To the Friends Who Love Me Through My Chronic Illness
You know who you are. You’ve taken care of me for over a year now, and I feel like I owe you a true thank you, a thank you the whole world can see because that’s how awesome you all are.
First, thank you for being my friends at all. I came to college alone, sick and very scared. After going through recruitment I felt a tiny bit better, but that first sisterhood event is what really brought me home. I was very shy and awkward when we first met, scared all of you would judge me for my past or for the fact that I couldn’t eat normally and carried a lot of medications. I was worried my illness would prevent you from wanting to get to know me. I realize now how wrong I was and just plain oblivious, to be honest. The more you knew about my illness and my past, the more you loved me for who I was. You learned the little signs of when I wasn’t feeling well, you took care of me when I had SMAS (superior mesenteric artery syndrome) attacks and you even held me as I had my first anxiety attack in front of you. You took it all in stride.
Thank you for taking care of me when I’m sick. Seriously, picking up medicine or Pedialyte and food has saved me more times than I can count. Thank you for basically carrying me to my dorm room those times when I couldn’t stand up straight from pain. Thank you for learning which medicines I would need when I felt a certain way, and for accepting the fact that I needed those medicines. Thank you for picking me up from classes, driving my car back, and taking me anywhere I needed to go. Every single time you did any of these little things for me, I thanked God for putting you in my life. I know I’m so lucky to be loved.
Thank you for accepting me for me. With my anxiety I’ve always been scared to be myself. With you all, I know I am accepted for who I am with absolutely no judgement, and I have never felt that way with a group of friends in my life. Thank you for not being upset when I asked if we could eat somewhere else because I couldn’t find something to eat, and accepting I was a little different. You’ve helped me overcome so many social anxieties it’s not even funny. Thanks to you, I’m able to be confident in myself as an individual, something that was never possible for me in high school. Thank you for understanding I have anxiety and accepting it as a part of my life. Your understanding has helped me find myself as an adult in college.
Thank you for supporting me. You all are constantly encouraging me to apply to involvement opportunities, coming to the events my committees put on and cheering me on through a study binge. You make sure I’m eating and sleeping enough during finals and dead week, and when you celebrate my accomplishments in school I can tell they’re incredibly sincere. Study breaks are always more fun when they involve you all, especially when we take trips to Sonic for corn dogs. Lastly, you make me feel confident in my academic ability and my leadership abilities. I have never felt more capable than when I have you all supporting me.
Thank you for loving me through difficult times. I know I’ve cried several times in your arms (or have gotten snot on your sweatpants – sorry, Caro), and knowing you are always there for me when I have a difficult day makes life bearable. When I was sick over spring break and you visited me, I cried when you left because I had never felt so loved. The support and love you sent me during doctor appointments and iron infusions this summer kept me going. Your continued support as I figure out what is going on now is sometimes the only way I can remain strong. Thank you for dealing with me when I have weird side effects from these new medications and reassuring me you still love me.
Lastly, thank you for being you. Each of you holds a special place in my heart and are in my life for a reason. Each of you has a different personality and experience that fills a part of my life and that we bond over. All of us are incredibly similar, but also so different. We all have different hobbies, interests, careers, backgrounds and so much more, and yet we all ended up best friends. You have shown me what strong, independent, smart women are, and have shown me what it is like to be 100 percent authentic. Each of you is special. You’re all going to do amazing things in this world and I can’t wait to be by your side as it all happens.
A version of this post originally appeared on Walking Through the Fog.
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