A Fibro Lament: Where Did All My Friends Go?

A Fibro Lament: Where Did All My Friends Go?

finding balance
I never had a lot of friends, just a small circle of wonderful women. Whether it was a concert, sporting event, movie, or dinner and a few drinks, I loved hanging out with my gal pals.

Over the years, and as my health worsened, so did my ability to keep up with my friendships. I found it harder to go out for happy hour after work. Eventually, weekends became much-needed recovery time from the work week. Concerts and sporting events became something to almost dread. Will I be close enough to a bathroom? Is it a long walk to our seats? I didn’t think I would be worrying about this type of thing until I was much older.

Making plans became almost impossible. If it rained or was cold that day, I would have to cancel. I hated missing out on special events and fun times. I spent most of my time feeling awful about letting people down.

I beat myself up for being such a negligent friend and terrible person. Never once have I cancelled on someone without good reason. I never intentionally missed a birthday or anniversary. None of that mattered because I still felt horrible.

Fast forward 30 years and now all my wonderful friends are gone. I don’t know exactly what happened, but it might have something to do with me forgetting important dates. Maybe it has something to do with my tardiness in responding to emails and texts. It could be that I cancelled on them one too many times.

Whatever the reason for their disappearance, on the eve of my 52nd birthday I find myself pretty much alone. No one calls, emails or texts anymore. Everyone finally gave up on me. Not that I blame them. Who wants a friend who constantly cancels and ruins their plans?

I don’t want it to be this way, and I never thought it would come to this. Having fibromyalgia has destroyed the person I was. I am a shell of my former self. Fibro stole my happiness and my health.

There are days when it can really bring me down. I know there are support groups out there, but I have a hard time participating. I would love to get involved, but I have a difficulty being consistent. I’ll post something one day or make a quick comment, but then I disappear for awhile because I forget.

I tend to have a very difficult time with conversations. People who know me now would never believe that I used to talk non-stop. Now I never seem to know what to say. I feel awkward and shy. I become very frustrated with my lack of ability to find anything to say, even in the most mundane conversations. Why can’t I make simple small talk?

My brain seems to shut down, and I suffer from brain fog because of fibro. I can’t think of words or I can’t remember my phone number. I can’t keep anything straight. How annoying I must be to others! I’m the scatterbrained friend everyone would rather avoid.

Some people want to forget the life they had before, but not me. I need to remember who I was, because honestly, I am still that person. I just suffer from a chronic illness that doesn’t have a cure at this time. I still enjoy the same things; whether I can do them or not. I still love the same. I still want to be loved.

All I want is to enjoy life when I can, and have someone with whom to enjoy it. Someday I hope to find a few people who will understand and accept me for who I am.

***

Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

26 comments

  1. Don says:

    Carrie, I understand you 100%! So much of what you wrote is exactly what I am going through. I would love to be your friend, feel free to contact me anytime. I myself, like you, may not get back to you immediately BUT I promise that I will correspond and return your messages. Not sure what kind of day you may be having when you read this, but I hope your day tomorrow is better.

    Here for you,
    Don
    donfiore@hotmail.com

    • Carrie Anton says:

      Thank you Don! I can’t tell you how much that means to me! I will definitely contact you soon. I hope you are having a good day.

      • Don says:

        Please do.
        I am actually in day 3 of a flare between fibro and cfs. That is about the average length of them, so hopefully tomorrow I can actually get out of the house. It is so beautiful out, I live near Tampa Florida, I just want to soak up some of the sun’s energy.
        Take care!

  2. Janet strahan says:

    I know how you feel, I’m lucky to have a couple of friends right now, but I often dread outings. I know I will have to pay for my time out. Plus, I wish I had closer friendships. It’s hard to feel you’re not quite a part of the world.

  3. StevefromMA says:

    I feel for you Carrie and can understand. I’m married but severe fibro has certainly pushed things to the limit. As for friends, you are correct, I think I cancelled so many things in the past that many have faded out. I found myself making up excuses for why I didn’t show up at a movie and eventually said it wasn’t a family problem, the pain was just too severe. I also try to have few commitments and really heave a sigh of relief at night when I realize I don’t have to be anywhere the next day, especially the morning. If I go to events I sit on the fringe in case I have to leave. Meeting people is pretty tough but try to take advantage of any kinds of groups that seem interesting in your are? Good luck.

  4. Denise Bault says:

    I feel the same as you Carrie. I do however live in an area surrounded by older (60-80 years of age +) people who have all either endured a horrible illness or are in the throes of one. At least they kind of know what I’m going through. At least they understand illness. The one thing that just absolutely kills me is when they say, “But you look so good!” So, understanding on one part and complete confusion on another…Just one more little gift of fibromyalgia!

    • Carrie Jane says:

      Denise, when people say how good or well I look, I reply with a smile “it’s taken me ages this morning to look this good!” It seems to work every time, they get an understanding of difficult things are and humor defuses the situation. It use to make me so angry before!

      Carrie, I’ve lost my “friends” too. I think I’ve become a liability and I hold people back, so I don’t get invited anymore.

    • Carrie Anton says:

      Vivianne, I’d love to be your friend too! I’ll email you soon. I won’t give up…not with so many wonderful FM sufferers out there who are in the same boat, like us. I’ve never tried Skype but I look forward to learning how. Gentle hugs!

      • vivianne says:

        Hi Carrie, looking forward to your e-mail and maybe to skype….love you my new friend……Hugs to you for now…..viviane

  5. Dawn Boddy says:

    Oh my!!! I thought you had written that about me. You could change the personal details and I could say it’s how I’ve been feeling. You are not on you’re own in feeling like this, I’m Dawn, 52 and I’ve lost all my friends too thanks to Fibro. xx

  6. Diane says:

    Oh Carrie, you just described my life! While I lament your pain, it helped validate my own feelings. I never thought I’d get this debilitating illness…an illness that has no adequate pain relief for it. Everything is such a hassle too.

    I’m now at the point where I can’t even keep up with the kitchen… It’s always like a tornado blew through. It’s so embarrassing that I can’t keep up with house cleaning or having things in order.

    Fibro fog is terrible, I can’t remember anything it seems, I was always one with a great memory. I had to stop working as a litigator because it was too much, my Dr. said I would “crash & burn” one day if I didn’t stop working. Aside from the ethical issues of not being in top form while working a trial.

    So, I’ve now become a hermit, the sad thing is I don’t even care, it’s better than going out and being miserable later…I have the added burden of being the sole caretaker of my invalid mother, that alone is purely exhausting, particularly when she’s not the nicest person in the world. Can’t afford, now, any help with all of this… I sometimes get so scared when I think ,”what’s going to happen to me in a few more years?? “.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us, it helps to know I’m not alone. Hope you feel better, and that we all go into remission… I’ve heard it is rare, but possible.

    Peace

  7. Leigh says:

    I’m here too if any of you are in need a friend jaaleezee@gmail.com. Some people can’t deal with illness because it frightens them and others liked the person you were before your chronic illness. Not the person you are now. Some I’ve given up because they didn’t care enough to listen and remember what I’ve tried to explain about my illness and I came to the conclusion that they weren’t really a friend.
    This chronic illness took everything away from me I had a fabulous life and I always did the entertaining for all the holidays, etc. and no one, No One was willing to step up take over for me when I couldn’t do it anymore. F**k the ungrateful ingrates. Pardon my French but cursing can make you feel better. I know they miss the parties I threw. So, I need to make new friends who didn’t know me before. I’ve begun looking into chronic pain/chronic illness support groups and taking a Arthritis Society water therapy class and joining a book club and……. It’s not good for human beings to be too isolated it contributes to depression so we must push ourselves to form new acquaintances that might develop into friends.

  8. Debra Jones says:

    Carrie, I am certainly very willing to correspond and be friends via e-mail. I have had fibro since 1980’s and experience a lot of what you do. Before I could not drive I moved to the country, (about 2 hours) to help take care of my brother. I live in a very rural area. My friends I had earlier, for the most part, do not come to see me anymore. I guess it is too far for them to drive. The people here just do not understand my disability. So I rarely see anyone. I hope you are having a better day. Deb

  9. open4thot says:

    Tears came to my eyes only half way through your wonderful article! By the time I read these endearing comments I was blubbering! ~ I have always been a type A personality. I set imaginative goals for myself and low and behold, accomplished them all! (usually surprised myself more than anyone else!)
    Although symptoms of Fibro and CFS began in my mid twenties (perhaps earlier) I had the will and determination and a young body which I used and abused to push through the pain and fatigue. This was in the 1970’s…women with complaints were dolled out ever increasing amounts of Valium &/or amphetamines to counter both the fatigue and inevitable weight gain! I to push (abuse) myself and remained an overachiever. Two undergrad degrees,followed by a master’s degree(2nd in my class) and the long hours of a new career. By the mid 1980’s I was involved in a very severe auto accident requiring multiple spinal surgeries but ever the abuser – I managed to complete my law degree and embarked on a career where I found out what REAL work was! ~ By this time my body was screaming for relief! Pain off the charts! Fatigue was a way of life for refreshing sleep was a childhood memory. On a spring weekend canoeing down a lazy bayou I noticed a tiny tick had embedded itself on my thigh directly beneath the right hem of my hiking shorts…need I spell it out further? I had hit the wall! Lyme disease brought me to my knees and flat on my back! I was done! This thirty-four year old vibrant professional could go no ‘mo! Who could blame my fiance’ for “fading into the woodwork”? How could I blame my active, fun-loving girlfriends for wanting to continue their pursuit of good times with good looking guys? It seemed as though over night I had become a “maw-maw”! Always tired and slow moving, couldn’t rattle off legal concepts, or case law to save my life!(let alone a client’s). Hell, I would get lost trying to drive home! The perfect storm! ~ Keep in mind that throughout the decades, physicians CONTINUED to display much the same attitudes I first encountered in the early 1970’s!! One sanctimonious,disbelieving a**-h***doctor after the other dismissed my suffering! High doses of NSAIDS all but destroyed my stomach and kidneys! I was dismissed as “obese”(@127lbs-5’5”) “Lazy”, “attention seeking” “depressed”,”hypochondriac” “Peri-menapausal” and last but most destructively “drug seeking behavior”!! ASIF??
    ~It does seem than when you most need a friend – there is no one to be found!
    CARRIE ANTON!! YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I AM HERE FOR YOU! I UNDERSTAND! YOU ARE LOVED! GIRL!~ LET’S BE FRIENDS?!
    I ain’t no Carole King, but ~
    YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND!
    “When you’re down and troubled
    and you need a helping hand
    and nothing, whoa nothing is going right.
    Close your eyes and think of [us]
    and soon [WE] will be there
    to brighten up even your darkest nights.”
    YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND!

  10. vivianne says:

    Hi Deb, I am in the same position, maybe live too far, my road not very good, well, always an excuse to not visit Me….it hurt, but this is our life now, just have to get used to it and do the best and go forward, this is the only way to go….forward….take care. and e-mail if you wish. Hugs

  11. Denise Bault says:

    Carrie, thanks for the cute reply! I’ll try to remember it the next time someone tells me how good I look…

  12. StevefromMA says:

    My bad sense of humor is all that I have sometimes and I was thinking how funny it would be if we all arranged to meet for coffee somewhere and no one felt well enough to show up! Welcome to fibro!

  13. Carrie Anton says:

    I’m floored by all of the comments. First, for the outpouring of friendship, but also for the overwhelming feeling of being accepted and understood. I hadn’t felt that in a very long time! Thank you to all who commented. I will respond to each of you individually and to the ones who offered their friendship shortly. Dealing with a flare, and a busy work schedule, isn’t leaving me much time to respond, as I’m sure all of you understand. Once again, thank you all so much for kind words and offers of friendship!

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