“Migraine Disease & Friendship: How has living with migraine disease or a headache disorder impacted your friendships? Has it shown you who your true friends are? Have you made friends or become closer to people because of your life with this disease? Please share your thoughts on friendship & chronic illness.“
Chronic migraines have impacted my friendships completely and utterly. Friendships require a certain amount of maintenance, some give and take and effort. I have always considered myself to be a very loyal friend and I still am. However, I have become increasingly isolated from the world. So what friends?
The only way I actually interact with the world is through two venues: work and the internet.
Work is a source of pride and also the main source of stress and guilt. However, it does get me out of the house and I do interact with customers and co-workers. Therefore on the rare occasions, I leave the house for social reasons I tend to socialize with co-workers or former co-workers. If I could not work, then I suspect that would diminish as well. Not intentionally but inevitably. I have had in my life some truly awesome friends, the sort that I love to chat with and thrive in their company. But I rarely have the energy to socialize. Yes, to some extent that is because working with chronic pain is extremely taxing and there is not much energy to spare afterward. Sometimes I am too tired to even go to the pharmacy, which is somewhere I go more frequently than anywhere else. So I have lost friendships simply by the inability to be a good friend: I have to turn down invitations again and again until invitations are no longer offered. I could reach out and spend extra time with those friends to make up for the lack but in the end, I end up being too tired for the effort. It has led to some isolation… I refer to myself as a hermit for a reason. Isolation is not a problem since I am introverted and don’t have that innate need to be around people… but I regret losing those true friends.
So I reach out in several ways through the internet. Facebook is a way to connect with all those good friends I lost on some basis anyway. I blog to communicate my thoughts and dreams, connecting with fellow migraine bloggers who do the same and we form a certain community of our own. A sort of friendship I would say. I go to forums and connect with people there as well. I write articles and essays on topics I find interesting and put them out there for people to check out and comment on. I even post my fiction novels chapter by chapter on a blog. In a way, many aspects of who I am are spread throughout the net and combined on my Tweets and so I connect with others who have similar aspects. It is a way to fill the void I have for the lack of real-world friends.