There are a number of different types of friends – there are the ones you go to the pub/ nightclub with, the ones that you can really talk to and that listen, the ones that will pop round to see you for no reason other than to see you, the ones that you have to do all the running, the ones you can spend hours on the phone but very rarely see in person, the ones that only come round when you have invited them for an activity that they enjoy but never see any other time etc etc….oh and Facebook friends who you never meet.
Now just because you might never meet some Facebook friends face to face does that make them any less of a friend than the friend that only sees you when its something they want to do? I don’t believe so as I may never meet them but they read my messages to them and write back and through this I have had some meaningful conversations with them that I haven’t broached the same subject with some friends I see face to face. I have received so much encouragement and support from my Facebook friends that I wouldn’t of had otherwise. Since I am in the house a lot and find it difficult and painful to leave the house obviously my socialising has went downhill. I used to be the person that could go anywhere by myself and end up meeting someone I knew, now when I leave the house I need someone with me at all times to push my wheelchair or stop me falling or help me up from a fall. I could go to the pub by myself any night of the week and know most of the people that were there and sit with any one of them and have a laugh. I classed myself as having many friends although in retrospect they aren’t in my life anymore so weren’t real friends as since my back pain and mobility restrictions started I never saw or heard from them again as I don’t go to the pub anymore, partially because I moved outwith the county that I grew up in so don’t know many people where I live now, but mostly because of the pain and the exhaustion that comes with it and fear of being bumped or falling or going in in my wheelchair ( have you ever noticed when you walk into a pub that everyone turns round to see who has just walked in? Well I always found that embarrassing which is why I would never walk into a pub by myself unless I knew someone inside, well I find it even more embarrassing to be pushed in my wheelchair and everyone turning round to stare as I hate being noticed now.) I used to wear fashionable clothes and loved standing out from the crowd but now I would be quiet happy to disappear and be invisible or another solution would be to make my disability aids invisible, would work fine for a walking stick but it might look a bit odd sitting in an invisible wheelchair getting pushed along hahaha!
Now online is my biggest social platform due to not leaving the house much, in particular Facebook and now blogging which I have found link together very well. I speak to my close Facebook friends daily if not several times a day, which is more than I speak to anyone face to face, and the discussions aren’t about the weather and can be quiet deep and profound but also light, upbeat and encouraging. Finding so many online friends going through similar situations to me has been a godsend as their strength and courage are contagious and push me to keep going through the darkest of times. These dark days are the days you need to speak to someone but without the internet are the days your least likely to do so, as on these days I am most likely to stay in bed as the pain is too much and it is too much of a struggle to get out of bed and even on my ‘better’ days I usually stay in my pyjamas during the day as the pain of getting dressed/undressed and the pain of the clothes touching my back, especially waist bands, which is why when I do get dressed it is mostly dresses I wear so theres no waist band. So on my worst days I am not fit to receive visitors, not fit to get out of bed, get dressed or answer the door to them so my only contact with the outside world is my iPad and speaking to my Facebook friends.
I always try to look at the positives and one of these positives is if I hadn’t become disabled through the car crash then I would still have all these fake friends in my life as their true selves wouldn’t be shown as it was when they left my life.
My Facebook friends understand what I go through daily as they are going through similar things and if they’re not they actually listen so have gained understanding that way.
So through becoming disabled I have learned that I don’t need as many ‘friends’ as I had before I just need a few that love and respect me for who I am and that can look past the walking sticks/ wheelchair and see me not the ‘disability’.
My life has became a constant struggle with every movement taking all my strength to complete, even taking a deep breath hurts my back as does being to full after a meal. Every day mundane tasks seem like a mountain that I’m being forced to climb, so I don’t need any more stress in my life from people that claim to be my friend. I class myself as being a good friend and always listen to people and help when and where I can, is it too much to ask for this to be repaid in kind?
Once I had weeded out these fake friends my life has become simpler and happier and the ones that are still in my life are being kept at arms length and will never be fully trusted. The help and support that I have received from my 2 best friends and my close Facebook friends (all of them I have known for a very little time) has far outweighed anything I have received from people I have known for years, but my very very best friends are my dogs, they completely understand what I go through daily, they know when I’m having a flare up and comfort me, when I fall they lie beside me until I am helped up by someone, they know when I can handle their mischievousness and when I can’t, they know when to keep each other occupied and when they can play with me. They are the reason I force myself to get out of bed when I can, my reason for pushing through each difficult day. They are my world and being without them does not bear thinking about!
Then you have the worst people who everything is a competition and their pain is worse than yours and if you reply with if it is why aren’t you on morphine? but thats their Doctors fault as he is withholding pain meds! There is no arguing with this type of people as in their mind they are always right and its everyone else thats wrong no matter what the subject of conversation is, they are the authority on everything. Pain is not a competition and even if it was it is not one that I would want to win! I wish these sort of people could have my pain for one day, then I’d like to see them try to tell me that their bruise is worse than my back pain but in reality I doubt that would make any difference to the way they act as its not about the pain, they just have to be better/ be centre of attention, they believe their and everyone else world should revolve around them/ their opinions on everything are correct and anyone who disagrees is stupid etc there really is no talking to people like this so my advice is to wish them a nice life and let them get on with it, well away from you!