I want to take some time today to write about something that's been on my heart for quite awhile. I read about it in the online support groups where I post these blogs. People I know with chronic illness have talked to me about it. It's a sad reality that it's extremely common for our chronic illnesses to win over our friendships. You might be wondering what that means. I'll explain. Before I got sick, I had many friends and was quite active in my local church and in things at the college I was attending at the time. I even had some friends who I had been close to for quite some time. Then, like a hurricane, the sickness started to strike me.
When I got sick things started to change for me. I had to start staying home because I didn't feel good or was literally just ill. I stopped working and going to school. I couldn't keep up with the other people my age, or even just people in general. I think friends and family get sick of hearing that you're sorry you can't go because you're not feeling good or otherwise. Friends eventually stop inviting you to hang out with the group. Even family members might do the same. It leaves you in a very lonely and vulnerable place. Depressed and feeling hopeless. Desperate for anyone to care or want to spend time with you.
Whether you're reading this because you have a family member or friend with a chronic illness, or you are the person with the illness I encourage you that you are not alone. I'm writing this out of both my own experiences and feelings, but also because of others as well. Everyone has their limitations and thats okay. It certainly never feels okay though to lose your friends and close ones to your illlness. But My encouragement is to keep fighting and find new people who will care enough to stick around and maybe even people who understand your illness. Join a support group. Find a friend who also has a chronic illness. Join a club or group to have conversation and try not to focus on your illness as much as possible (I know sometimes thats not possible.) And be realistic. I know for me, I am exhausted by time evening comes around, so I plan things earlier in the day.
And to those who have stuck by me through this battle. Thank you. I encourage you to thank those people that have supported you too. Loving someone who is constantly struggling is not easy.
Peace and Blessings. Jackie