This is a bit of a bug bear of mine. Although I have many friends in my life, I found that being sick with CFS/ME was extremely isolating and even my best mates really didn’t know how to support me through it. It is a really tough one and I’m still struggling with the realisation that friends are simply not family, and that I shouldn’t expect them to be.
I’m an only child and fairly outgoing. I learned pretty early in life that I get a good kick out of having lots of friends and lots of fun around me. I even started to feel like my friends were my family. Although I think this is a beautiful place to be, I also think it is a little ‘rose coloured’. Really when the going gets tough, these days, most people would love to be there for us, but the reality is they can’t.
I’ve even heard many stories via you guys and the many stories of others with CFS/ME, that some of you have actually lost your partners as they simply couldn’t deal with the burden of being with someone with CFS/ME. Understandably it is a pretty tough endeavor and not for the faint-hearted. But it is also oh so painful, when those that can chose to leave CFS/ME behind do.
So what good could possibly come of this isolated situation?
Well I am now, I believe, at the tail end of CFS/ME and I’m reconnecting with loads of old friends. It is so wonderful and brings me great joy. But I do often wonder, well where do I really stand now.
I am so grateful to my mum, she has been such a darling throughout this chapter of my life and we are really lucky because this has brought us closer together. I’m still struggling with the loss of a dear friend who has been a casualty of this saga, but, I have also become much closer to myself.
Many spiritual writings suggest that one of the greatest achievements of life is to ‘know thy self’. And really this is probably one of the biggest challenges of life. Challenging our beliefs and delving deeper for better understand is not the easiest thing to do, but I believe it offers some of the most satisfying experiences we have to absorb in this life.
So, how about a few years to draw yourself away from society and get to know yourself? Sound enticing? Yeah didn’t think so. LOL! No sane person would generally put themselves into this situation, unless they were on a pretty heavy spiritual journey. But that is our mark and the outcome, if you chose to accept, can be deeper understanding of yourself.
For me I have come to understand that my expectations were not really very realistic and that I had also tied in my own self worth into these unrealistic expectations which is a big recipe for disaster. I feel I now see more with eyes wide open. This is much better for everyone involved. No one wants to feel like they let me down, I think most people would feel that they wish they could do more. Most of us feel that about people in need.
I go forward knowing that there is now a part of me that is looking for deeper relationships. Not quantity, but quality. I have lots of quality friends but not necessarily quality relationships, so for future reference that is where I’ll be putting more of my time.
How have your friendships changed? How do/did you deal with the isolation?