One of the things I’ve had to adjust to recently is planning my life to work around my illness. I know now that if I go out on a night, the next morning will be a write-off (and by going out, I mean out for a meal and in bed by 10!), a full day trip will probably mean 2 days in bed. As someone who’s a planner anyway, this hasn’t really bothered me. It’s not just me who has to cope though, my friends are being affected too.
I think this pretty much sums up my feelings! Essentially, as long as I know what I’m doing, I’m okay. I can manage the exhaustion, I can plan recovery days, I can cope.
Explaining this to my friends, however, is really difficult.
“It’s only a coffee/lunch/drink/shopping trip”.
What you see as only a coffee trip, for me is a full day exercise. 10 minutes walk to the bus, wait for the bus, 20 minute ride into town, 10 minute walk across town. You get the idea, I’m exhausted before I get there. Then I actually have to have the coffee, sit down and make conversation, try not to mention how tired I am because this is meant to be a fun, relaxing social occasion. Lunch is worse. Evening meal is worse again. Even someone coming to visit me without warning can be hard work. Am I vaguely clean? Do I have something to feed you? Do I have the energy to make conversation?
There seem to be 2 alternatives.
1) I say no. That is not fun. I want a social life. I deserve a social life.
2) I plan my life with military precision, and make sure my friends do too. Which for me is fine, I can do that. For everyone else, it’s like booking a doctor’s appointment. “I’m sorry, no availability for the next 2 weeks, please ring back soon”. Annoying enough when it is the doctor, worse when it’s a spontaneous coffee trip with a friend.
To my friends. I understand if you’re annoyed, or frustrated, if you feel like I’m putting you off. I know I didn’t used to be like this. But please understand, this is how I have to live, this is the only way I can guarantee I get my uni work done, I go to interviews, I manage to eat. Please just bear with me, I’m doing my best, and I’m sorry.
How do you deal with managing illness and relationships?