How I Really Felt About My Friend Having a Chronic Illness

March 2nd, 2016, 10am

It was -7°C with overcast. The breeze was gentle.

Having a chronic illness is hard. It’s also really lonely. On top of your health and life, you have to constantly explain and re-explain why you’re sick. Even if you have amazing friends who try and be supportive, you still have to explain how there’s no way you can take back to back classes because you have to conserve your spoons. You then have to explain what you mean by spoons and why it’s completely relevant to the current conversation.

If you have no idea what I mean by spoons, follow the link and you’ll understand: Spoon Theory

I had a childhood friend who disappeared in high school. She was my best friend and we spent almost every weekend together. Since we spent so much time together she was well aware of what it meant to have a chronic illness. We would make plans on Monday and I would be hospitalized by Saturday. VW and I ran into each other again a few years later and in the mix of filling each other in on what happened in between the 6 years since we last spoke, she told me that she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and anemia.

Those are both chronic and they can only ever be managed with diet and supplements. When she first told me about her chronic illness, I was glad. I’m pretty sure I grinned. The first thought that crossed my mind in her search for sympathy was “Oh good. I’m no longer alone!” I was so glad that my friend now understood my life in a way that only another spoonie can understand something. The vanishing acts that I’m good at, she sympathized, and tried to understand when we were young but she didn’t understand. Now she understood it. I can use the phrase “I don’t have enough spoons to do that.” without getting confused looks.

We were always close, we were best friends, but now things are even better. I have a kindred spirit. I still get confused looks, I still smile and say “No, I’m fine.” when I think my lungs are going to explode or I’m just going to collapse from using too many spoons. It’s ok, though. It comes with the territory of being a spoonie. This spoonie is no longer alone, and that’s all I can ask for.

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Mariah Hillis

History buff living with chronic health problems. Lives life to the fullest, and dreams the biggest dreams, despite not being able to breathe in her sleep.

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