How I Really Feel.......About Chronic Illness & Friendship
So you've made plans and were genuinely excited to do whatever it was you planned. But the day comes and you feel like CRAP. You are hurting and battling whatever ailment is most current. And you know there is no way you can make it to said plans. But how do you get out of it without the other person hating you or dealing with the other person judging you? This is a constant battle I think all spoonies fight. Do we follow through with said plans and then spend a week in bed or do we cancel and then deal with the feelings that come from that?!? It's hard. And it seems like you (or at least I always feel like I am) are always letting someone down. So how do you deal with the situation? Over the years this is something I've gone back and forth with. Do I make up an excuse as to why I can't go so it doesn't seem like I'm sick AGAIN?!? Or am I honest, and tell the person how poorly I am feeling and why I really can't come?!? I'll be honest, I've done both. And neither seem to make it any easier to deal with constantly having to cancel plans. But in the long run I feel that it's better to just be honest. If you aren't feeling well just tell your friend/family what's going on. Then it's on them. If they want to be mean and hateful about you cancelling plans that's their issue not yours. You can't force them to believe that you are sick.
I've had it go both ways when I was honest and told my friend I was too sick to make our plans. I've had friends be really understanding and offer to bring me soup or ice cream or something I might need. And then I've had "friends" interrogate me about being sick. Asking for signs and symptoms and what I've taken to feel better etc. I'm sorry did you become my doctor? These are not things you need to know. This is you being nosey and testing me to see just how sick I am. And I have nothing to prove to you!! If you as a friend can't believe me for what I say I don't need you in my life.
That's what it comes down to honestly! If you have friends that can't take your word and don't believe when you say you are too ill to leave the house, you don't need them in your life. Yes, we often have more Infections and have to cancel plans more than most people. But this is not a part of our life we enjoy. If you think we enjoy sitting at home and never getting to go out and have fun you are sadly mistaken. We crave people interaction and having fun just like anyone else. We just don't get to do as much as we would like. To an extent we are a prisoner to our own bodies. We can't control what happens from day to day. We just have to deal with what we are thrown and move on. And if that involves having less friends because they can't understand the life of a person with a chronic illness then that is just the way it has to be.
We have to treasure the friendships with those who care to take the time to understand our lives. Those are the people who we need around us. People who will support us and lift us up even if we have to cancel plans. It sucks enough having to live life with all the illnesses and drs visits that we have. We shouldn't be questioned and treated poorly when we have to cancel plans. If you aren't a spoonie but have friends who are please remember that we don't enjoy cancelling plans and having to stay home. So don't make us feel even worse by treating us poorly because we have to cancel plans!
Friendship and chronic illness is hard. And it makes me sad to think about the people who have walked out of my life simply because I am sick. People who I loved like family who decided they couldn't handle my illness. Which seems crazy to me because they are NOT dealing with my illness I am. Yes, things change! I may not want to go out to dinner or to get drinks as often but that doesn't me that I as a person have changed. I am still the same person who you fell in friendship love with, except my body is not healthy. As many friends as I've Lost, I have also gained some of the best friends of my life in the past 5 years. Fellow spoonies who understand what I go through in a week. As well as non-spoonies who are kind and compassionate and understanding. For all the people who stand by me on a daily basis I am so thankful!! I can never express with words how thankful I am to have these people in my life. They help get me through every day and help me to keep a positive outlook. While also being there to listen when I need to vent!! Friendship can be hard but is so worth the fight in the long run.