When Your Friends Are Living Life...Without You
I see it every year, more pictures of friends expanding their families, getting engaged, traveling the world with groups of friends. And I get sad. It's an initial wave of sadness that hits me, because selfishly, I know that those things are not in the works for me right now.. and it hurts to think that they may never happen.
Some of these envious feelings happen even with friends who have IBD, like me!
How do they manage their illness, illness with a spouse, illness with a spouse and children, illness, a spouse, children, friends & a full-time job. While sick. And I'm barely treading water. I'm single, I live in a run down apartment with rescues and have a hospital bag packed during most months of the year.
Feelings begin to override your brain in the location that tells you not to be jealous or angry or elicit any sort of reaction other than happiness for someone else. Your brain only lets you see the things illness has taken from you and leaves you wondering if you'll ever have that.. if you'll ever deserve to be that happy.
But the thing that hurts the most about when your friends start making plans is when they stop including you in them. They have no concept of what "I'm sorry, I can't make it tonight, I'm going to have to cancel" really means. For the most part, many friends who don't understand never tried to and have gotten angry when I've had to cancel last minute. I guess because of the things I was unable to do, that meant someone else felt they had the power to decide what I could do from now on in part of that relationship. And now, those relationships are non-existent.
If I ever want to feel bad about myself, I just log on to social media around the holidays and see how full of life my friend's lives are.
It's human nature to feel embarrassed or a little shameful when life has kicked some extra life lessons your way and you're quite a few steps behind the people you surround yourself with.
If I see a ring, I'm reminded how long it's been since I've had a serious relationship and start to overthink everything about why I haven't - intentionally or not. If I see pictures of a wedding, I wonder why I didn't make the cut to be involved in some way, shape or form. If I see a baby, I wonder if someone will ever love me enough and have that opportunity to bring a child into this world. Will I be healthy enough for more than one person? When I see a new home or car, I'm reminded that my financial means constrict every part of my decision-making in life, because my income goes towards medical bills, prescriptions, and procedures. When I see new adventures, traveling the world, being free.. I feel tied down.
The thing is, I know I shouldn't feel this way, but when you've had so many things taken from you, it's inevitable to have a selfish moment and think "will that ever be me?"
How open are you about being diagnosed with IBD?