Time often flies by when you’re living, and when you have a chronic illness, time passes sometimes in odd ways. Slowly, in some measure, because living with pain is especially, well, painful, and the more pain you feel, the slower time seems to move (just think of waiting for a med to kick in, for example).
Time also passes quickly, especially when it comes to your external life. I am constantly amazed at how I can go weeks without talking to a particular friend, but it seems like much less time has passed.
When illness isolates us, loneliness can be hard to cope with. But when we emerge from our flare, or are finally able to reach out, again, it can be difficult to deal with, too. Because many people, whom we call friends, have not been with us for that particular siege, and with the passage of time and the seriousness of the episode/flare/illness events, we do change and grow, however subtly.
How, then, do you describe to those you haven’t seen or spoken with in ages, how you really are? How life is for you? What your relationships with them is, now that more time has passed and things haven’t exactly been easy in the interim?
As much as we love our friends and dear family members, illness affords us only so much quality time to devote to individuals while we’re struggling to stay afloat health-wise. I learned long ago that it’s okay not to have as many “close” friends as I once did, because I simply don’t have that much time and energy, as much as I’d want to. So, I bring my closest friends along with me on my illness journey (and I’m along with them), and for others with whom I’m friendly, and when I “come up for air,” I try to explain briefly, and then move on with the present.
In short, we don’t have to explain to everyone everything that goes on with our illnesses – we’d run out of energy mighty fast if we did! But we should stay close to those with whom we are close, and treasure those dear friendships that sustain us and with whom we can also be a good friend.
Blessings for the day,