What’s the difference between feeling isolated/misunderstood and feeling like your life has meaning? For me, the difference is having good friends around you and the pic today is me and my besties taken last weekend. So when I read a couple of things about the issues people with auto immune conditions have with friendships, particularly around why people might be less inclined to be in your life, I asked myself has having myasthenia gravis affected my friendships? Was I worried about losing friends as my condition fluctuates?
In short, no. Not one person in my life has ditched me because I have myasthenia and I really can’t see the people I am close to ever considering it. I like to think this is because I’m a good judge of character and only choose to spend time with people who make me feel good about being their friend. This sounds selfish, but I don’t mean they have to be cracking jokes all the time or be fascinating 24/7. What I mean is I only choose to have people in my life who I respect – what they stand for and how they treat people. Therefore I struggle to imagine anyone I respect being so superficial. Whether it is because they are scared of facing their own mortality or not, I firmly believe no one I love would be so cold.
Saying that, I think there is a risk of people getting diagnosed with a condition like MG and becoming self absorbed. I speak from experience – for the first six months after my diagnosis I was in a dark place. Because of the extra support I needed, when I didn’t hear from people I took it personally. I thought, how can they not ask how I am doing?! Where are they?! What you have to understand is people who care about you will support you if they are in a place where they can. If they’re not, they must make themselves feel better before they can offer support to anyone else. Just because you have a recent diagnosis does not mean you become the centre of the universe. You have to respect people always have their own ‘stuff’ going on and ensure you have a wide enough support network that others can pick up from those who can’t help at that time.
Friendships fluctuate just like MG, but if you have a genuine connection with someone formed out of mutual respect then they will not abandon you. Those ‘friends’ who do are definitely doing you a favour.