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Chronic Pain and Fatigue – Maintaining Relationships

18 Nov 13
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Photo (c) Megan S, October, 2012

Photo (c) Megan S, October, 2012

I’ve found since being ill I don’t get to see my friends as much as I like. And I’ve begun to realise if I don’t start taking a more proactive approach I’m going to lose touch with people that are important to me.

Over the past 7 months I’ve had to decline multiple invitations to events because I physically couldn’t make it at the time or location the event was being held. I attempted to make it clear in my declines that I would love to be there but just couldn’t do it.

Just recently it was brought to my attention that there has been some miscommunication and several of my friends thought I just didn’t want to spend time with them. Luckily this time round E stepped in and has explained in detail what I’m dealing with and what I can and can’t do. The next event (a Christmas catch up) has been organised for a time (early afternoon not late evening) and location (somewhere relaxed without too much background distraction) that works well for me and I’ve gladly accepted the invitation.

This situation has made me realise the precarious nature of our relationships with others when we suddenly fall with a chronic illness.

Obviously some ‘friendships’ will fall to the wayside but those that are important you do need to make an effort to maintain no matter what side of the relationship you’re on.

If you are the one who is chronically ill, you need to be very open with those who are important to you and clearly communicate your limitations and desires. You also need to make an effort to keep communication flowing regularly, even if it’s just a text message. This communication should be about topics other than your health unless you are asked.

Those who have friends who are chronically ill should listen carefully to their friends needs and try to accommodate them when making plans. They should also try to maintain communication, if their friend is to sick to respond they still appreciate the thought of an email or message. Finally they should only ask how their friend is if they really want to know.

Overall, maintaining relationships is about both parties being open and communicating clearly with each other.

This is something I’m still working on but I’m hoping to get better at it as I go on.

Thank you to all my friends who have listened and adjusted plans occasionally so that I can join in and feel part of the group still.

Have you had difficulties maintaining relationships?

What do you do to maintain relationships with those closest to you?

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  1. Jumping_Jenny_444 November 18, 2013 at 9:32 am

    I’ve found that its a lot more difficult to hang out with people ever since getting fibro. The only people I’m close with are the people at the senior center and my WordPress family. An idea I’ve been thinking about is inviting friends over my house. That way, I don’t need to drive and exhaust myself! 😉

    • Megan S November 18, 2013 at 9:38 am

      That’s what I try to do as often as I feel up to it… Still doesn’t happen that often. But I’m hoping increasing messages and occasional phone calks may keep everyone satisfied until I’m feeling up to more.

    • Claire November 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      Yep, this makes it much easier for me – but I now have a rule. No food. I will not prepare any food – I always get excited and carried away – I love to cook (although I don’t ever suggest home-made noodles, just buy the damn things) and true friends don’t expect you to – it defeats the purpose of them coming all the way to see you so you can rest!

      • Megan S November 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm

        That’s a great rule! I’ve been asking people to bring something to share and those that visit know that it’s best to get their own drinks when they want them.

  2. pam Schartner November 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    The cats have sorted out their relationship from the looks of this photo. Very appropriate for today’s post

    • Megan S November 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks 🙂 they get along most the time.

  3. jenusingword November 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Reblogged this on jenusingword's Blog and commented:
    I totally identify!

    • Megan S November 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks for reblogging this. It’s definitely a topic I think most people with a chronic condition can relate to.

      • jenusingword November 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm

        I so agree. Happy to reblog to help others with their blog and to help people like me who struggle. Off subject too…..I love your pic. You have great style and are gorgeous. Super jealous! Anyways….now that I’ve freaked you out…

        • Megan S November 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm

          Thanks Jen 😉 that photo was taken at our wedding.

          • jenusingword November 18, 2013 at 5:31 pm

            You make a beautiful bride then! Congrats!

          • Megan S November 18, 2013 at 5:35 pm

            Thanks 🙂

  4. Claire November 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    This is so important – and something that I am coming to understand myself. The miscommunication factor is huge. As are people who are respecting your need for space, but then you think they don’t want to call someone so sick and boring… Drama drama drama!

    • Megan S November 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      Exactly! It’s all about communication.

  5. dawnhosking November 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    I have 2 loyal and faithful friends who understand my limitations and leave months between visits. I am very lucky. We keep in touch via email regularly and it’s a great support 😉

    • Megan S November 19, 2013 at 7:53 am

      That sounds great! I’ve got a few friends that come to visit occasionally and others who even before I was sick we could go months between visits and it was fine.

  6. Clear Reflection Yoga November 19, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Great post. Some relationships will fall by the wayside — even when you’ve clearly communicated your needs/limitations. Some people just don’t get it. I was hurt by that in the beginning. But, I’ve come to realize those were the relationships that required a lot of energy even before I got sick. Energy I don’t have any more. On the bright side, I’m closer than ever to some friends and have made great new friendships with people who have come into my life — people that aren’t sick themselves, but completely get it.

    • Megan S November 19, 2013 at 7:47 am

      That’s great! I’m definitely looking forward to making new friends and strengthening relationships. 🙂

  7. someonesideaofluxury November 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    (Just catching up on all your posts, you are a much better blogger than me!)
    This is a big one. I have been really surprised and grateful about who has turned out to be a good friend and disappointed about a close friend who also has a chronic condition but just didn’t understand. I was so hurt when she said I was “too lazy” to go to her hen’s night.
    On the upside, I have been able to spend more time with a friend who is home on maternity leave – she doesn’t care what my house or I look like (and vice versa) and short visits in the daytime suit us both!

    • Megan S November 19, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      That sounds good, I have a few friends on maternity leave now and I’m hoping to be able to catch up with them soon.
      I’m only doing daily posts because I’m new to this and have a reasonable amount to say AND I saw that it was NaBloPoMo this month so I’m aiming for at least one post a day for November… After that we’ll see if I can keep it up, it takes up a lot of my time and energy at the moment.

  8. NaBloPoMo Wrap Up | my chronic life journey November 30, 2013 at 8:27 am

    […] Living with Chronic Pain and Illness focussed on special events, managing personal expectations, maintaining relationships, resting, a healthy diet for me, and exercising. I even shared one of my favourite […]

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