Good friends are like stars, you don’t always see them, but they will always be there

I woke up this morning feeling pretty down and depressed, mostly because I am home alone most of the day, I am job hunting and frustrated by it, and my illness is really bringing me down.

However, I ended the day on a positive note – right after my afternoon doctor’s appointment, my friend Christine texted to see if I was free (she was downtown working at a hospital), which I was, so we met up for a coffee and an appetizer at one of the restaurants downtown. It was SO nice to see her, and catch up on life (I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw her!). She really brightened my day, and lifted my spirits and I am very thankful for that.

Friday Bart and I had dinner and games night at my friend Robb’s place – that was so much fun, and the dinner was tasty and Myers Way friendly!

Yesterday my friend Mike popped by our place and brought me a coffee since I couldn’t leave with my sprained ankle, such a nice guy! We caught up in the morning and it was great to see him.

I am seeing my best friend Natasha tomorrow – we haven’t seen each other in over a month and I miss her! We have a LOT to catch up on!!!

Next week I am seeing Katie, a close childhood friend for tea and dessert at her place in Burlington. We caught up briefly over text yesterday but there will be so much more girl talk going on! Can’t wait to see her!

And next weekend, Bart and I are headed up to Sudbury to visit my other best friend James, and his girlfriend Sarah – I can’t wait. I don’t think we’ve seen them since March!

While I was walking home from the restaurant, I thought about the friendships I used to have, compared to those I have now. It dawned on me that my friendships have really changed over the years, and most likely because of my chronic illnesses. I have lost a lot of friends because of my health, however, the friends that I do still have, I cherish with all of my heart! I still have a few close friendships from childhood, high school, university, soccer, full time work after university, and those met most recently. I have also gained some great friendships from a couple of people I met in a fibromyalgia support group a few years ago.

Thank you so much to all of you who have been there for me, and have been so loving and supportive over the years, I wouldn’t be where I am without you! (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, including those I haven’t mentioned here!!!)
My suggestion for others who are living with a chronic illness, is to get rid of the negative friendships, and keep up the positive relationships.

No good can come from keeping a connection to someone who is damaging to our health and psyche. We must learn to break those ties and move forward.

Here is a list of signs that your friendship is unhealthy:

1. They are not supportive of your commitment to healthy eating even though it improves your stamina, decreases your pain, and allows you to cope better.

2. They talk only about themselves. Conversations revolve around their drama. They are never open to listening to what you are dealing with.

3. They cannot accept that you have chosen not to engage in negative thinking and behaviors, including gossiping over a cup of coffee.

4. They do not get in touch with you while you are experiencing a flare-up. While you may not feel up to a phone call, a quick email never hurts.

5. They are jealous when you can’t work. They do not sympathize with the fact that you would love to be fulfilling your ambitions.

6. They tell you stories about other people with Fibromyalgia that can work and are doing much better than you are. They don’t understand that the condition fluctuates, varies and is on a spectrum.

7. They expect you not to do anything that you enjoy because you are sick and should act sick.

8. They are not supportive of the ways in which you are choosing to heal and refuse to acknowledge when your health is improving. They think they know what would work better.

9. They make general comments about people being lazy and about pain being all in one’s head in hopes that you will listen to their sage advice, without taking offense.

We all make excuses for the people in our lives, especially those that we love. But the truth is that letting go of and healing from poor friendships is essential. It is one of the most miraculous ways of healing our heath and lives.

It allows us to focus on ourselves as well as the precious friends that have our best interests at heart. There is never a good reason to allow someone to belittle you. Fibromyalgia is a difficult condition to manage, the best of times. There is no room for subjecting ourselves to unhealthy friendships.

If you have Fibromyalgia, I suspect that you are uneasy about confronting this type of friend. You don’t have to. It is not necessary or advisable. Weeding out the unhealthy relationships in your life can be done relatively easily, and quietly. You already know which of your friendships is unhealthy because that person sucks the life out of you.

Extract yourself from their lives. You don’t have to announce your intentions. You don’t have to hate them (that would not serve you in any way). You don’t have to do anything other than withdraw. Trust me, when you stop allowing them to dump their troubles on you, they will find someone else to play that role.

Send them love from your big heart. Wish them well on their journey. Release them from your soul’s path. Move on. And enjoy the great friendships that you do have!

Hope this advice helps others in a similar situation to mine.

Xoxo Lex


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