The quickest way I’ve found to lose friends or minimally, just be disengaged from them, is to become chronically ill.
Works like a charm!
It may take a while, but stick with it, in the end, they’ll crack! They all do. Can’t say I blame them, really… I mean seriously, I find being around me a bit of a bore and quite tedious, at the best of times.
Day after day it’s the same fucking thing… I don’t even have to say a word; you can see it in my eyes, it’s written all over my face… “I’m exhausted,” “I don’t feel well,” “I have no energy.” “Today’s not a good day.”
I dread when a friend or acquaintance asks, “How are you?” I usually teeter on the edge of telling an outright lie and telling the boring truth, for at least several awkward seconds. I’d say 60% of the time I respond with the proverbial “Ohhh, I’m okay… thanks,” but there’s that other 40% of the time, where I just tell the goddamn truth!
“Hey you asked…. if you didn’t really want to know you shouldn’t have asked!”
“I feel like shite, actually.”
I’m exhausted. I have no energy. I don’t go anywhere. I don’t do anything. I don’t see anybody. I’m isolated and feel lonely, but I don’t have a real desire or the enthusiasm, to change that. I miss interacting with people, but I lack the drive and “oomph” to make any meaningful interaction happen. If I do make plans with you, I will most likely end up cancelling them at the last last-minute anyway, so what’s the point?
What a joy, huh?
As I watch them slowly back away, *their eyes darting left to right in quick, jerky, “fight or flight” movements* I realise I’ve gone to far… again! It hit’s me like a ton of bricks, that the “question,” was, in fact, rhetorical! It was asked with the intent and understanding that it would be answered with a pleasant, socially acceptable response, such as; “Fine, thank you, and you?”
The “question,” was NOT a genuine invitation for me open this smelly, maggot infested can of… can of, well can of MAGGOTS!
Sorry, I apparently misinterpreted the situation… again!
I get it. I do.
Sick people are NO fun to be around at all! Especially those of us who are only chronically ill. I mean maybe, if we had terminal illness of some kind, our friends might be more inclined to stick around a little longer (some good friends, may even last the duration if you’re terminal), but even terminal gets old.
When you’re dying, it reminds people of their own mortality and makes them think about the time they may or may not have left. It makes them face those uncomfortable questions and look at their lives in earnest… and come on, let’s be honest, not many people want to take time out of their busy, fun, day-to-day schedule to examine their life!
I have seen many close friendships (and some family relationships, as well) crack under the pressure of a terminal illness.
A serious, chronic illness is maybe like one step down from a terminal illness… maybe two. We’re really sick, but we’re not dying. We’re going to be sick for a long time, but still, we’re not dying. We’re poorly, pathetic and perhaps perpetually needy, but for fuck’s sake we’re not dying!
I think our healthy friends get confused by the fact that they don’t really understand our illness; they’ve most likely never heard of it before, they can’t see it and let’s face it, most of us look (and act) like we’ve just become a bit lackadaisical and put on some extra weight!
All they know is that we’ve changed. We are not as much fun as we used to be. Maybe we don’t drink anymore. Perhaps we can’t stay out past 9:00pm, or we don’t even venture out of the house after 5:00! We don’t add much to the conversation, because all we have is our illness, our meds, our taper down schedule, our aches and pains, etc…
I just had the most sobering thought! What if NONE of this RANT resonates with ANY of you and I’m the ONLY one who has had friends disengage? Maybe I’m the only one who has allowed herself to be socially incapacitated by PMR/GCA.
Well… I’m glad I put that out there for all to see!
Anyway, I digress… we have changed! We are not the same. We have morphed into totally different people and frankly, we do suck, a lot of the time. It’s not out fault. We didn’t choose this, it just happened. We’d change back to our “old selves,” in a second if we could, but that is not a choice we have.
I have every faith that some of my really good friends will be there when I finally shake the shackles of these diseases. Oh sure, the relationship/friendship will be different… we will have lost a few years of close, intimate, authentic sharing and growing, but we’ll pick up from where we left off and carry on. Hopefully.
There is also the hope that I will have made some new friends! Maybe I’ll have strong, new friendships that will have been built on this festering can of maggots! I mean come on, having all this in common, will surely bring us together… if for no other reason than, “…misery loves company!”
Que será, será
I can’t stop it. I can’t change it. I can’t control it. I won’t worry about it.
I accept that there are some people who are in my life now that may not be here in 1, 3, 5 years… and that’s okay.
I freely release them, from the now sickly, bonds of our friendship.
I have every faith, I’ll see you on the other side… maybe.