Please don't answer this question unless you've been seriously ill and had this disease for more than twelve years or so - ta.
Has anyone had any success in building satisfying friendships? If so, how did you manage it?
I've spent most of the last ten years in a very severe flare, and spent a lot of that time bedridden. Most of my friends disappeared during that time. It is only since the advent of Remicade and Humira that I've achieved a small amount of mobility, and I've been getting out a bit more and have been trying really hard to make new connections and build new friendships.
Just for the record, I'm a fairly self-sufficient sort of person. I'm not one to jump on the phone and wail the minute something goes wrong; am more likely to be the person who listens to the other person's problems; try to stick by other people while they are struggling, and hardly ever ask for help myself (though am grateful if someone ever offers it of their own accord).
I thought I was doing really well in building new friendships... really, I did... I've listened & supported through their marriage problems, picked them up from the train station, sympathised while they whinged because they had colds or sore bones, etc etc etc etc etc, and have generally tried to be good company. Now, I find myself in a position where I'd really appreciate a little bit of TLC myself (very painful and disabling joint disease flare) and *nobody* is there.
The deacon from church dropped by to find out why I hadn't been to church lately (been in hospital several times; also have joint pain that is making it hard to shower and dress myself, let alone drive to church & sit through the service), made a few sympathetic noises, and disappeared. I've dragged myself to social functions, obviously very ill and hardly able to lift my cup of tea, and *no-one* has said "are you ok?" or checked on me afterwards to see if I'm managing, or even just to say hello.
Seriously, had it been me, it would have been, "that must be upsetting for you; would you like to talk about
it?", or "well, if you can't drive, Mrs X lives near you and could give you a lift to church, would that help?", or, at the very least a phone call a few days later to say, "you were really sick at our last function; how are you now?".
As I said, I check on *them* when they have colds, so it's really upsetting to be ignored simply because I've committed the crime of being ill. It's not like they need to be scared I'm going to ask them for help, because I generally don't, and wouldn't.... I'd just appreciate some contact and someone acting as if they cared.
I've been thinking a lot about
this lately, and I think there are some screwy power dynamics here. They have the power; they can flit in and out as they choose, and be as suppportive or unsupportive as they like. I have less power, and am lonely enough to be desperate to make & preserve friendships, so need to be there constantly... listening, listening, listening and supporting, even though (evidently) it won't be reciprocated. It's upsetting.
So.... has anybody had any success in forging friendships that are equal and reciprocated, or do you all feel the screwy balance of power, as I do?
I'm pretty sure this problem isn't unique to me. I watched my mother go through it too, as she fought & died from cancer.
Ivy (sad and fed up).
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum. New meds thread