Chronically Living and how to make the most of it

Where Should I Make New Connections Online? with Amy Sinha

October 18, 2021 Kelsey Harris, Amy Sinha Season 2 Episode 17
Chronically Living and how to make the most of it
Where Should I Make New Connections Online? with Amy Sinha
Show Notes Transcript

Connections, community, networking. These are important for our well-being. We need support, but also we need to just engage with others as social creatures. Lifelong chronic illness warrior Amy Sinha joins me on the show to talk about where to find these connections and how to make them.
In this episode we talk about:

  • why connection and community is important for well-being
  • where to make new connections online
  • different types of connections to make
  • how to go about making connections

Guest Bio:
Amy Sinha is a British Asian vocalist, songwriter, present, voice over artist and entrepreneur from Wales, UK. She was submerged in music from an early age, performing in her first talent contest at age 6. She studied classical piano and singing, but developed a intimate love affair with jazz in her teens. She experienced some rare medical conditions in her early years, being declared as being one out of only 5 children like her in the UK at the time. She went on to graduate from Leeds College of Music with a BA (Hons) degree in music specialising in jazz. She released her debut album in 2012 called 'A Sin With Love,' then 3 more singles after that. She released 2 singles with a New York record label. She has a YouTube channel where she has interviewed musicians such as Ronnie Scott's Saxophonist, Derek Nash, Rat Pack Legend, Buddy Greco, and Clint Eastwood's son, Kyle Eastwood.
Check out Amy's website: www.amysinha.com
Follow Amy on Instagram and Facebook: @amysinha

Follow the show on Instagram @chronically.living_ and on Twitter @janevspain
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Kelsey Harris:

Are you feeling lonely? Have you lost friends and connections since your diagnosis? Have you tried to find online connections but you're finding it difficult connection Be it online or in person is essential for our well being. This week, my guest Amy Sinha tells us about how networking and finding community has improved for well being both pre pandemic. And now. Thanks for joining us this week on chronically living. I'm Kelsey Harris, chronic illness warrior and psychotherapist on chronically living and how to make the most of it, we're providing tangible ways to improve the well being of spoons. So get ready to make the most out of your life even with that pesky chronic illness.

Amy Sinha:

So my name is Amy Sinha. I am from Wales in the UK. And I am a voiceover artist, but as well as a singer and a presenter,

Kelsey Harris:

Amy has had chronic illnesses and disabilities her entire life giving her a different perspective than those of us who developed the majority of our illnesses later on.

Amy Sinha:

So I had cataracts when I was one and had an operation, they were fearful that I was almost going to go blind. But the amazing, amazing child surgeon saved my eyesight, a little bit of my eyesight, but it meant that I had to wear really big thick glasses since then tied with string. So that's probably my first memories. And then also when I was four, I got diagnosed with a rare medical condition called sensory neuropathy type two, which means that I can't feel hot or cold anywhere throughout my body, as well as light touch. So I don't know when I've hurt myself. So I can step on a pin crack. And the only way that I know is when I see the blood or it gets infected. Yeah, so it's quite difficult time but also meant that it's kind of similar to osteo arthritis. It's called charcoal joints. And it kind of got quite severe, early teens. So it was standing up was a bit of an epic and walking was extremely difficult, it was not very easy for me to like go shopping and just go out really or just walk around the house was really tiring. But that also meant that my spine is affected. So I stopped growing at the age of 11. So it's quite small. I am quite small when I was 19. And, you know, I think a lot of things caused it. But as I was about to go to music college, to study in Leeds, I was rushed into a hospital with ulcerative colitis. And I was very close to having my colon taken out. But my dad was a doctor. And he kind of found this drug that they used occasionally on certain patients. So he persuaded them to try the drug. And they gave it about eight hours. And then I had an X ray and just it went down like by point 5%. So that kind of saved me from having that operation. Otherwise my life wouldn't have taken another drastic turn downwards.

Kelsey Harris:

It makes me wonder what it would be like to have a parent who is a doctor when you have chronic medical conditions.

Amy Sinha:

It was great because he kind of knew that was going on. But it was also not so great. Because I think people know when you're like that you're a family member of doctors or dentists, you're never good patient, because you give some leeway. So in certain things when I should have gone to the hospital, I didn't because I just haven't what I don't like hospitals. So it was kind of my dad's a doctor, it'll be fine. I think that that's the only like downside of it. And it gets a little bit much I think all day you're like, like treating patients and then you got home and then you have to treat your family as a patient as well. I mean, it can be nice.

Kelsey Harris:

Struggling with resiliency is common for a lot of people, especially those of us with chronic illnesses. Growing up with these conditions. Sounds like it would require a lot resiliency. Here's what Amy had to say.

Amy Sinha:

I think back then I was lucky that I had two sisters, two older sisters, and they kind of pushed me. I mean, there's a lot of things that I probably wouldn't have done. They made me do they kind of made me go shopping, they made me try and be like a normal teenager. And my family's very musical. So that's where the music came in, I think and it kind of just gave a little bit of a kind of a breather from going to the hospital or hospital visits and constant doctor's appointments and feeling like a rat in a lab because I was only five and like me in the UK. So everyone wanted to know why and what was going on and but they didn't find anything unfortunately so years of being a rat is the only word I can think of really didn't really amount to a conclusion. I think I'm lucky I think if it wasn't for my family, I probably wouldn't have turned out the way that I am being so positive. I guess I did. I mean it's great to have my support system which I think Anybody, everybody needs that I think, although these days, the internet is an amazing thing, because back then we didn't have groups on social media. So it was just who you knew that they would refer you to. But now, I think it's an amazing thing. You know, you can reach out on the internet, somebody's got something that they can relate to. So yeah, but they did, they did really support me. And I think as I was growing older, I made more friends. And I think they were a really big help as well, that I again, I wouldn't be the person that I am today without them, like helping me and guiding me through

Kelsey Harris:

Amy's on the show today to tell us how networking and finding community that you fit into, can be helpful for well being because well, it's been helpful for us.

Amy Sinha:

So music wise, and I was singing networking wasn't really my thing. Because I used to go to say jazz clubs or, you know, music venues. So I just used to meet people Well, I'm not saying I used to drink a lot. But you know, when you get like, drink kemadrin, like, they don't want to in the morning, kind of like random before. And now we kind of my networking, but then when I tend to the voiceovers, I was silly since 2019, the latter part. And I was struggling because I was like, Well, how am I going to do this, because I didn't know how to meet people. I didn't know what networking really was about. So I mean, if a concert was a blessing, I probably I don't know, in one way, it was a blessing because when the pandemic hit, I mean, online networking did come to the forefront. And then I was like, wow, I find my answer to how I was gonna make this side of things happen. And then I just threw up things that I like to do, I like to throw myself into it so that I was networking on a daily basis. I would I mean, I actually subscribe to one here in where I live in Wales. And then I was also doing one in America, and it was free. So I would go on to live events every day, and try and meet new people and then do one to ones and that literally changed my perspective, I found my target audience, the business side of things kind of developed. And I learned a lot. So networking and meeting different people from around the world has been absolutely amazing and a lifesaver through the pandemic because I wasn't bored. You know, I had things to do. I wasn't sitting around getting depressed that nothing was was happening. I mean, I did at the beginning, don't get me wrong. I was like, okay, what's gonna happen? But yeah, it was networking is really helped a lot.

Kelsey Harris:

What is it from networking, that's been helpful?

Amy Sinha:

It's the positivity is meeting people who are going through the same thing, and who are looking to reach out not just on a business level, but on a personal level. And I think that we've come to kind of like a change this past year, where we're all using the word being authentic and their authenticity. And even when you're a business, you want to know the person or the people behind that business, because we want to resonate with you. So we don't want to know just what you're doing and what you offer. We want to know what your values are, how you can help us, but then how we can relate to you on an everyday level. And I think this online networking thing, this is what's come from it. So it doesn't matter where you are in the world doesn't matter what country you are from, we kind of all want to, you know, meet people we connect with, and you're not going to connect with everyone, like you do on a normal basis. And I think, but with networking online, it's been good, because it's okay, if you don't connect with somebody, that's all right. Move on to the next one. So in that sense, I think it's kind of cool.

Kelsey Harris:

Networking, and connecting socially with other people has a huge evidence base as being helpful for our well being. People are social creatures, so I'm not surprised. But the joy he gets from it with chronic illnesses. There are some other advantages of reaching out to others, especially online.

Amy Sinha:

Well, I think it's been helpful in the fact that I never used to speak about any of my illnesses. I mean, I've gone through all of my life, not speaking about it. So when I met people, especially in the music industry, they didn't know. I mean, I look back and I'm thinking why I didn't resonate with them wasn't really myself, because they didn't know everything about me. And this past year has kind of made me come out of myself. And I think for so long, I was just worried that I was just this odd person that nobody could relate to. And I think the whole networking, especially with my community, as well, and meeting people online in my area, that's kind of taught me that it's okay to celebrate everything that I am. And it's okay to be weird and come up with random stuff and say random things. And if people like me, they like me, but if they don't, then that's okay, too. So I think it's the support of just being who you are. And that's really, really helped develop, I think my voice that it is right now, otherwise I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing.

Kelsey Harris:

So it sounds like it's really helped you become almost more comfortable with yourself even.

Amy Sinha:

Yeah, that's the biggest thing. And then I think maybe I'm meeting people now that I have connections with because of it, whereas before I wasn't because I was hiding that and I think that networking It's funny. I mean, I didn't even know what zoom was last year. Like, what is this? like everyone's using it, I'm like, Okay. And I think that's really just I mean, I know there are other platforms out there, but it's just really help people connect and even like, elderly that feel so lonely, but we have like coffee mornings. And, and I think the whole virtual thing. I think people before never saw it as real. So they're like, unless you connect in person, you're not living in reality. But it is, we are connecting online. And that is still reality. And I think it's just changing your mindset. It's like online dating. It is reality, you are getting to know the actual person. I mean, it's change people's mind shift on what that actually means. I think it's just becoming a smaller place, the world is connecting more with each other.

Kelsey Harris:

And this brings up a good point, how is connecting online different from in person? Or is it different at all, and how it makes us feel?

Amy Sinha:

I think it's having more of an impact, because I can reach more people, I think, definitely on an international level. Because I mean, before I was only meeting people through Facebook, or Instagram, social media, but now there are other ways I think, in I think you can do more. I mean, nothing beats meeting people in person, don't get me wrong. I love it. You can feel the connection when you're meeting them in person. But I think for initial, I think this is great to just touch base, and then you can keep in contact with people. So I think this is something that's going to stay from here and now as well as the meeting in person. So I think we're going to combine it I think there's room for everything I really do.

Kelsey Harris:

I mean true. I'm sitting in my apartment in Canada, and Amy's in the UK. And this is you know, pretty common on the show I interview guests and all over Canada, the US, UK. And the internet really makes these connections happen, so why not appreciate it. After the break, we're going to talk about how to make connections online. Hey warriors, what if it was possible to get local fresh groceries delivered right to your front door, you could take a deep sea yoga with all that free time. Well instacart gives you unlimited grocery delivery for one low monthly fee. This is definitely better than paying for delivery on all those other apps. Forget that one ingredient you needed to make that super healthy smoothie instacart can deliver to your front door in as little as an hour. You can shop multiple stores getting all your favorites on a single order. instacart even highlights a deal so that you can save money. Get all the products you love hand selected by shoppers based on your preferences. They'll pick the freshest produce handle, keep your eggs safe to find everything you usually buy and get smart suggestions on new items. To get free delivery on your first order over $10 Follow the link in the show notes to let instacart know that we sent you and help to help support the show. With instacart, you'll never step foot in a grocery store again. I was wondering from a chronic illness perspective, if Amy had any advice about connecting with others online? The answer I got wasn't what I expected. But I love it.

Amy Sinha:

I think it's to find a hobby that you love something that you're passionate about maybe books I mean, I love books or TV films, and I love sci fi. So you know i'd look for groups and people that that love that kind of things. And then maybe just just dip your toe in the water and like Hi, you know, I'd love to meet more people who are passionate about what I am and then take it from there, there are loads of things online, look for groups, I mean, you've got to be careful, some things are not what they appear to be. So just a little bit a little bit wary, but then when when you found it, you know, then then don't be afraid to kind of connect and it's okay to be vulnerable. I think people put on this barrier, that they don't want to give too much of themselves because they feel like people are going to take advantage of them. And that can be the case and don't get me wrong. I know this just even networking in person, that's still the case. But then you have to at some point, kind of just give a little bit to get people wanting to get to know you before they you know they're going to be willing to kind of tell you all about them. So I just say that really just dip your toe in the water, be careful, but then just go for it.

Kelsey Harris:

What I love about this answer is that Amy doesn't just look to join groups or communities for people with chronic illnesses. She looks for groups to join where people have similar interests to her. And this is important for well being. It's easy to get into the mindset that my illness is all I am. But your illness is not only who you are, you're a person with many interests, needs, wants, desires, passions, and so on. I think joining groups that were presented those aspects of you can be as or more effective than joining chronic illness support groups. Not that there's anything wrong with those either. So now what about the downsides to online community?

Amy Sinha:

There has been I mean, I mean I watch catfish a lot. There has Yeah, I mean, I think I like meeting people on video. Because I think it's nice to have a face and hear the voice while I'm speaking. Rather than just texting. I think this is the problem with this texting or messaging, I find a lot of people just like to communicate over messenger or Instagram messenger. And I don't trust photos, I have to be honest, I really don't trust them. Because I know myself. Not that I put fake photos. But when you're taking your photo, you can take it from all sides, you can take it in the dark, it's just not trustworthy. So I think that's the biggest thing that I have found, you just don't know behind the picture. That is the one thing for online I think, on and especially in networking as well. And especially if people ask for your phone number, I mean, been on LinkedIn and like random people go, Oh, I'd like to connect. Oh, I see you're a voiceover artist. Okay, can I have your phone number? straight off? And I'm like, Well, no, no, you can't? Well, you can go to my website first. And then you see if I can help you and then see how I can help you. That kind of thing, rather than you know, and what your phone number? So yeah, and on all platforms, I think you've got to be a little bit careful. I think most people are pleasant, but then you do get you do get these quite a lot. Actually, I don't know why that happens. Because say that your posts are yours. So you have the right to post anything you want. And then you get these other people who want to invade in your thoughts and your your timeline. And you're thinking why, okay, I get your opinion, but you don't need to be antagonistic. You can have your opinions, but keep it like that, you know, a lot of people just see this a lot in politics or in business, and then you mix the two. And that unfortunately, that's where it kind of gets to. It's not a good mix, I find. So maybe separate different platforms, I find, this is my experience, don't keep personal things on LinkedIn, or really personal about your family and read much of your personal life. Or think about a little bit because I do but I think separate and don't put too much on social media, a lot of social media, because I think we put too much of ourselves on it. And people know too much and they can invade. And this is where the catfishing is linked that they can make believe something and you feel like oh, you resonate with them. But that's because they've looked through all of your stuff and and they can kind of fake resonate with you as well. I think that's the negative side. And also on YouTube. Especially I know with my singing Yeah. Like I put myself because I want to put myself and then you just get random people just a really negative comment. And I'm just like, why, why? Why do you feel the need to do that. So before it would affect me, and I'd get really upset. Because I've always been I really wanted people to like me. And what I do and now is delete, block and delete.

Kelsey Harris:

I would agree with me that the downsides are minimal compared with the upsides of online communities. But we do need to be careful, I think especially this last part with our feelings, it's easy to be hurt by what other people say. And we don't know where they're coming from. And we really need to take care of ourselves, whether it's blocking and deleting, like Amy says, or taking a bit of a social media break. Amy has a bit more advice for connecting in online communities

Amy Sinha:

take the opportunities when they come. And I go with your gut instinct. So I've had a lot of instincts over the past year that I know if I because the fear has always been there because of my confidence. So I've always had like this fear at the back of my head when I do new things or when I'm ready to take new steps. But I kind of find that I know that it's not real. So if I'm really ready, and I really want to do something that fair, I kind of try and push it to the background. And then I find if I do that and just take the positive steps that I want to take things work out. So I'm a strong believer that when you're doing something that you really love, one thing always leads on to the next. And I think with networking, I've done a lot. I've done a lot, probably more than most in this past year. Because I think that if you're going to do something, just give it 100% there is no in between. You're either in or you're out and I think this with every area in life, you just can't there is no room for being half hearted and things. So if you want to do something, just go 100% if you have a goal, and there's somebody that you want to meet, there is always somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody that could put you in contact with that person. So always reach out to people because it's happened to me I just I've always had like say what I want to do just random things. And then it's just miraculously it's happened. I'm like, Oh my gosh, how does that happen? And it's because I've just said to people, this is what I want to do. They've kept me in mind. And then somehow it's happened. So that really networking is an amazing thing. But it doesn't happen overnight. So if you meet people, they may not be who you want to meet at that time. But as I said, they may know a person who knows a person that can put you in contact. So don't give up. Just have that goal in mind. And just and just put the thoughts out there and just vocalize what you want, and then it will happen. 100% I totally believe that.

Kelsey Harris:

Amy mentioned that she was able to put her fear aside and that she has some advice for this, for this part of our conversation become a patron of the show. It's only $5 a month, and there is bonus content from every episode exclusively for patrons of chronically living. Music has been a consistent theme throughout season one and two of the show. So many of our guests have been musicians or just find that listening to music is beneficial for their well being. This is actually one of the reasons I chose the song question in the lightning round. The other reason being it's one of my favorite questions that Britney brown asks Are Yes. So let's talk a bit about Amy's music career.

Amy Sinha:

It's helped me a lot. It's helped me to come out of myself to be more confident with who I am. I mean, I've always been able to sing since I can remember. One downside of that was I took it for granted. So I never thought it was anything special. So in one way, it wasn't so good. I felt like everyone could do it. I felt like everyone had a voice. Everyone could sing. But because I was small, it helped me because I was known as the guy with the big voice. So everyone would recognize me, even if I didn't recognize anybody else. They would all know who I am. So in that sense, it was it was really good. And I think yeah, it just I, you know, I love jazz. I love the layers of it. In particular, I really resonated with that. I think pop songs, I felt it was just too easy and simple. And I just didn't like it as much as jazz. I know. And not everyone relates to exist too complicated, but I could sit there for hours, while one instrument would go on and go on and improvise. I absolutely absolutely loved it. And then when I graduated, I came back and I just joined a lot of bands. And I got into the jazz scene in swanzey. And a lot of popular jazz musicians came from Ronnie Scott's they would come here, a lot of American jazz musicians come here. And so I just tried to make my name, but they were very supportive, and they let me sing with them. So I kind of gained a reputation of being, you know, the jazz singer. And so that I wrote my own album. Again, I don't do things half hearted, I wrote one song, and then I thought, Oh, well, I'm going to write an album, this can't be really difficult. And after a few weeks, I wrote nine songs. I found some musicians, I recorded it, put it on iTunes, and Amazon had some professional photography taken which raise the bar, raise the bar, because everyone you know, likes to see professional photographs. But that also drew more attention. And I got noticed by this guy who created a record label in New York, and he wanted to collaborate. So we did that, which was amazing. And it always occurred to me, which I did you know, because of my physical restrictions I can, traveling is very difficult. And movement is always difficult. So I always thought of how I was going to achieve all the things that I wanted to achieve when and that's why I always put out there that thoughts are just so important, because I literally put the thoughts out there and things came to me people came here like Kyle Eastwood, Clint Eastwood's son came to the UK to perform and I got to interview him. And other Buddy Greco. He was amazing jazz musician. He also came to the UK to perform I got to interview him as well. So as you know, these things random things happen just in the little town of Swanzey. And I didn't have to go anywhere. So it really did help me a lot in being focused and knowing that if I really did want something, I could make it happen. And I think that's the biggest thing that all of this has taught me. Yeah, so what's your album called? It's called A Sin With Love. So is it My name's Amy a sin.

Kelsey Harris:

So let's do our lightning round questions. Okay, so what are the top five songs that describe your life?

Amy Sinha:

Okay, so my top five Okay, so my first one is called someone to watch over me and it is a jazz standard by George and Ira Gershwin. And basically it's about a song. I sang it personally when I was 16 and it's just about finding looking for somebody to like watch over watch over you for the whole you know, like it could be love or just relationships and friendship and that is really it is just defined my life since I was very young. So that's my number one. Number two is Friends by the Rembrandt's because I have amazing group of friends as you go through teenage years. And number three, I don't know if you've heard of it, but it's called Shine by Take That kind of thing, but is t kind of like just sticking to ind Have your goals and one day ou will kind of everything will ome to you. And the fourth one s Natasha Bedingfield Single ecause I've been single for a ot of the time but a lot of eople think that you know you each a certain age and you kind f have to meet somebody and t's kind of like social and you now community kind of put ressure on you have a lot of riends that you know, kind of orced people to get married hen they're not really ready nd they don't really want to so kind of love love that song. nd the last one is Byzap by A drea Day and I think it's just ery especially during the pandem c and it's just it's okay, and hings will get better and, and y ah, I love that

Kelsey Harris:

Awesome. That's great. It's fantastic. A nice mix of songs there. What's one thing you can't go a day without doing?

Amy Sinha:

Listening to music so when I get ready, I have to put on my playlist while I'm in the shower while I'm getting ready. And that is how I start my

Kelsey Harris:

amazing not surprised. What's one thing you plan on doing in your life that you haven't yet?

Amy Sinha:

Coming to America nd Canada. I've never been and really would love to I have a ot of friends over where are ou are and in the States. And eah, I'd love to do that.

Kelsey Harris:

Awesome. Yeah, definitely. So funny because I one of the things I want to be able to do is go to the UK, I haven't gone on yet.

Amy Sinha:

It will happen. It will.

Kelsey Harris:

I think so. Describe your perfect day.

Amy Sinha:

Wow, you know, I would be get up know that I have a lot of voiceover projects. Now I'm still at the beginning of it. So I've had to do quite a lot of auditions. But I want to get to a place where people are asking me to be the voice of their like commercial and their project. So it would start off I guess my day would be doing one of those a couple of those commercials in the morning, and then having lunch with my friends and my family. And then the afternoon, I would love because you know, I'm all about empowerment for young girls and disabled kids. And so I like to go into schools, and I'd love to meet, you know, disadvantaged kids and maybe kind of help kind of just maybe put some, not wisdom, but wisdom of what I went through as a child with disabilities. And watching my parents cope the disabled kid. So I'd kind of like to go and help out maybe within hospitals and schools, and then that has been the afternoon like that. And then maybe again in the evening, just chilling and watching Netflix, go into the cinema with people that I love. That'd be my perfect day.

Kelsey Harris:

That's lovely. How do you inspire others to make the most of their lives?

Amy Sinha:

I think it's just being who I am. I've realized that maybe I underestimate what I've been through. Because when you go through it, I think you don't see yourself as an amazing person that we all are because we all have to go through different things. And I think talking about it, we all have an individual story to tell that can help other people that gives inspiration into their day to maybe I mean, I think that's why we watch soap operas, especially in Britain, I mean the most depressing soap you will ever say. And we watch it and I really do think of that God My life is not like that. So and I've had people when I tell my story they go Gosh, and I thought my life was bad. So I was like okay, I'm glad I could help. So maybe just just say you know, everything that I go through, and maybe it would help just people be aware that their life are not that bad and it could always be worse.

Kelsey Harris:

Awesome. And Amy Where can we find you and follow you?

Amy Sinha:

Well, I have a website amysinha.com and I'm on nstagram, Facebook or social med a just type my name Amy A-M-Y S-I-N-H-A and come say hi I love meeting new people and and talk ng to new people.

Kelsey Harris:

Amazing. Well, I'll definitely link all that in the show notes. Thank you so much for coming on. And this has been lovely chatting with you.

Amy Sinha:

Aw you too, thank y u so much for havin

Kelsey Harris:

It's very easy to become isolated when you have a chronic illness, particularly if you aren't working or are limited in what you can do. This is where Amy's experience and advice really shines. We can make those so important connections from our own homes. This improves our mental health, happiness and overall well being. But don't limit yourself just to support groups. Maybe one of those and then a group or two that is focused on something you enjoy are really passionate about. Many of you will need both of these options if you don't have them already. Let's do our reflection. What did you notice about your experience while you're listening to this episode? What are you noticing now as you reflect on you're noticing thank you all for listening this week. You are amazing warriors. Even on the days you don't feel like you are until next week keep making the most of it. Special thanks to marred.e for the original music nd Charity Williams for he original ar