People leave when you are chronically seriously ill. It’s a horrible reality, but I’ve talked with many PF patients, and unfortunately, so many of them have similar stories. People they loved, trusted, and relied on disappear when the going gets tough. Even members of their own families and their spouses leave or distance themselves. It’s horrible … just when you need people the most, they shut you out.
I’ve had people distance themselves due to my illness. I think it’s just human nature. Sick people aren’t that fun, and I’d be the first to admit it. Add the chronic part in, and people just can’t relate or understand. It sounds harsh, but I think this is true…people expect you to get better or die, not linger on for years. People have no patience for such things in general, and they surely don’t want to think about it. It’s so common for them to tell me they wish I could catch a break, or ask me when I’m going to be better. The answer is never, but I know they just don’t know what to say. My body is a disaster area, and it gets to the point I’m afraid to tell anyone what’s going on. Luckily for me, my husband understands. Unfortunately for me, he understands because he also has a chronic serious disease, and a kidney transplant. He’s a rock, and he’s not going anywhere. My friends? Most stay in touch, but it’s become a different sort of relationship. They haven’t exactly abandoned me, but the relationship isn’t the same. They will check on me from time to time, but don’t really socialize with me anymore. As a kid, even my family distanced themselves from me, and that was hard.
I had someone I thought was a good friend cut me off completely, with no explanation. I was very open with her about my illness, and I think all of it was just too much for her to deal with. All I’ve ever done is love the woman, so it’s been very upsetting. I think of her almost every day. Most people tell me to say good riddance…. she didn’t deserve my friendship, and all the things people will tell you to make you feel better. I can’t help but miss her. She was very special to me. In her case, I think her own depression and social anxiety played a role in her leaving. I wish she had the strength to talk with me honestly, but I know she doesn’t.
It’s just a horribly sad fact that people leave. When you have a chronic serious illness, very few are strong enough to stay.
Well, I said I wasn’t going to concentrate only on my illness. I promise it won’t all be like this, but since I’m dealing with these losses, it helps for me to write about it. I hope people will look a bit differently at people with chronic illnesses after reading. The best thing you can do for a friend with a chronic illness is just be there for them. Try to be the same friend you’ve always been, even if they can’t always be the same person they were. We can’t help it…illness changes you, no matter how hard you try, you can’t be the person you were. That is hard enough for us without losing friends and loved ones over it.