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Friendship and Chronic Illness

Friendship with chronic illness in my past has always been something I have struggled to maintain. You see I am an introvert and for me, friendship has always been something I have had difficulty in the long term. I value my alone time and so I have to balance that with social time with friends. Add in chronic illness and pain, well, that cuts into social time. You need to conserve your energy for important things like school or work. So you limit your social time. I admit only a few friends in my life have grasped how difficult it is for me to balance my obligations and my chronic illness, let alone anything else in there. So friends drifted away. Something I have always regretted but it was just the way it was. Sometimes it was simply distance. If they moved too far away I could not drive to meet them all the time, as that is something that uses that reserve of energy so those relationships inevitably drifted apart. Others it was simply that they get tired of the fact I say no more than yes.

Recently I have been hanging out with a select group of friends we play cards with. All of which work with my spouse. All great people. All of them seem to get when I cannot go out at all, which has happened on severe migraine days. Or when I have to cut an evening short for those days when a migraine just gets worse and worse to that intolerable point while there. Perhaps these people are just more mature. Or more empathetic. Or just good people.

I can say I really appreciate this attitude towards my chronic pain. That they do not mind at all. That they completely understand. That I need to take care of myself. It eliminates that feeling of guilt I would normally have. And that feeling of embarrassment for being That person who is ‘ill all the time’.

I appreciate it also because it is important to me to get out of the house every once in a while. I can’t do much. Can’t do a lot. But to get out of the house once every couple of weeks to play cards? It is nice. Sometimes that is the Only time I have left the house. Unless I needed to go to the pharmacy. So that social interaction is important to me. Outside of my online friends, that is all I get.

 

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