Grieving the Old Me, Pt 2

Some people have a lot of friends, friends for every occasion. But I have a small circle of true friends, and that's perfect for me. 

As people with a chronic illness, not only do we battle with our disease, but we battle with maintaining a social life. Sometimes hanging out with a friend can become too much for us and often times we cancel our plans in order to take care of ourselves.

D's Wedding

D's Wedding

Unfortunately, not every friend understands recovery days, painful days or flare days. Even though I might have a girls date planned out days in advance, I could decide to “flake” the day of because of unexpected flares or fatigue that I can’t recover from in a matter of hours.

My good friend from high school was getting married and we had planned an awesome trip to Palm Springs for her bachelorette weekend. I am always ready to have a good time with girlfriends, but one morning I woke up so fatigued and in so much pain that I didn't know how I would manage with all the planned activities. Luckily, my friends were so understanding that we took everything slow and we relaxed for the majority part of the morning. I felt extremely guilty that attention was being taken away from the bride-to-be to make sure that I was feeling OK. But lounging by the pool made the morning so much better. I was able to hang out for the rest of the weekend without any issue. 

I have an amazing group of girlfriends who understand my condition, they ask questions and support my journey. I couldn't have asked for better friends; I am truly blessed.

I know that some people don't have the same support system and it makes it difficult to maintain friendships with people who aren't understanding. During this process of grieving your old self, you may come to a point and lose ties with some friends that are toxic to your health. Losing friends is a process of losing your old self.

Best Friends since 1995

Best Friends since 1995

If you can't have a talk with your friends and explain to them what you need from them in your relationship now that you have a chronic illness, then it's up to you whether or not this friendship is healthy for you. How much are you willing to put up with? How many spoons are you going to let this person take away from you? It will be a sad moment in your life, but you don't need people in your life who don't appreciate you. 

We, as chronic illness sufferers, put up with a lot and our social life is one aspect in our lives that we have to juggle. We try to take advantage of good days for doctor appointments, cleaning, cooking, working out, etc. We also try to make time for our friends on those good days that are few and far in between. Be patient with yourselves, with your friends and with outcomes that don't turn out the way you would like them to be. 

How are your friendships now that you have a chronic illness? Have you lost friends? Gained new friends through social media? Are there things you would like to add about your friendships while having a chronic illness?

Aimee Matsumoto