Support comes in all forms when you receive a diagnosis, but as you become sicker and the “old you” starts fading away, so can your relationships.
So many people want to be there for you when you first receive your diagnosis, but as you become sicker, and when it all becomes too real, it seems you start losing people one by one. There’s nothing worse than having to grieve your old self, plus having to mourn each relationship lost as you go.
One day you wake up, and all of a sudden you feel like you have no one left.
‘Hanging out’ and visits turn into text messages. The text messages turn into the occasional Facebook chat, and then even those just stop abruptly — until there’s no more communication. It seems as though everyone just went away.
It’s easy to get into a pattern where you can’t help but blame yourself.
If I wasn’t this sick, I’d still have friends.
If I was healthy and could have a normal conversation about monotonous things, I wouldn’t push people away.
If only I could be healthy and not intimidate people who are unsure how to approach this new “sick” me.
If only I wasn’t intimidated by them thinking about me being sick, and could fill in the awkward silences.
If only I could erase all the sad eyes, the weakened expressions, and not have people who once respected me feel sorry for me.
This is the worst part, the pity.
If only these people knew that I’m the exact same person, the same person who was their friend for all those years. The same family member, the very same.
People change regardless of being ill, but it seems being ill puts a wedge in between the healthy and the sick. The unknown is often just too much. If I changed because I became an a**hole I’d understand, but I’m the very same person.
This is the first time I’ve ever expressed how much it hurts.
How at my sickest, I’ve never been so alone.
When someone says, “You must have a lot of people around you!” And you just don’t know how to respond.
I don’t want to come off as ungrateful or selfish because there are some amazing people who have come into my life despite me being sick.
But those relationships lost still weigh heavily on my heart, and I wish I could have every single one back. Back to normal.
But I’ll never be “normal,” so all of this will remain.
What I will say is I’ve learned a few things while these relationships have come and gone.
- It’s not your fault. Even though it may feel like it is, stop blaming yourself.
- Often people want to be there, they just don’t know how.
- It’s exhausting trying to make others feel comfortable around you, so focus on yourself being comfortable and the rest will follow.
- It’s not your job to put everyone else at ease. If they are your friend, they will try to find a way to understand your new situation.
- People who are truly your friend want to know how you are. They don’t want the sugar-coated answer, so be honest with your friends.
- Your best friends don’t mind changing plans, or understand when you can’t make it because you’re not feeling up to it suddenly.
- Your best friends will make an effort to make you comfortable in these new and changing circumstances. They’ll go out of their way to make sure you have a place to lay down in their home if you get tired, or have a fan handy for when you get too warm, etc.
- The people you lost were probably not meant to be close to you in the first place.
- Don’t feel bad for making the decision to cut out toxic relationships, even though you might feel like you can’t afford to lose anyone else. It’s not worth putting yourself through hell to have “friends.”
- Don’t take for granted the people who did stay around. Know that they love you so much, and cherish them every day.