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The Friendships That Fade When You're Chronically Sick

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Living with chronic back pain has been a challenge to say the least. Then finding out I was extremely exhausted and my body physically ached and hurt so badly because I have fibromyalgia was devastating for me to grasp and over time learn to live with, I’m still learning.

It’s times like this that we need our loved ones a little bit more. However, when you’ve always been the caregiver in your relationships, you sometimes find out that the majority of the people you’ve surrounded yourself with are not the caregiver type and sadly they start to fade away until they no longer exist in your life.

From being employed as a caregiver to always being that friend everyone came to for advice or for a shoulder or an ear, caregiving has always been a natural instinct in me. As a wife and mother, these are the roles I take the greatest amount of pride in. I’ve never really been the type to ask for help; I’ve always been self-sufficient and honestly I’d normally rather do things on my own because then they get done to my level of perfection.

Some friendships faded and some family members distanced themselves over time as I began to put myself and my health first. If they were about drama and brought on stress, I distanced from them. However, I’ve come to realize many people do surround a person when they get sick, if it’s a short sickness or possibly a terminal one. Except when a person has a chronic illness, an invisible illness and/or one that is long-term, so many people tend to drift away. Part of me thinks it’s because some just get busy in their own life as time goes on. Others don’t want to take the time to accommodate your never-ending illness. Then there are always those few who choose not to take the time to see what’s considered invisible yet is so visible to you.

Although it makes me sad to have these relationships come to an end, it has also made me realize that these relationships weren’t as true as I thought. I try to remind myself that it’s their loss because I am a wonderful person worthy of what I give, to have that same love and care reciprocated. I will never need nor want sympathy from a family member or a friend, but if someone has love and compassion to give I welcome them into my life, just as I value my family and friends that have remained true to our relationship and stuck by my side at a time in my life when I need them most even more then I already did. To each of them, thank you! To each of you reading this and understanding exactly what I’m saying because you’ve been there, it’s their loss because you’re worth what you give!

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Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Originally published: December 2, 2016
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