I love my friends, all of them and all the time. One of the differences between the friendships I have now and the friendships I had five years ago is every single one of them has endured a unique test. Some friends I have learned are great on the upswings but kill me when I am down. Others absolutely amaze me at the amount of unconditional love and compassion a person can show. No matter what friendship I have and what status it is at, illness has always added a spicy third dimension. Illness in my friendships, it is an unavoidable annoyance. Unlike myself, my friends always have the options to say "I just can't be with you/deal with it today"; I understand because honestly I want to not deal with illness myself a lot of the time. If I could, I would choose to get away too. There are no hard feelings surrounding this as I see no reason to have them. It is far better to have a friend admit they can't, than to have them be with you and break them.
Unlike most traditional friendships, a lot of times hanging out with me is just watching movies or having a very quiet time of tea. Yes, I do get up and roaring when I have the spoons. I have had some pretty fun adventures so far this year with my friends. Most of the time I do not feel up to doing such things sadly. Take for example this morning: I got up feeling fine and now I can hardly sit up. How can I be a good friend if I can't even get out of bed? No need to answer... there is no easy answer.
I wish I had the ability to be a "normal" friend. One who didn't need help getting up the stairs on a bad day or someone to grab medications when my hands just won't work for me to open the bottles. I've learned not to get embarrassed as easily or hide as I used to. Like any wounded animal, the main instinct is usually to flee and hide. Through this blog and slowly learning/accepting I am loved regardless of what my body is choosing to do has helped me to feel comfortable with friends at all times.
In my amazing and wonderful assortment of friends I have experienced love so many people never experience in their lifetime. Daily I am reminded I am not alone in this. For as much as I struggle to cope, there is a whole army of people around me willing to help. Not everyone has this and I am blessed. My male best friend I cannot even put into words the amount of unconditional love and grace shown to me (and how much I feel in return.) From adventuring with me, to being willing to spend Methotrexate nights with me even though vomit is one of the few things not in the comfort zone. Times when I expect the most strain, instead I am surrounded by far more love than I can comprehend. The things I have learned from this particular friendship are so powerful and positive, it has changed how I look at my every day life. Love is not something that can be bought or created, it just happens. * As I composed this paragraph I hesitated to include gender because of assumptions. Gender is only a boundary composed by society and it is amazing what can come from breaking it. It makes me smile just thinking about it.*
Chronic illness is something that can easily become the focal point of a friendship. I try so hard to not have it be but Lupus in the end dictates just about every move for me. This isn't exactly something I can just put "in the closet", though I really wish I could. It is incredibly taxing on me and a friend to make plans for an evening, just to have them blown to bits by a bad day. I can only imagine the frustrations I put on friends at times... I'm sorry. At times I feel inept as a friend. There is only so much I can do and sometimes it is just getting down the hall for water.
One of the hardest things is loosing a friend to Lupus. Now I don't mean they get Lupus and die... they just can't be around someone with Lupus/can't understand and just won't listen. Hard to accept inside it is in part me but far more them and I am loosing nothing. A friendship that isn't whole or turning to be toxic is not worth my spoons. Why should I drink poison when I can have love instead? Still it hurts really bad. Loosing someone on something I can't change, oh... it just can burn.
I cherish the love, memories and experiences from my friendships. They are far more powerful than anything Lupus could ever throw at me. Friends, you rock! :)