Losing, Keeping and Making New Friends

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 5)  This message has been floating around Facebook for a couple of weeks:

“If someone wants to be a part of your life, they’ll make an effort to be in it.  So don’t bother reserving a space in your heart for someone who doesn’t make an effort to stay.”  

Who does this make you think about?

Usually Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop is an opportunity for me to step out of my usual, for my audience to get to know me in other ways through writing prompts that allow me to talk about my childhood, my teen years, and my life before I was sick.  There is usually nothing about the fact that I am disabled by my chronic illnesses in these posts, and if you were visiting from Mama Kat’s and didn’t look at the title of my blog, you may not even know that I was sick.  And that is exactly why I like Mama Kat’s weekly writer’s prompts.

But if ever a prompt screamed out “Emily’s Blog!” or “Emily’s Mission Statement!”, it is this one.  We all lose friends through one way or another.  Like divorce, sometimes friends just grow apart in their ideologies.  A friend may move away and life makes it impossible to keep up with each other. Sometimes their can be a huge blow-out between two people and they never talk again.

When you are chronically ill, the loss of friends makes a huge impact on your emotional and physical well being.  You are going through the toughest times of your life, and the ones who are your true friends, and who believe that you are actually that ill and will never get better, stay.

As a person that is living a chronically ill life, I am finding that the sicker I get, the more friends I lose. I have been extremely ill for four years now, although I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2003.  This year I have been to the hospital four times.  I have lost hair, I have gained weight, I have picked up infection after infection.  This has probably been my worst year and I am still surprised to find friends whom I have known over a decade distancing themselves from me with no explanation. I feel they are afraid to see me this sick and are afraid that I might be contagious to them or their children, when it is they who are dangerous to me.

So what do I do to make up for old friends leaving?  I find other people like me; through support groups, Twitter, Facebook and Google+.  There have been a few people whom I just needed to tweet out that I needed support and were right there with their phone number so I could talk to them.  I have met true friends through blogging and certainly met them through my own blog, a unexpected bonus.

Tyler’s friends’ mothers are becoming some of my friends too.  Perhaps it is because they have only known me as sick, they do not have to feel sad and compare me to the way I used to be.

I have about three friends that date back from junior high, high school and college.  They are the ones consistently trying to make the effort to stay in my life, even if it is only a couple of times a year, or if we have to take out our planners and find a date two months in advance that is good for the both of us.  They understand when I am too sick on a planned day and have to cancel.  They believe me.  They are not afraid of me.  They accept me for the person I am NOW and whatever may come my way, they are going to BE THERE FOR ME.

I understand those whom have had to “drop out” of my life because they just could not take hearing any more bad news.

I have heard that if you end up with two or three people in your life whom you can truly call a friend, then that is really all that is important.

I guess I am still doing okay.

 

 

 

 

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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11 Responses to Losing, Keeping and Making New Friends

  1. Suniverse says:

    I read somewhere that people are generally friends for a maximum of 6 years. I can see how that happens. That you have a few friends from so long ago means that they are truly yours. Good for you.

  2. You’re right, I think 2 or 3 really good friends is great. I don’t even know how I’d have time for more anyway. lol

    @Suniverse
    6 years? Wow – that makes sense to me too – not that I want it to.
    Lady Estrogen´s last blog post ..Dance, Dance, Dance

  3. It really sucks to have people fall out of your life especially when you need support. I have a friend that has used and abused me so I chose this prompt too and it was somewhat healing. I also have a best friend with a chronic illness and she talks about losing people often. I really feel for your situation and am glad that you have found support online.
    Ry @ Misadventuring Mommy´s last blog post ..Deep Thoughts About A Dying Friendship

  4. I’m so sorry you’ve lost friends due to your illness, but I can’t say I’m surprised – the same thing happened to me when I was diagnosed with a depressive mood disorder 11 years ago in the middle of a major depressive episode. I think people just don’t know how to relate to stuff like that, so they instead pull away. The fact that it’s not malicious doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

    I’m glad you’ve been able to find support online and through blogging, and through your true circle of friends that have been and will continue to be there for you.
    Kristin @ What She Said´s last blog post ..My Favorite Time of Day

  5. thea says:

    Stumbled here from Mama Kat’s, and so glad I did. I have RA too, but am fortunate to be relatively healthy at the moment. Until reading your post, I’d forgotten about the people in my life who have fallen away because they just couldn’t deal with my illness, or the intensity of my life. Wishing you all the best.

  6. mamasick says:

    Kristin,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and it is nice to meet you through Mama Kat’s!

    It really amazes me that I have lost friends recently that I have known for 15 and 10 years. I guess they have reached a breaking point. I do not believe I am all about my illness, I have a five year old son who makes sure of that, and if you read my blog, only about a third of my posts are geared towards the chronically ill. So I don’t understand “the silent treatment”. I feel sorry for them because I feel I am a great friend, lol!

    The other day I was in the car with my husband and son and I said that I was sad because I do not have any friends with whom I can say I am best friends with. My little boy piped up, “What about ME?” That’s what it’s all about, right there.

  7. What your son said to you literally made my heart skip a beat. That right there is unconditional love. And I think you have a great take on your situation.

    I also don’t really have anyone that I can call a best friend. That’s OK – I’ve made peace with the fact that friends will come and friends will go, in the meantime, I have a great family as my foundation and support system.

    So nice to “meet” you too. 🙂
    Kristin @ What She Said´s last blog post ..16 Lessons I’ve Learned From Pinterest

  8. Arnebya says:

    My oldest friend is from the first day of kindergarten. Although we only talk in person a few times a year now, she is still the absolute one person I know I can call who will be there. It is rare, and I cherish it. I’m sorry that you’ve experienced people stepping away from you for whatever reason. Usually people just don’t know how to deal with illness, especially chronic, I think, when they want to anticipate a day you’ll be better and it’s too hard. People aren’t taught what to say in situations like these, and oftentimes it’s just better to say to the person tell me what you need. How hard is that?

  9. Pam says:

    Your post hit home. Thanks for writing it. I saw that quote on FB, and it made me a little sad, because my daughter, who has been severely ill for several years, has lost several friends throughout her illness, mainly because they subscribe to the idea in that quote. What they don’t realize, is that, when someone is severely ill, they may not be able to invest in the friendship right then, but still need the love and support of friends. Also,that quote completely ignores the concept of grace. Such a hard world sometimes. Stopped by from SITS.
    Pam´s last blog post ..Storage Cubes (Think outside the "box")

  10. I can relate … except that you have more long term friends than I do. As we jump from crisis to crisis we have felt people backing away … assuring us of their prayers but keeping their distance. It’s hard. And so in many ways I feel closer to the people in my blog world than to the ones I interact with daily. You guys hear not just my words but my heart. You CHOOSE to keep coming back … even when I dive into the pit of depression. You stand on the edge, peering into the darkness, and offer a hand up … when I’m ready! This world is a blessing to us! I am grateful for it!
    Beth Zimmerman´s last blog post ..Missing My Boy

  11. Jenners says:

    I guess that is why they put “in sickness and in health” in marriage vows. It can be hard to stay I guess unless you make that promise. I’m sorry that many of your friends have distanced themselves in your time of need. I’m sure that is difficult for you despite your acceptance and understanding of them. I think things like this do let you know who your true friends are.
    Jenners´s last blog post ..Writer’s Workshop: You Be The Judge

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