Chronic illness has a lot of downsides. A LOT! Apart from the physical effects, the surgeries, the time in hospital and the emotional and mental effects, it can massively effect your social life and friendships.
I think it really does show who your friends are though. I get that my illness has gone on for a long time, I know this more than anyone. I know it must be hard to be friends with me at times, I’m not the worlds most reliable person after all. I cancel on plans at the last minute and there’s times where I am so unwell that I can’t be there for the people I care about.
But it makes me really sad that there are friends who sometimes seem to forget about me. Maybe they are fair weather friends, only there when I have something to give back, only there when I am able to be fun and go out. Or maybe they just don’t know what to say to me?
I know it’s not just me too. I get a lot of messages from readers who are facing the same thing and are unsure of how to deal with it which is why I decided to write this post. I don’t want to sound self obsessed or bitchy but it is definitely an issue for people with long term health conditions.
Scope did a poll where they found that two thirds of people feel awkward around disability. Perhaps the same applies to illness? Maybe people are worried about the right or wrong thing to say? Maybe they’re concerned about offending?
I understand that feeling of being scared to say the wrong thing. Of worrying about sticking your foot in it and saying something that may upset the other person. But dude, just do it. Send a message, pick up the phone, arrange a visit.
I try to see the best in others, I think it’s better to assume the best in people rather than thinking the worst and so I try and think of reasons behind this behaviour. Perhaps they’re just really busy, they have their own shit to be dealing with. It’s easy to slip your mind when your life and struggles take over. Maybe they don’t know what to say or they are having their own issues?
I have some amazing friends who I couldn’t cope without, who are always there for me. They put themselves out to come and look after me, cook and clean when I can’t. They visit, call and text and those people I am truly grateful to.
I know it’s tough being my friend. I know there are these vast time periods when I am so ill that I can give you nothing back. Believe me when I tell you how sorry I am that there are times when our friendship is one way, I’m sorry that sometimes I need more than I can give. But know that as broken as I may be, I am loyal and loving and kind and when my stupid, bloody illness allows, I will be there for you too.