Tonight I have a few things on my mind. I don't know if I'll even publish this post but it's something that has been consuming my thoughts for a while now and when that happens I usually share said thoughts with you guys. So here goes.
Having friends whilst having an illness is hard. Really fucking hard. Whilst what I have is a long term illness, I guess this post is relevant to those suffering from short term illness, mental illness, any kind of illness really. And I always want to help, where and if I can through my blog. So imagine for me that you have a really awful cold. Not just the sniffles, no, one of those horrid banging headache, whole body hurts, I feel like it's the end of my life type of colds. Whilst you have that cold you don't really feel up for hanging out with people. Even if your mind wanted to, your body simply wouldn't allow for a whole day shopping trip or a night on the town with Becky with the good hair. You are too exhausted and in too much pain for any of that. All you feel good for is lieing in bed, drinking lots of water and keeping comfortable until you ride out the shit storm that is the common cold. Now imagine that the cold lingers for over a year. All day. Every day. Constant pain, constant exhaustion, constant misery. That is how I feel.
Now don't get me wrong, my symptoms are not the same as a common cold but you get the idea. So my every day currently consists of being in severe pain, chronic fatigue, digestion problems, pill popping, powder drinking, nasal spraying and heaps more really uncomfortable, unpleasant symptoms that are both visible and invisible. Basically I feel like an ugly little troll mixed with a 90 year old woman rn and it aint cute hunty. What does this have to do with friends, I hear you ask?! Well, put yourself in my shoes and imagine having to deal with all of that all day every day for months on end, making yourself your number 1 priority and self care HAS to come above all else....but then also putting enough time, effort, love and care into your many relationships with everyone you care about. It is SO difficult! I have always believed the saying that you will find and make time for those most important to you. However, having an illness makes things more complicated. Now there are some relationships that will be easier to upkeep than others. For example, I live with my boyfriend so the poor sod has no choice but to see me every day. Yes our quality time together has been eaten into but I still get to see him and spend time with him because we share our home. Next is your famalam. Now, I duno about you guys, but for me theres waaayy less fucks given when it comes to my parents and siblings seeing me when I'm ill. They've seen you shit yourself as a baby, wet the bed as a child, be ill a million times as a teenager and pop round for a cuppa looking fully homeless as an adult because let's face it, the hangover won those days. Friends are different though.
Obviously there are categories of mates. You have everything from BFF'S to work mates to old School mates to acquaintances. But any of the above is harder than family or a boyfriend of 11 years when it comes to being unwell. Well, it is for me. I guess with your friends there is more of a sense of keeping up appearances and whilst that isn't the case with my bestest buddy, it is with everyone else. To varying amounts of course, but it is defo still there. You see, friends make plans and I have every single intention of going and having the time of my life and I get all excited about seeing everyone and then BAM illness kicks in like nah babe you need to rest sorrynotsorry. I, for one, HATE how flaky my illness has made me. I have never cancelled as many social events or casual hang outs with mates in my whole life as I have this last year. It gets me SO frustrated too!!! I don't want to seem like a flake. I don't want people to stop inviting me because they think I just cba and won't turn up! I don't want anyone to be annoyed or upset at me for constantly having to cancel on them. BUT I am just not physically able to do it all. Which makes me want to cry.
I still want to have friends. I still love all of my friends. Nothing has changed in that sense even though it has in every other way. On the days when I am being super kind to myself (which isnt very often) and I am just resting and listening to what my body needs, it can become quite easy to forget I am ill. I rest up and then wake up the next day feeling like Wonder Woman wanting to take on the whole world. But then I am shot back to reality because when I try to do more, my body can't keep up and it punishes me. It sucks. All I want to do is just be "normal" again. I want to say yes to every gathering and laugh all day and dance all night and travel far and wide to visit all my friends but I cant. I am having to accept that now. As hard as it may be.
So, if you are my friend or if you have a friend who is really unwell please remember this post. Remember that I don't want to keep cancelling on you but I have no choice. Remember that I love you just as much no matter how little you are seeing me in person recently. Remember that I still cherish our friendship and appreciate every single invite to things. Remember that although I can't travel very much to come to you right now, alot of the time I would be happy for you to come visit me! Just remember me. Remember that I am still here, still the same person but with some physical constraints right now that make life really hard atm. I am sorry for all of the times I cancel but trust me when I say no one is more annoyed or upset than me when that happens. I didn't chose this. I never would. It is, however, the hand I have been dealt and I am living with it as best I can right now!
I know some people may read this and think, well if they're your real friends they would do anything to support you blah blah but I am realistic. Life gets in the way. People need to sometimes put themselves first and that is fine. I don't expect to be at the top of everyone I know's list 24/7 because that is unrealistic. I do, however, want my friends to always know that if they havent heard from me in a few days/weeks it is only because my illness has been worse. In these cases I would love for you to reach out to me! When everything feels so negative, one little message from a mate can turn my whole week around! Even if I can't travel to meet you somewhere right now or do all the fun things we used to. I soooo appreciate those little messages. And really, just know that I am working so hard to make myself better, for me of course, but also for everyone I love because I want things to be how they used to be. Or as close to that as possible!
I hope this all made sense and you enjoyed reading. I also hope that if you know someone who is having a really tough time or is really unwell that this maybe gave you some insight into how it feels to be that friend. It is crap. Trust me. So if you love them and miss them just let them know right now with a little message to check in on how they're doing today. Don't be mad if they don't reply straight away and don't be angry if they cancel your plans because it is not what they want either. Be forgiving, be kind, show support and love to everyone! Make your mates lives a little brighter with some understanding and TLC :)
Peace & Love ya'll xxx