I have heard many times how losing friends and being able to ‘count your friends on one hand’ is all part of growing up. It is common knowledge that people will come in and out of our lives, but those people seem to move a hell of a lot quicker when you’re going through something difficult. I was not prepared for my diagnosis, but I was definitely not prepared for the absence of some of my best friends when I became chronically ill. Those of you who may be going through something really tough right now, whatever that may be, those of you withdrawing yourselves because you’re struggling to cope, and those of you who also recognise your friends dropping out of your life because you’re no longer able to do the things you used to; I know how it feels. I know what it’s like to lose your ‘forever friends’ – the ones you pictured reading a speech at your wedding, and the ones you imagined would be there for you through everything. I know how painful it is to feel them disappear from your life when you’re trying not to disappear yourself. I want you to realise that this is nobody’s fault. It is not your fault, you didn’t do anything wrong. You definitely didn’t ask for something shit to happen to you. I still don’t know why it’s considered a part of life to lose friends, or why that becomes all the more frequent in difficult times. Maybe those people got fed up of all the medical talk, maybe they didn’t want to hear that I was not okay, or maybe they weren’t comfortable that my illness involved my bowels?

poo     chronic illness cat

On a serious note – I’ve realised that whatever their reason may be, it is okay. I have learnt that some people ignore the things that they don’t want to understand or deal with. And I feel better knowing that the people who don’t want to understand that a few things in life have changed for me, don’t get to be around for the good times, either.

There are many things that I can now thank my illness for, that I never imagined I would be able to. I am thankful for it making me stronger, making me appreciate every tiny thing, and making me less judgemental and more empathetic. But one of the things that I am really thankful for, is for highlighting the truly wonderful and precious people in my life, and those who are only around for the good times. Crohn’s disease, depression, and anxiety have previously made me feel like I had lost control of so many things in my life. But one thing I can control is the people I choose to surround myself with, and the environment that I create for myself. Being so poorly and so low has allowed me to see my life in a completely different light, and I no longer care for trivial things. I no longer want to make an effort with people who only want to hear from me when I’m up to getting drunk, or the people who stopped getting in touch because they assume I’m still too sick. Don’t try to save relationships with people who stopped calling, and stopped caring when you went through some hard times. Remember the great memories you made, and move on. Cherish the people who have stuck around to see you through the bad times, and to celebrate the good. (Thank you a million times over to those people in my life. I love you more than you could ever know!)

Health, happiness and love,

Anna

xxxx

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