Friendships…. And Chronic Illness

If you suffer from ANY kind of Chronic Illness you know how hard it can be to maintain your friendships!! They just don’t understand what it’s like to have an illness that at times dictates your life. Most won’t understand that you don’t like to cancel plans and stay home. but sometimes it’s necessary. Many will think that you are just being flakey, lazy or just don’t want to leave your house. When in most situations that is far from the truth. So if you could tell your friends anything about living with a Chronic Illness what would it be?  Below is a list, that I complied from a few different resources,  of things People with Chronic Illness want their friends to know.

  1. I wish my friends could feel the real guilt that I feel when I have to cancel our plans at the last minute. I do not enjoy cancelling at the last moment.
  2. I wish my friends would understand that there is NO “Quick Fix,” and on most occasions I won’t “Get better soon!”
  3. I wish my friends would understand that just because I am laughing or smiling that I may not feel better. Laughter is the best medicine.
  4. I wish people would understand that it is horrible being on the outside looking in at your life, and not often be able to participate.
  5. Please don’t give up on me. I still love and care about you, and want you in my life. If you were on the opposite side of the table you would wish the same.
  6. Many wish that people in their life would understand I have to scrimp and save my energy to go to an event. I may look really great and seem in such a good mood. But I will pay for going to said event for several days after the fact.
  7. I really don’t like always being alone. So come over, bring some coffee and lets watch a movie.
  8. Don’t forget about my partner, if you see him ask how he is and know that he is working so hard to keep our family and house running.
  9. Just because I try to stay positive, doesn’t mean I am “ALL BETTER.”
  10. I wish my friends know just how much I love and appreciate them! I can never thank them enough.
  11. I wish people would stop comparing my illness. It makes us feel minimized.
  12. I want people to know that I am still me. The Illness I have doesn’t define me!!

There are ways that we can help our friends to understand our condition and make it easier for them to stay in our lives.

One way that you can work on keeping friends while fighting a chronic illness, is to help them help you. We need to stop analyzing or friends motives and focus on how they can help you. You can do this by making sure that when you are feeling “okay” that you fell your friends and family how they can help you when the pain is bad. This will relieve some stress from your family and friends because they know exactly what should or shouldn’t do to help.

Another way that you can work on your relationships while being chronically ill. Is to understand why dealing with your pain is hard for them. Many people don’t do well when they are forced with their loved ones mortality, because it makes them face their own. Which is very uncomfortable for most people.  We also need to understand that often times when a person is in pain they are more irritable than normal and people don’t enjoy being around an irritable person.

We need to find a way to work your friends in to your life.  If you get invited to a full day of shopping, but know that this will be too much for you. Suggest an alternate plans, so you can still be a part of the day without facing overwhelming fatigue and pain.

When all else fails be your own best friend. Even when your friends are super caring and empathetic, they will never understand what it is really like to live with your condition. So instead of wasting time and energy trying to explain everything to someone else, spend that time on yourself . Pr0viding validation and support to yourself that you are wanting from someone else.

No matter how hard we try we will lose friends as we go through our journey with chronic illness. It just happens because people don’t understand things that they can not see. And since a lot of chronic illnesses fall into the invisible condition category, they won’t be able to understand. All we can do is try to explain our condition and pray that they will join our journey with us. I hope the tips above will help you in some way.

 

Resources

-https://themighty.com/2016/03/19-things-people-with-chronic-illness-want-their-friends-to-know/

– http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20401193,00.html

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