Keeping friends when you are chronically ill is difficult to say the least. We all know that, especially towards the beginning, many friends are going to leave. The key is to understand that it is okay and to know that those people have a right to do what is best for them. Of course, this does not make it any easier for you when people start dropping left and right out of your life. Your life has changed drastically and everyone has the right to do what they feel that they need to, including you.
I have found that social media is a big help in my life these days. You can find accounts people make about your certain illness and join the community per say. The chronic illness community is one of the most loving, supporting, caring, and kind group of people out there. We understand what you are going through, because we are going through similar things as well. I have made many friends on Instagram and Facebook just because I was posting about chronic illness related stuff.
Now you may be thinking, what about real “in-person” friends? Well, a lot of times we have them, without knowing they are there. Many times as a chronically ill person, I have found myself lonely. Lonely and jealous of the people my age who have a big group of friends with whom they get to go out and do stuff. Often times with this mindset, you miss the people who have been standing right beside you the entire time.
I have two “in person” best friends who have been with me since my journey started. It took me a while to see that they were truly there for me, because of my attitude. When you are still hurting about feeling rejected, you are not going to see anything in a positive light. I found that as I started to actually focus on myself and my goals, gradually, the rejection of years gone by started to fade. When I started to invest in myself, it was easier to see what was really going on around me.
Another thing that was helpful for making and keeping “in-person” friends, was to stay honest. Many times I would lie when I needed to cancel plans, because I was too embarrassed to tell them my anxiety had kept me up until 4 a.m. Once I started to be honest with my friends, I noticed a change in them as well. I felt that they started to look at me as a person, rather than a fragile object. So if I’m flared up, I will let them know, because many times we can modify our plans or reschedule with out having anyone’s feelings being hurt.
Being chronically ill is a lifestyle. Once you decide to own that truth for yourself, other people can see that. Be you and the right kind of people will come along. Let me know what you think of this article. Do you agree? What experiences have you had finding friends in your journey? Subscribe for more great upcoming content!