I have posted many many times about the friends who disappear, the friends who stop being friends after illness sets in. I have cried so many tears out of loneliness. I’m sure most of you understand this well!
Recently I was given the gift of a new perspective on this topic! I’m thankful for the lesson, but oh it’s hard to admit I learned it the way I did. But true to Chronic Gypsy fashion I will tell it like it is. raw.
One of the few friends that has stuck by me through getting sick, who would drive an hour just to sit with me even if I slept through it, the friend who surprised me with gifts, the friend who listened to hours on end of symptoms and doctor visits, who never told me to “be more positive,” she suffers Migraines, migraines that in the last year had gotten significantly worse. Do you know what I did?
- I researched! A lot!
- I had a billion “try this” suggestions.
- I even tried the “be more positive!”
Notice the bold print, what do we as Spoonies hate? Those exact things! Yet I did them. Oh yes, it gets worse…
I went through a period of if she is so sick how can she do _________? Yes, shame on me, I went there! Oh I didn’t stop there, it still gets worse!
I got angry! I couldn’t fix her, I tried. I did everything I could, nothing worked. I suggested a billion things and she didn’t try them All. and she kept getting worse.
Without realizing what I was doing or why I had pushed her away. I couldn’t stand to see/hear her suffer, it broke my heart! She needed to try harder to be well, I didn’t want her living the isolated Spoonie life like me, I didn’t want her to hurt like I do. She had to get better and she wasn’t and I was both mad and scared.
I had become one of those disappearing friends who couldn’t handle illness. I wasn’t there for her like she was for me.
Lesson learned! Apologies made!
I do have a new perspective of friendships! This lesson has opened my eyes in so many ways. I have this to say to my remaining friends…
I know you love me!
I know seeing me go through this hard for you.
I know it makes you feel so helpless.
I know it is scary for you.
I want you to know that just you being there for me to laugh or cry, to distract me from my illness or to validate a symptom, I just need you. I don’t expect you to fix it.
I don’t expect you to make me better on bad days.
I appreciate your research and guidance, but I am going to do what my doctors tell me too.
I’m here for you too, when you want to talk, even if it’s just an ear about what you go through because of what I am going through.
There is so much more I would say! This brings me to tears to even write. All of this time I thought the friends left because they didn’t care, when in reality, they did care but just didn’t know what to do anymore. Maybe.
Anyway, this has been an interesting life lesson, and I’m glad I learned it before I lost her as my friend.