I'm sorry for the delay in replying, this time. Usually I'm not "away" so long. I had a medical procedure on the 30th, and I'm just kind of catching up. It was something I haven't had before, for some of my pain--chronic pelvic pain, it's called. If I can find rides (as it involves sedation), I'll be having it monthly for awhile. This time, I only had 4 days relief, but each time I have it, I'll get longer and longer relief. Until eventually, I won't need it anymore. It only affects part of my pain, as my body has just forgotten how to relieve it's own normal pain, of any and all kinds. But the more I help it to remember, the more it will remember on its own.
Well I am also very glad you found this website and message boards. You spoke about asking for and receiving help and support, as well as giving help and support to others. And that's what I find to be the beauty and magic of message boards--or the potential anyway, as I guess some at other websites are poorly run. But here, anyway, I just think it's magically beautiful the way, when someone posts a message asking for support, they are at the same time helping others, who may be having the same problem, but are only reading, maybe too sick to post messages, or too shy, etc. Or sometimes someone will post a message about something that someone else doesn't have the courage to "talk" about, and they can be supported without having to. And of course, obviously when someone replies to a message, they help others.
I also have struggled with isolation. And while I am more physically isolated than I have ever been, I am happier than I've been in years, because this cycle of asking and giving that I've found in certain message boards and websites. You know, I can come here when I'm feeling well enough, and participate to whatever level I choose, without hurting feelings, or disappointing others, and also without inconveniencing others. Of course, there is a certain glass ceiling effect, because emotions can only be expressed to a certain point by typing and writing and reading. We miss so much without vocal inflections, tone, body language, touch. So it's not exactly like real life. But I don't have the energy to handle real life anyway. So it's just working out really well, for me.
Oh, yes, I know what you mean about the vicious cycle of low self-esteem and living in a private h***. I can't say whether I've worked through it, or whether I've just been more successful than usual, lately, at denial!! lol!!
One last thing that catches my attention in these messages, is "But I have a mighty spirit..." ! I also feel there is something in my spirit that has been my salvation, that is endlessly patient and hopeful, and that I'm learning to trust more and more every day. So I would say to you, never lose sight of that mighty spirit, and you'll be ok!
Take good care :-)