My Chronic Illness Does Not Make Me Your Back-Up Plan

“Oh yes, on Tuesday I don’t have anything. Let’s drink wine and watch that new Pixar movie!”

“I’ll totally watch binge watch ‘House of Cards’ with you this weekend!”

Tuesday comes, and my friend or partner tells me they are grabbing drinks with someone and excitedly rushes out the door. I sit there confused because I thought we had plans. Sometimes there is a strange offering of an explanation before they go, but more often they leave without even acknowledging we ever had plans.

It happens over and over. I become the back-up plan because of my chronic illness. I’m the plan people have if no one else wants to do anything Friday night or if they are too tired to go out.

What people fail to realize is that they were my only plan. There are so many days when I can do nothing more than watch a movie and cuddle. When my healthy loved ones say they are going join me, I remember. I am excited to finally have company in this lonely struggle. I finally have something to look forward to in their company.

It hurts to realize to them I am the back-up plan. Easily changed and forgotten. So easily forgettable when the promise of their company was beyond unforgettable to me.

It is already a struggle to maintain relationships. I have to find people who are willing to hang out in a low-key setting instead of always going out. Even when I find people who understand that not every hang-out will be an outdoor adventure, it is a struggle to find people who take your plans seriously.

Staying social with a chronic illness seems impossible. I’m either branded a flake or have my plans not being taken seriously. It is no wonder socializing is such a struggle with chronic illness.

What can you do to help? Take plans you make with everyone seriously. Don’t treat your chronically ill friend as a back-up plan.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Chronic Illness

Patient hand with infusion on hospital bed

The Biggest Barriers to Treatment When You Have a Rare and Chronic Illness

When someone first develops unexplained symptoms and they go to the doctor, they have a battery of tests to find the problem. What happens when all of the tests come back normal and the doctor says you are fine, but deep down you know you aren’t? You will probably start going to doctor after doctor, then specialist after [...]
woman lying in bed black and white

To the People Who Try to Tell Me How to Be Sick

You are not a doctor. I have many doctors, who have all trained for several years solely in treating people like me. Sometimes, a cure doesn’t exist. That doesn’t mean you can make one up. You are also not a scientist. Google does not replace several years of education. Your search is not going to [...]
Sadie Williams and her friends

To People With Illnesses Who Have Lost Hope

This is to whoever feels stuck in their chronic illness. When you feel like the medicine isn’t working anymore. When you feel like you can’t swallow any more meds. When the doctors give you more meds to counteract the side effects of your other meds. When your esophagus can’t swallow another pill the size of [...]

A Letter From Your Least Favorite Patient

Hi there, friendly physicians. I’m the sort of patient you intensely dislike. I have a medical history as long as “War & Peace,” several co-morbid chronic conditions and many allergies. I ask a lot of questions and don’t automatically agree with your suggestions. I know a lot about my illnesses, the medications I take, and [...]