Monday, December 30, 2013

Friendship/Support for Chronic Illness and Depression

People with chronic illnesses often feel isolated, both mentally and physically. If your friend is happy to talk about their condition  it may be worthwhile to find out what restrictions their condition might put on them. Some chronic illnesses can be quite limiting in a physical sense…so  talk to your friend and find out what works for them…they know their body best.

When they are experiencing "acute epsodes" That people with depression and chronic illness, experience periodically, they may want to isolate themselves. Always remember that they are still your friend. They still need to know that you are there for them. It can be hard on your friendship not to understand exactly what they are going through and missing your old friend. Not completly understanding why they wont go to lunch or that tupperware party. It is a good idea to educate yourself on their condition and find out ways to help them and you through these difficult times.
They may not always be straightforward with you because they dont want you to think that they are "complaining". If they seem to disappear socially, for a while, it may just be that they’re not feeling well at the time and not that they don’t want to catch up or go out.... It’s also important to remember that everyone’s case is different.

A few things to understand about chronic illness. Your friend can be experiencing a lot of pain, be it emotional or physical. This will limit their abilities and the need arises to make adjustments to many aspects of their lives. This in itself can be very frustrating.
Illness can often affect a person’s mobility or independence and that this is often a huge adjustment for a young person to make.  Bad days really suck and the frustration can sometimes be overwhelming and people aren’t as patient or relaxed as they may be normally.
 Illnesses don’t always make sense. One day your friend may be fine, and by the next they could be in tears with pain. “Flare ups” can start in a matter of minutes ...or may come on over days. Plans may need to be adjusted or postponed. Flare ups are often difficult to predict.
Illness and depression does not affect people in the same way. This is especially true with MS.

Remember, while it’s great to be there for your friend, it could put a strain on you. If the situation gets you down reach out and talk to someone.

Your friendship and understanding is important for those suffereing with depression and complications associated with it and with chronic health issues. Sometimes just sitting there and listening can make all the difference in the world. Silence can be a good thing, when it is meant with love and compassion.

Our illnesses can make us mean and miserable sometimes, but we need to be good friends too. Apologize for the angry outbursts, because you were run down by fatigue or hurting more significantly that day. A true friend will understand.

Again, education is key in understanding your friend and sometimes even yourself. Be good to you and cherish those folks that are there for you. They certainly do not come around everyday.