You Don’t Have To Be Lonely When You Have A Stoma

Nathan In Nyc

Hey! How is everyone doing?

With the coronavirus lockdown still in place I thought now would be perfect time to talk about feeling lonely and the struggles of loneliness with an ostomy in general. 

Feeling lonely is one of the most crippling things. That feeling of not being able to reach out and talk to anyone about what’s going on in your head is honestly so scary. The mind can be a horrible place sometimes – trust me, I know from experience! 

For many years after my ileostomy surgery I would feel completely lost and just feel like I had nowhere to turn. I am so grateful for my family, they helped me through it all, but I always felt like no one really knew what I was going through. People can sympathise with you but unless they have been through the same thing or similar, no one ever truly knows. 

I feel the same about Stoma Care Nurses, as much as they are there and have trained in that area, they never TRULY know what it is like to have an ostomy..

Loneliness can take many forms, I found myself crying a lot and just thinking very dark thoughts about things and my life. Other people that I have spoken to found that they would hang out with the wrong crowds or they would turn to drink and other things to fill the loneliness. None of this truly works and you really need to get to the root of it, rather than replacing it with something else. 

Before my ileostomy surgery I wasn’t on any social media - which is funny to look back on because I legit spend my life on all of them now! 

I feel like joining the world of Facebook was a big turning point for me. There are SO many groups on there and people that have had the same or similar experiences as me, that it instantly made me feel less lonely. I felt like people could relate to what I was saying. I could put a post on a group and know that I would get the help or a response that I needed. 

I have made some lifelong friends through social media and that in turn has made me feel less lonely and helped build my confidence back up.

Some of my best friendships were made through social media and it has given me so many experiences that I never thought possible. 

Social media gets hate too, and rightly so – there is a lot of negativity out there, but it can be used for good and I wouldn’t be without it because even to this day, if I feel like I need someone to talk to – I know there is always someone out there that is willing to listen or if anyone else is feeling as low as I did, I always try to help build them up. 

If social media is not your thing though, there are many ostomy groups in many areas around the UK which I think is great! If you are more of a face to face kind of person – these groups can really help to get you out there with people that have experienced the same thing as you. This way you don’t feel like an alien in a room full of people. 

It’s taken a lot for me to learn that I’m not alone in this crazy world of ostomies. 

You actually find that a lot more people have issues with their guts than you originally thought! Which is both a relief, because you’re not alone, but also scary because why are so many people having problems?! 

I’ve also found that when you feel comfortable with what has happened to you and you are okay to talk about it openly, people tend to gravitate towards you because they see how strong you are. 

When you have stoma surgery, you become part of the ostomy family and we are all in this together - never forget that! 

Until next time! 

Nathan x

by Nathan Wheeler

Nathan Wheeler

About the author

Hello - I'm Nathan Wheeler! I'm a YouTuber and I've had an ileostomy since 2007 when I was just 17, so I have a pretty good idea about how to deal with the struggles of a stoma!  I want to share my experiences with you and bring a light-hearted approach to all the questions that no one wants to ask! You can follow me an Instagram and YouTube.

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