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Let me begin this new journey by talking about something that has been very difficult for me, and those like me, to accept. The loneliness!

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In the beginning when our lives were “normal” we have so many friends. We have friends at work. After work we may go out with them and have fun and share some laughs. You may even go on weekend trips with them for Girl’s Weekends. You have the greatest times. You’re sure you’ll be best friends forever.

And your extended family is so much fun (or maybe they aren’t….). They have family reunions every year and even though you live a state or two away you can’t wait to get there and see everyone. You love staying in the hotel or camping out together. You stay up late laughing and watching the little kids play and reminisce about when you were that little. You and your closest cousin decide to get together next year for a vacation of your own and you both start counting down the days.

And the friends at your church love getting together at each other’s houses once a week for snacks and Bible Study. You love talking with them and sharing your world with them. And they can identify with the personal battles you are having. Outside of your regular meeting time you sit together during Sunday morning worship and enjoy hearing the Word and let the Lord speak to you. After service you all may go out for lunch and around the table you are having a quiet moment and someone asks how they can pray for someone before they eat. You decide this would be a good time to share about something that’s really been irritating you for the last few months. So you tell your dearest friends about the headaches and overall body aches you’ve been having and how nothing you’ve been taking is helping. A few friends chime in with “oh I feel like that all the time” or “my job gives me a headache everyday”. Everybody laughs! They pray for you. And you eat!

The next day you have a doctor’s appointment about those headaches and all over body aches. After some tests, which all come back normal, it’s determined that you have Fibromyalgia. He gives you some pain medicine and sends you home. Since the doctor didn’t tell you much of anything about your illness you decide to do what all of us do and go to the internet. You look up the symptoms and realize that you have more than just a couple of symptoms. You have all of them.

You decide that this isn’t gonna get you down. You can do all the same things you did before. You can hang out with your girls from work and go on girls weekends. Except now you realize that as time has gone by just working 3 full days of work is too exhausting. So hanging out after work and girls weekends are out of the question. Eventually they stop asking you. Pretty soon they stop talking to you all together. What happened?

At this year’s family reunion you realize driving to the next state might as well be like driving to the moon. Maybe you can ride with someone. So you catch a ride. But then you find out that you have to spend the whole weekend in the hotel resting from the drive. You don’t spend any time with anyone. You’re own family is afraid to bother you so they just don’t. You might as well have stayed home. When you get home you can’t go to work for a week because that’s how long it takes you to recover.

Loneliness! What happened to all of those great friends you had? When someone gets sick aren’t people supposed to help them? Send cards? Send texts? Make phone calls? Bring meals? Wouldn’t it have been nice to still be asked to do things even if you have to say no? Couldn’t a friend come over to your house and visit? Could they offer to shop for you? Maybe clean up a little?

Where did everybody go? Friends are my #invisiblefight