Friends and MS
What would our world be without friends? Spouses and significant others are incredible and they often are among our closest friends, however, friends are invaluable. I've always believed that friendships should be nurtured just as any other relationship as it is often these friends who are there for us during our times of both sorrow and joy.
Friendship takes on an entirely new dimension when it comes to MS. Regardless of how much they love us, and they do, there are times when some friends just can't understand specific aspects of the disease and how it affects us. I recall my diagnosis several years ago, specifically, the reaction of one of my closest friends. She was certain I could 'fix' myself via diet and positivity. Now those who know me know I am just about one of the most positive people around, as well, while I could definitely improve my eating habits, I eat very healthily. These aside, I was both perplexed and upset by her blatant lack of regard for the well known fact that, while diet and cognition help, they cannot cure MS. I was sad and angry and most of all felt misunderstood. How could I confide my innermost fears about this new diagnosis to someone who I spent more time justifying my symptoms to? Where was the compassion and unconditional love I so desperately craved and needed? Well, we all know knowledge is power so I took it upon myself to be the voice of reason and education. Instead of being put off, I understood that she was just trying to help me. Even if her information was erroneous it didn't change the love in her heart or her desire for me to heal. I, did, however, conclude that while I was in the throes of educating her I needed others who could comfort and guide me through my own fears, so I turned to some other friends and family who could do just that.
Guiding someone through an educational process on MS isn't for all friendships. I knew the love and foundation were there between us and that this was just an attempt on her part to help me. Even after all theses years she still has a tendency to spout out ridiculous and at times frustrating "quick" fixes, however, she is also very quick to be there for me through the infusions, side effects, countless appointments and myriad of other fun that comes with having MS.
Friends are not all created equal and remember all friends do not have to facilitate all needs. Go to some who understand some things and others for different needs. As well, realize that this is a very daunting and intimidating disease not only for us but for them. It is sometimes difficult for them to know the right thing to say or how to react to any one of a myriad of situations that can arise so trust your heart. Know that your bond will survive this just as it has and try and lead with your heart. Most of the time they are just as nervous and anxious for us as we are for ourselves. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Of course if it comes to the point where you feel you are in a relationship with a friend who just cannot understand anything ever it may be time to break it off for your own self preservation.
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