Now this is a hard one! I have stressed over this for years! I used to think I had a lot of friends. It was important to have friends. I would do anything for my friends and I proved it everyday! Now I have lost quite a few friends/relationships since I became ill! That situation hurt just as bad as the pain from my illness! They didn't understand what was happening to me, heck, neither did I, I wasn't asking them to understand it, just to help me like I have helped them so much! It was something totally new to everyone. I could no longer do everything for them, they didn't like that, and I had to depend on others to help me, and I didn't like that!
There were some friends that stuck with me. They tried to understand more, and listened when I needed to vent, and cry. They worked with me, and helped me accomplish my tasks. I have made more friends over the six years I've had this illness,eye have tried to include me in their outings and plans! This is another area that has caused much more stress. I don't want to let them down, or make them feel like I don't like them. These are some of the thoughts the come up when people ask me to go out.
"I wont be able to cope while I'm out".
"They don't understand the amount of pain I'm in".
"They think I don't like them because I keep saying I cant meet up".
"I need to go out because I've been stuck inside my house for too long and it might cheer me up".
"But my body is extremely weak".
"What if we are out all day?"
"I'm going to have to pretend I'm fine all day when all I want to do is cry".
"What if I feel like I'm going to pass out."
"What if I can't walk soon after we go out."
I know that I still always put on a brave face and front, which includes pretending I am not hurting , exhausted and That I don't feel light headed or dizzy, nauseous. This in itself is very tiring. I find it very hard to let my true guard down around even my best friends, as if I feel that if I am my true ill self, it may make them feel awkward around a girl who looks the same as them but can not keep up with normal social adventures out. It's always hard knowing you have made a commitment to spending time with a friend, are not sure if you will be able to get out of bed in the morning. The simple task of getting up and getting dressed can drain me. Not to mention that if I'm on my feet too long I start getting really weak and feel like I could pass out! Or everything will just get so overwhelming out of nowhere that I will just break down and cry, and there isn't much I can do to stop it. A lot of people don't understand why I don't like to go out, and I honestly don't like to keep explaining why.
I have found comfort in others going through the same issues online, but it's not enough, even though I don't really like talking about what is going on with me. I just like knowing that someone is there to talk to if I need to. It is sad that I would rather hide behind a screen than spend time with friends in person. Sometimes when I am with a group of people I feel invisible everyone is talking and having fun, but they don't hear what I say, I often find myself repeating things, and then just give up talking, because they don't respond to me. Sad to say it hurts me more than it should, and therefore I tend to shy away from groups and talking in person.
I truly hope that one day I can overcome these obstacles in life and make more friends, and get back to experiencing more joy and fun with people.