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Am I Too Much for My Friends?

Over the past 4 years of having AS, I’ve run into this problem over and over. I wonder if I’m too much for my friends. If my illness and daily struggles are just too much for other people to handle. I’ve talked to a lot of people in the chronic illness community who agree with this thought, too.

My needs are different

Obviously, me being 22 when I was diagnosed changed a lot of things in my life. My life instantly became doctor's appointments and infusions. I was in pain all the time, I was fatigued 95% of my life, and with this new life came even more anxiety and depression than I already had.

I quickly found myself separated from my friends’ lives. While they were out every weekend partying and getting drunk, I was at home crying in pain and struggling to have a shower every few days.

It never really got easier, the social side of AS. I’m just different from all of my friends. I’m always tired, and I’m almost always depressed. I spend a lot of nights nauseous and in pain. I can’t just work out my frustrations like other people. I’ve had to adjust so much of my life just to live semi-comfortably (which isn’t actually comfortable at all).

I see my friends moving out and starting their independent lives. I dream of that every single day. That one day I’ll maybe get to move out and be on my own, not dependent on my parents for everything.

Am I too much?

Obviously, my struggles are different. A lot of times when I turn to my non-sick friends, they don’t really know what to say. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say when someone’s struggles are so different and sometimes severe. I’ve been there, it can be difficult to know what to say. You want to help in any way possible but you feel like there’s nothing you could do or say to make them feel better. Trust me, I get it.

The thing is though, when you think too much about what the perfect thing to say is, you can easily get overwhelmed. For me personally, when I get overwhelmed, I want to pull back from the situation because I can’t handle it. In this situation, friends tend to get distant and stop answering after a while.

When this happens, I feel like I’m too much. I feel like just by living my life and being honest about my struggles, I’ve overdone it and my friends no longer want to speak to me. It hurts, it hurts a lot.

I’m not too much

I know in my heart that I am not too much. I know that. Sharing a lot of what I go through makes me stronger and makes my experiences real. If I didn’t share my life, no one would know what it’s like to live with AS.

I think a big issue is friends and loved ones not knowing what to say. They obviously want to help us. Seeing us struggling isn’t easy on them, and we have to realize that.

One thing I would suggest though if you’re a friend of someone with AS or a chronic illness, you don’t need to know the perfect thing to say or do. You just need to listen, sympathize, and be there. Let us know that we aren’t too much and that you’re there in whatever way we need you. That’s all we can ask.

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