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Why It's Helpful to Be Friends With Fellow Spoonies

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Today is an absolutely beautiful day. The weather is warming up in southeastern Wisconsin, the sun is shining and I can literally hear the birds singing from my *gasp* open windows. Regardless of the situation, it’s a pretty good day. And days like today, when the warmth of the sun literally warms your soul, it’s easy to reflect on your life’s blessings.

For myself and many others, living with chronic illness can make it difficult to appreciate the good things in life. Living with chronic pain, constant anxiety, debilitating depression… All of these can affect you physically and mentally, making it difficult to relax and take a deep breath. And you know what? That’s OK. It’s OK to have bad days, because the sun will always shine another day.

I do truly believe those with a chronic condition see the world in a different way, and while things seem to be down and out sometimes, there is always something to be thankful for.

True friendship is hard to come by…

But when you find it, you know that is a friend for life. It can be really hard to make friends and maintain a friendship while managing a chronic illness. Flare ups cancel plans, symptoms create cause for an early escape at a party. Pretty soon, who you thought were your closest friends are no longer inviting you out, let alone including you in the group chat.

I’ve lost many friendships over the years for many different reasons, but I’ve gained many new friends through my illnesses. There is a strong online community of spoonies. Type in your condition to Facebook, Instagram, The Mighty, or your other favorite social media platform and you will be amazed at the number of people all over the world who can relate to you.

Having a fellow spoonie friend can be so beneficial for a number of reasons. First of all, if they have the same or similar condition to you, they know exactly what you mean when you say you’re tired, you’re having flare up or if it’s just a bad day in general — because they have been right there with you.

They’re also great at giving advice because they, too, have been in similar situations. I’m a member of several groups related to endometriosis and gastroparesis, and if I ever have any questions I never hesitate to ask there, because I know there are girls who have been in my shoes. And if they haven’t, I know someone else has the same questions as me.

I have met some truly wonderful people who have reminded me that I am still a strong, beautiful person even though my illnesses make me feel the complete opposite. And for anyone ever needing a friend, my door is always open!

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Originally published: March 13, 2020
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