[RA & Friends] Dealing with Disappointed Friends

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rheumatoid arthritis and friendsDisappointed friends

by Chronicle Disease
I hate being disappointed about something, or someone. I hate someone being disappointed about me. A few weeks ago, I wrote an email to a dear friend in which I told her that I didn’t like her being disappointed in me but that I was disappointed in myself too.

What happened?

I cancelled too often on her during the past 3 years. While the 1st year was marked by such severe hip pains which (chronically) prohibited basically all fun stuff, the 2nd year was marked by the blessing of my own little wonder: great meds. Suddenly, I was nearly pain free and nearly all cautions were gone. Nearly. I got a big ‘but’ instead.

It wasn’t visible anymore. It didn’t come with sharp knives anymore. It made people forget about my health issues. But it became my new daily fight – low energy and a weak resistance. Too little sleep? Low energy. Too much work? Low energy. Too much stress, unhealthy food, too many good/long/dancing nights? Lower energy. A combination of these? Lowest energy ever. So I had to start taking care of myself and get myself a great resistance.

But that’s a tough thing to learn. I have a ‘normal’ career job, a little less ‘normal’ social life, and combined with some ‘normal’ travelling, it feels like I’m a normal 27-year-old girl. That’s what I want. I want to be normal. I want everyone to treat me like I’m normal. I do everything to act like all is going normal.

With all the acting and wanting to be, I sometimes neglected my health big time and myself. Working over time and running behind a diary filled with appointments turned into sleeping on the couch instead of dancing at night and sometimes even being too tired to eat healthy. So, multiple times during the past 3 years, my body wanted me to slow down. And showed that rigorously. I got two big infections, a few weird bugs, continuous tiredness, crazy recurring headaches, and sometimes, hip pains. And it caused that I had to cancel quite a few times on friends.

My friend set her limit on my cancelling. And told me so.

I hardly ever set a limit. My health does. I don’t like talking about health stuff. I don’t like to complain about my tiredness. I don’t want to be a pity-case. I want to be ‘normal’. So my friend couldn’t read my mind when I cancelled, nor had a clear idea how I was really doing.

However, thanks to my friend, I have learnt my lesson. I should take my health and problems to the stage once in a while, so that I don’t have to act ‘normal’, and my best friends become actors in my ‘so called life’ show. They get the big roles they deserve and that I (secretly) would love them to give.

So, I’ve started being more honest about how I’m doing. Revealing my real feelings. It takes friendships to another level, and myself too. But, of course, sometimes it’s also great to leave heavy stuff back stage, and put on a nice dress, some make up, heels and wear nice jewellery to forget about life as I know it.

Share the happy moments with your friends, but do also try and involve your friends in the rest of your life. They are the ones who can support you in the rougher times. If they know.


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2 comments… add one

  • Tanja

    November 13, 2011, 4:13 am

    Wow, this is so true..

  • 23 & Fatigued

    November 13, 2011, 10:48 am

    I’m reading this article at such a perfect time. Last night I was at a bar that my friend works at and these guys sat down beside me. I was there to wait for my friend and drive her home. I don’t know how the conversation went this way, but one of the guys basically said that I better start making memories now, while I can, and make the time to make these memories so that when I’m old I can look back and laugh.

    I’m always responsible. I’m always practical. It took me a long time to tell myself, “you’re NOT normal, slow down, listen to your body” and I’ve realized that I’ve taken that to an extreme. And I NEVER tell anyone that I have RA. I don’t want the looks. I’ve also been dating a guy who doesn’t know and I’ve realized I’m starting to resent his constant, “we have to turn into more of a night owl” attitude. It isn’t fair of my to get frustrated because he doesn’t know. But I still don’t want to tell him…It’s all so mentally and emotionally exhausting, not just physically!

    My own family doesn’t talk about it and most of the time I like it that way. But maybe I do need to put it more in the forefront so they can start to learn more about it (and me) too. Thanks for writing this, I hope you and your friend are okay :)


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