Sad woman engulfed by speech bubble from friend

Losing a Close Friend Due to My Illness

I’ve written about this topic before, but it still hurts like hell to write about. It hurts to think about. I don’t think losing a friend due to my illness will ever not hurt. The way it happened this time hurt the most out of any of them. My “friend” was extremely ableist to me.

It was out of nowhere

It’s no secret to anyone that the past year of my life has been the hardest health-wise. I’ve been more fatigued than I ever was in the first 4 years of my illness. Sometimes I have trouble breathing due to how tired I am. I’ll walk up a few stairs and be out of breath.

Obviously, when things aren’t going well, I want to vent. I need people to rely on because if I have no one, I might lose my mind. I always turn to a close friend to vent about how frustrating it is being sick. Someone I thought was a close friend, at least.

Things were going seemingly fine, with the occasional ignored message here and there, but I really didn’t see this coming at all. One night last week, I got a message that looked like an essay.

It was extremely ableist

The words that I read on my screen made me instantly burst out into tears. I was lucky to have my boyfriend by my side when I opened this text, otherwise, I would have spiraled.

“I feel like I can’t relate to you because every day it just seems like you tell me how tired you are and how much pain you’re in”

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that it’s harder for able-bodied people to relate and understand what we’re going through. I get it. What I don’t understand is how that can affect someone so much that they don’t want to be friends anymore.

“I agree with the fact that you shouldn’t let it control your life and prevent you from living and it seems like all I hear about is how you can’t do this or that”

This is what really hurt me. The comments about how I shouldn’t let my disability control my life. It hurt so much because I had recently opened up to this friend about how I’ve needed help bathing for the past 5 months of my life. Of course I'm going to be depressed that I can’t do certain things anymore. Who wouldn’t be?

I know some people will be thinking “well, just don’t be so negative, don’t talk about it”, but that’s not who I am or who I want to be. I want to be able to open up to my friends about how I’m truly feeling, and I don’t like hiding things from the people I love. I want to talk about it because this has been the hardest year of my life, and hiding how I’m feeling would impact my mental health too much.

“I feel like I also try to help you but you don’t actually take the advice or suggestions I give”

I wanted to touch on this because no one HAS to take the advice people give them. As a disabled person, hearing someone’s able-bodied advice sometimes just isn’t what I need, or something that is even possible. This wasn’t fair of them to say to me.

I learned that this wasn’t a true friend

What was really mind-blowing to me was the fact that I’d talked to this person every day for over 2 years. They knew about my ups and downs and how much being disabled impacted me mentally and physically. Yet they still chose to say these things to me.

I know now that this friend wasn’t worth crying over, but it still hurts me to my core. It’s going to take a while to get over. I never expected this ableist language to be said to me by a friend. Never.

I have enough internalized ableism to get through, I sure as hell don’t need outwards ableism from someone I called my best friend.

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