two people sitting on the ground together while a crowd walks away from them

Being Around People Who Get It

I’ve had quite a few people come and go from my life ever since I got sick. I try my best to only see the people that get my illness, but sometimes with new people, I have to feel out how they feel about it first.

The people that don’t get it

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve lost some friends and friend groups over the years. I attribute this to my illness, as the majority of these people just didn’t seem to understand what I was going through on a daily basis. Not only that, but they didn’t seem to want to understand my new life.

I’ve realized that it’s way more exhausting to be around the people who don’t get it. I can’t be my true self. I have to be a muted version of myself, only mentioning parts of my illness here and there and faking not being in pain all the time.

These people in my life would make me feel guilty or even sometimes crazy. If they asked how I was doing or why I was so quiet and I mentioned my pain, the conversation would end and it would become silent.

I remember once a girlfriend told me that her mom drinks thyme tea every morning to help with her pain. I told this to my friend and he said back to me “Yeah, well those kinds of people will believe anything”. It hurt me. I was just stating an interesting fact I heard (and something I wanted to try), and that was his response. This was on a cottage weekend trip, and I knew to keep my mouth shut about that stuff for the rest of the weekend.

Being around people who just don’t get the lifestyle that I was thrown into and now live is exhausting. It’s hurtful and I don’t deserve it. I know I don’t and that’s why I’m no longer friends with the people I used to have to fake being happy around. Not being able to be vulnerable to my friends is something I don’t want to put up with anymore in my adult life.

The people that get it

On the flip side of this, the friends that I have kept throughout my health journey are amazing. The friends that let me be my full and true self are the friends that I want to keep around and cherish forever.

It’s completely freeing and it feels so good to be able to talk about my pain, my medications, and my symptoms so easily. Seeing as that’s my life now, it’s what I talk about a lot of the time.

It doesn’t take all of my energy away to hang out with these friends. With my old friends, it would take so much energy up just faking being happy and okay, and I would feel completely drained by the end of the night or weekend. Not with my current friends. Of course, I get tired and need to rest, but it’s not the same kind of drained.

I’ll cherish them forever

The friends I’ve made or had throughout my entire health journey are forever friends. People that can be vulnerable and let me be vulnerable are the people I want to be around for the rest of my life. I want to be able to be my true self and speak how I’m actually feeling all of the time.

If you can, I recommend spending more time around the people who actually get your illness, or at least spending more time talking to them! It’ll make you feel a lot better about yourself and your connections.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

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

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.