The Ebb And Flow Of Friendships With Chronic Illness

friendship

 

By Samantha Smith in The Mighty.

 

I see and hear a lot from those dealing with chronic illness about how it has affected relationships, more specifically friendships. My journey sounds similar.

Years ago, I remember my dad talking to me about having true friends, and if I could count them on one hand I should consider myself lucky. My friendships have ebbed and flowed over the years, getting close with some, and those same friendships fading slowly. Some friendships ended and I understood why, while others ended leaving me confused and heartbroken.

When I first began dealing with illness, I felt lost and confused. When friends realized I was going through something, they rallied around. Some offered comfort, some offered help, and others just reminded me they were there if needed. Something interesting happened after a while. When I wasn’t getting better, and it was becoming obvious this was going to be a bigger part of my life than I’d hoped, slowly but surely friendships slipped away.

In the beginning, I was frustrated. I couldn’t help what I was going through. I didn’t mean to bail on plans, or that I couldn’t “hang” late anymore. I wasn’t able to drink alcohol or eat at most restaurants. But I still wanted to see my friends. I’d begun to feel forgotten about. I realized though that I’d slowly also begun to isolate myself. How could I blame anyone for forgetting about me when I stopped reaching out too?

 

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Link to Chronic Illness story

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