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?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (5)
  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    5 months ago

    This is so real. Many times I have taken breaks from social media because when you are flaring and can’t seem to even shower on your own, seeing pictures of everyone living their best lives is hard. We are human. Social media is everyone’s highlight reel. I say, whenever things get bad, just take a break.

    Thanks for the post.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • Kelly C (#purpleproject) moderator author
    5 months ago

    So, the only time I go on social media now is to look at my timeline – I’ve filtered out all posts but dogs and otters!! Haha. But for real, I took a month off and I even told my parents & friends that I was turning off my phone for a few days at a time and it helped my mental health so much.

    We rely too much on our phones, but for me, personally, all of my friends that can relate to my situation live inside my phone, as they live so far away.
    Kelly, Author & Moderator

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    5 months ago

    So true. We definitely rely on our phones so much.

    I need to figure out how to filter my posts! I get wayyyy too much overload of things that I don’t care about. Love that you filtered towards dogs and otters lol.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • BeeNee
    1 year ago

    You took the words right out of my mouth. I have had to take a break from social media because it reminds me too much of all the joy I am missing out on. I was just recently on vacation to visit family, and after 3 days of it, I was physically so exhausted and in pain, that I just told them, I couldn’t “do today.” I never heard the end of it. I was told I was too young to feel that tired, or that I was just trying to get out of certain activities—it hurt, it really did. I try my best to do as much as I can, but sometimes there is nothing you can do, but be sick in bed. Even people who know I have CD look at me and assume because I’m not 50lbs and staggering around, that I must be perfectly fine. I’ve had to cancel last minute on weddings, birthdays (including my own), dinners, Tuesdays, you name it. Older friends think me a rude flake and have long ago stopped calling. I really cannot look at another happy picture of a wedding, or kids, or some fun event because that hurts too. I want to be happy for them, but it’s hard when you’re keeled over or running to the bathroom or notice you’ve not been invited to a best friend’s birthday party because they assumed you couldn’t make it…again.

  • Kelly C (#purpleproject) moderator author
    5 months ago

    This was a very hard article to write… and even harder to share with my friends & family. I know they think they are doing right in however they choose to support me… But what they may not realize is that we have several hands we play with and we choose to show the only hand that’s comfortable for others to see.

    Saying “No” or “I can’t” is really difficult for people, but they may not realize how hard it is for the person who is saying it out loud… that they haven’t left the house in a month, they desperately need their friends and family for support but just don’t know how to ask for it. And even worse, after losing friends previously, they may have no one else to turn to anymore.

    Illness robs you of so much & I am so sorry you resonate so well with this article. Please know I’m thinking of you and write these articles so that people like the two of us feel less alone.
    Best,
    Kelly, Author & Moderator

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