Wednesday, October 17, 2012
YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND!
“YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND”
First, I want to thank everyone that has sent me such wonderful words of support and encouragement since I started my blog. You are all so encouraging and the reason I decided to do this in the first place!
I know so many of us have found a real sense of community via the ICA Facebook page and are able to share our experiences, successes, struggles and so forth through this wonderful social media tool. But as many of us have often talked about, when we get sick it seems our circle of friends seems to dwindle and we feel a sense of isolation. I was talking about this with my therapist yesterday. It is a challenge, and I know my circle has shrunk since I went on disability. But, let me tell you, if you have even one close friend that is there for you, that makes you laugh, that helps you to NOT always focus on being sick, cherish them and cultivate that relationship! I have a very small group of friends, but they are so supportive, encouraging and have stuck by me, that I cannot even express how much they mean to me and how grateful I am for their friendship. I just got off the phone with one of my girlfriends and we had the best time chatting with each other and laughing. Tomorrow, bladder willing, I’m having lunch with one of my other remaining friends. She always makes sure we get together as often as I am able and we talk on the phone, Facebook and email too. These are my dearest friends that have stuck by me and I hope each of you has a friend or two just like I do.
But, maintaining these friendships isn’t all one way either. I know we can often feel that because we are sick, we sometimes feel our friends should always be the ones to reach out to us. It has taken me work with my therapist to understand the other person’s perspective and how so often friends just feel helpless, don’t know what to say or do and back off or say the wrong thing. So, for me, I try to figure this out and keep plugging away at the relationship – up to a point. All relationships are a two way street; so I have to reach out to them just as much as they have to reach out to me. I make sure I don’t spend all our time talking about ME being sick. I answer their questions, bring them up to date, then pivot over to their lives and get caught up with what’s happening with them. Like many of us, some friends have fallen by the wayside, but the ones that stick with you are your TRUE friends who really care. Even if it’s only one, two or three (that’s about where I am these days). Keep them close to you; let them know how important they are to you. THANK them for standing by you and for their support.
So, this is something I am working on coming to terms with. Figuring out that, yes, my life has changed and I can’t socialize like I used to, and that some of my friends have fallen away. But I can choose to dwell on the loss and changes, or I can thank heaven for the friends that have stuck by me and be happy with those relationships and make the most out of them. I am happy today thanks to the time on the phone with my girlfriend and that’s the most important thing. I am happy, even with all the struggles, talking with a girlfriend can really make my day! I hope everyone has at least one friend that can make them happy too!
This video/song really speaks to me; I hope you enjoy it and find it as inspiring as I do – “You’ve Got a Friend”