One thing I have found since my asthma has got worse is how important friends and friendships are. You know your good friends as they are the ones that no matter what time it is or however often you are in hospital they are there for you. They are the ones who know what to say. Over the past 12 years I have learnt who my good friends are. One is I guess someone who has known me since the day I was born as our Dads are best mates. Jen and Rich are always there. I must admit I am useless at keeping in touch but when we do it is like we met up yesterday. Despite having her own health problems she is honestly the best pal I could have and her great husband to be. Even being able to invite myself round to theirs is never an inconvenience!! I am so looking forward to them getting married and my youngest brother playing at their wedding!
Me Jen and Rich in the background
I guess when your ill and feeling isolated you have a lot of time to think and you see your friendships slipping away despite your best effort to hold on to them. I find I end up cancelling a lot of things because my breathing is not great and I hate doing it. Eventually people just stop inviting you to stuff or getting in touch and I can understand why but it doesn’t make it any easier. I hate letting people down but sometimes I just wish I would get the invite along to stuff even if I can’t go. It somehow makes you feel part of it even though you are not there.
My team mates at Lacrosse are great my team captain is particularly caring and was texting and round to see me. I felt bad earlier tonight when I was finding out about lacrosse as I received a text saying was I sure I should be playing. I got irritated by it and I know that it was only because they cared but sometimes it gets to me and I just want to be part of something again and be around people as this last few weeks have felt pretty lonely and depressing. I guess it made me reflect on a lot of stuff and I just feel I am going round and round in circles and not getting anywhere with my life. I wonder is it worth my health pushing myself to do everything I want.
One of my other saving graces has been friends I have made online. When I first discovered this sort of online world I thought it was all a bit weird and meeting people online was creep as you didnt know who they were and they could be someone totally different than they are saying. Having said that over the years the Asthma UK Forum and other breathing forums have been a godsend. You can speak to people who actually get it. They understand what it feels like to be terrified coz you can breathe but they know the little things like your first shower after an attack and being able to go to the toilet in the bathroom rather than a commode. Its all these things that a healthy person has no concept of.
I have recently been involved in a group made up of 5 of us. Im the only one in the UK, then a girl in Germany with a CF type of lung condition, a girl in Australia with bronchiolitis obliteratns and the a guy with CF post TX and a girls with CF in the states. Our wee group despite the miles and miles of land and sea between us has become very close. Despite all having different breathing conditions we can all understand each others hardships and trials but can also make each other laugh. The great bonus I have found is that having people in all different time zones means that there is always someone awake to talk to. I am the worst sleeper ever so being able to chat to someone at 3am is great!!! I skyped with Mandi the other day and having only been messaging each other it was like we had been friends for ages. An hour and a half later I had to go to sleep so we finished. It is just so good being able to speak to people and share stories but not just moaning about the negatives but also the positives to is great. We have been sending wee parcels to each other as well. It is friendships like these that I love because they are effortless. You don’t need to make an effort everything just comes naturally. Im so lucky to have met Mandi, Jay, Saskia and Rachel!!
I guess is anyone is reading think about a friend you have who may be unwell or facing a battle and just drop them a message to seesaw they are or give them a call. You will have no idea how much such a small gesture will mean to someone feeling isolated.