How relationships change when you have a chronic illness


It is strange to me how relationships change when you have a chronic illness.  Since I became so ill with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Back issues the relationships with my immediate and extended family are stronger, but the relationships with almost all friends have become more distant or non-existent.  I really miss “my friends” or were they really my friends??  😦

My husband and I have always had a loving and strong relationship, but since my illness our relationship has gotten even stronger – and I didn’t realize that it actually could!  I am grateful that he is so supportive and does anything to help make our lives easier.  I know this is not a “piece of cake” for him.  Relationships with our boys, my parents, mother-in-law, brothers and other extended family members are stronger as well.  I am also so thankful that my family is so supportive.

Friends on the other hand really surprised me.  I mostly had friends from work, friends that I went to church with, and neighbor friends.  My neighborhood friends are still my friends and I still hear from some of my old church friends that I know I could call on at any time.  Work friends that I thought were “my friends” are distant or non-existent except for a couple.  I had worked with some for almost 20 years and I had developed what I thought were really good relationships.  When I had to quit my career (5 years ago) I was VERY ill.  At first I would receive calls or emails from some of them but most just simply forgot about me.  I was too sick for a while to even think about trying to contact friends, and now that I am somewhat better, I normally have to be the one to initiate contact.  I realize that it is difficult to know what to say to people who are so ill, but trust me on this…. just say ANYTHING.  I am still a person and need friends to call and talk, to email me, to talk to me on Facebook, to ask me to go to lunch, etc.

Sorry if I sounded a little pathetic, but this is something that really hurts – way down deep.  Isn’t it strange how relationships change when you have a chronic illness.

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2 Comments on “How relationships change when you have a chronic illness”

  1. csgomez79 Says:

    I experienced the same thing when I became ill last year. I worked with some of these people for 10 years and I considered them friends but they obviously didn’t feel the same way. This caused me so much emotional distress. I’m so glad you posted about this because I feel like I can’t post about it on my blog yet. I’m afraid that they’ll see and be mad at me. I’ve found more support through the online community of people with fibromyalgia than with anyone outside of my family.

    • Ginger Ray Says:

      Sorry this happened to you as well. I had never thought of people that had to leave work due to illness going through this, but it does cause lots of emotional distress at a time when you are going through so much with an illness. Thanks for your comments. We have to stick together and reach others that are experiencing the same things.


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