To the Person With an Invisible Illness Who Has 'That Friend'


That friend. We all want one, but not all of us get one.

They call and ask you if you want to grab lunch over and over, even when you cancel most the time. They ask how you’re doing and really want to know. They invite you and include you as much as they can.

Are they perfect? No, sometimes they get tired of being told “not today” or not being able to hang out with you as much as their other friends. But they still stay around and want to be a good friend.

You can call and ask for help and they don’t judge you or make you feel like you’re wasting your life. So many times I read about the bad side of having a lifelong illness that can take so much from us. But having this friend can change your life — or at least your outlook.

They come in many ways. Sometimes it’s a spouse or nurse or even just someone you’ve met at the store too many times to count. But they are there.

When you’re sick and can’t get better, you treasure any friendship. Your life is controlled by doctors’ visits, pain and just plain being tired. Having someone who isn’t afraid to come over and bring the coffee can be a lifesaver.

Not everyone knows how to be this friend, even when they want to help. To those who are trying and need advice on how to reach a friend, just remember you will have to put in more effort sometimes. But a cup of tea we didn’t have to make or grabbing a gallon of milk when we are too tired to leave the house means more to us than you can ever imagine. It takes so much willpower to confess “we can’t” that many of us with invisible illness stop asking after awhile.

When we thank you, it comes from a deep place in our heart, and when we turn you down, it’s got nothing to do with you. I always worry, when I have to turn down a friend again and again, that they will get tired of hearing no. This happens all too often. We can only give up so much time to spend with others, and it can mean giving up something important. Having someone who doesn’t make you feel bad for missing out on so many things is hard to find.

So take the time to hug “that friend” and tell them thanks for not leaving nasty notes on our cars or putting us down because we can’t do what others think we should. They are few and far between, and they don’t often get told how much they mean to us.

Man and woman wearing sunglasses in a car

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