Living with multiple sclerosis doesn’t mean you can’t have a social life. Want to stay connected to your social circle? Check out these tips from Living Like You.read more
Whether it’s a soft drizzle or a hard rain with rumbling thunder and flashing lightning, I absolutely love rainy nights, and they often remind me of the different kinds of friendships in my life, particularly since I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
My fair weather friends are always around for the fun and the sun, the laughter and the joy. They are like a bright sunny day, but as soon as a storm starts brooding, they often disappear. Luckily, they always return when the storm has subsided, and the sun is shining again.
My bad weather friends have a sixth sense of knowing when something is brooding, or when I am feeling down or under the weather. We may not have spoken for a while, but when everything starts to fall apart, they will appear to weather the storm with me. After the worst of the storm, they gradually fade away only to return when I really need a friend. These friends are my candles in a very dark night.
My all weather friends remind me of the traditional wedding vows; for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part. These friends are the family that I have chosen for myself - the ones that stand with me in the sunshine or the rain.
MS has definitely had a serious impact on my friendships. I have unfortunately lost a number of friends over the years, because there are some people who just cannot handle the ups and downs that come along with being friends with someone living with MS. I am sure that I am also somewhat to blame, because there were times when I myself could barely cope with having MS, and therefore couldn’t make the slightest effort to keep these friendships going.
To give an example – going to the movies or theatre was very difficult for me, because once I sat for a while, standing up and walking, especially climbing stairs, was a huge effort, so instead of being honest with my friends, I would just decline all invitations. After a while, the invitations stopped. Friendships can be difficult in that way – most people have their own problems, and it’s understandable that sometimes they can’t cope with shouldering someone else’s burden.
It is important to understand that we all have a need for different types of friendships, some light and bright with lots of fun and laughter but with no tears, serious issues, or conversations ever. Some more serious, where we can discuss different issues, ranging from politics to personal matters while we are enjoying a pleasant meal or evening together. We also have a need for friendships with people we can depend on, whether that means taking us to an appointment, helping us shop when we’re not feeling well, or lending a listening ear on matters of the heart.
I am truly blessed, because although I have a much smaller circle of friends nowadays, these friends are more like an extension of my family. And we take the weather as it comes, together.