explain this to your family so they know how you feel. You asked about why you should get out of bed every mourning. You have gone through so much and you still strive and are a strong person that is here to make a difference. I feel that by talking to others that might be having the same problems as you could find comfort knowing they are not alone. There are so many people that would want to be your friend. A friend that on those days that you couldnt go out that they would sit with you and watch a movie, play a game, or just sit and talk. Communicating online might open up the doors to finding that special friend who will see the amazing person you are. If you have any questions i am here to answer.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

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I have met approximately 3 people, all with disabilities, online and do interact with them on Facebook. It is a great way to talk to people but, like I said, does not merely take the place of intimate personal contact, not to mention all of them live in other states and overseas.


I didn't always feel this way, this emotionally vulnerable. But, as my dad, my rock, gets older I worry if I can rely on a family. I say this with all due respect. They have been there for me many times, physically. But, like I said, their track record is not the best way comes to maintaining my emotional health.

I did tell them my feelings of loneliness, despair and feeling isolated over the years. As a response, they have made it a point to come over more often. Still, when they come, they come to relax and be present, nothing in the visits are encouraging as I hope to get out more often.


You said I am strong, thank you. And, you said there are many people wanting to become friends with me... really? Well, I am not in my 20s and finding people to talk with and have fun with seems to get more difficult as one gets older.

I've tried going to various social website get-togethers but after three years nothing has come of it. That may be due to the fact that having to arrange and to pay someone to be with me when I go out to meet whomever can be challenging and expensive.


I know people have it worse off than me and that I should feel lucky to have what I have... and I do. It's just that I don't want to be alone as I get older with only family to associate with, not to mention that they probably don't want me around all the time either. After all, some of my family see me as a burden and responsibility they just don't want.

So, I have some resources to pay for someone to be with me when I go out, to a point. But, with my uncertainties about my health and living circumstances, I am very reluctant to go out too much, even though this will negatively affect my opportunities to meet people


so, I just can't be as optimistic as you. I want to do more with my life. But time after time after I get up after being knocked down, I've become more and more defeated as well as second-guessing whether I should even try again.


What do you think?
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 4 years ago.
You have mentioned you have met three people with disabilities online which i feel is a great start in helping other and also understanding what you are going through as well. I feel that by you can explain to your family how you feel but deep down only you know how you feel. I see your family trying, but they fully do not understand what you need. But i also see you are giving them that chance to learn. I dont want you to feel like you are a burden to anyone. That is your family and the love you. I dont want you to give up looking for that special someone. People enter others lives at the perfect time and there could be someone who feels like you that needs someone to have a friendship with. You have found three people that know how you feel, there has to be others in your area where maybe you both could go out and get that interaction you are looking for. You said you are tired of being kncocked down, but every time you got up, you got stronger and i still want you to try because everyday you are succeeding. You are pushing through knowing that things are going to change. I want you to look into if there are any groups that you can join, think about something you would love to do, like a hobby that you also ways wanted to learn.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You said every time I get knocked down I get stronger. On the contrary, I feel I have gotten weaker and less confident in my own mental stability, focus and ability to prioritize what is really important in my life

Expert:  Dear Debra replied 4 years ago.
I feel that you have been through so much that it has made you who yoou are today. You look at things differently because you know what is important in you life. You know what you want and how you feel about everything that has happened. You have overcome so many things and you feel you havent got stronger, but i feel everytime you made it through. Its just right now you feel discouraged because you know that things havent seemed to change. But they will, you cant get discourage you have to stay positive because it only takes one person to change someone life. You are meeting people online with disabilities and this helps you and them understand how they feel. Your family is always there for you, but they can not fully understand how you feel because they are not going through what you are going through. That is why it is important to explain how you feel.
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