If you want to find out who your real friends are, get diagnosed with a chronic illness

The world is full of selfish people. Society has become so consumed in their own day-to-day search of notoriety and importance that they have ignored the countless hurting people all around them.

People with disabilities go unnoticed and many times pushed aside as bothersome. Ears have been closed to their cries and eyes have been shut to their pain. Many are too busy trying to get their 15 minutes of fame from social media to be able to take a break and truly care.

I have always told people, “If you want to find out who your real friends are, get diagnosed with a chronic illness and see who sticks around.” It’s sad to say, but oh so true. Living with a chronic illness brings with it this uncanny ability to weed people out of our lives. It’s sad and shouldn’t be, but it happens to all of us.

Invitations to parties dwindle, offers to help dry up and loneliness settles in. We find ourselves struggling to find purpose in the midst of a life of pain. It’s not easy waking up each day to a fight. Tears come way too often and hopelessness tries its best to take us down.

We need to use our experience to help comfort others and offer support to those going through that same thing. Don’t walk around with a cocky attitude telling others to just get over it and suck it up while spouting out that while you have MS, MS doesn’t have you. Instead, extend a hand to wipe away the tears of those whose hearts are breaking and whose lives are falling apart.

Will you do something to reach out to someone who feels all alone? It could be because of a new MS diagnosis or simply a storm that is overwhelming them at the moment. Will you be different than society and walk in when everyone else walks out?

People are hurting everywhere and we can do our part to help even if it’s through something as simple as a kind word, a smile or an email saying that you care.

Share the hope you have with others. It really does matter. And besides, you may need someone to do the same for you tomorrow.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  


About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

74 replies
  1. Amy Lichty says:

    Vanishing act.
    Would make a real magician proud
    Good riddance I say, but I’d still never pull the trick myself. Never. I’ve had friends and family with chronic illness. I was the caregiver. Funny how things change. 90% of my “friends” have never even acknowledged it.
    Dafaq? Why you scared bro?

    Reply
  2. Jo Morphine says:

    I’ve got 3 lovely chronic conditions but I’ve never had friends or family abandon me as a result. I guess I’m a lot luckier than I thought! I really hope you all have some good people who stick with you when you need them.

    Reply
  3. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Thanks Penelope this has got me thinking and I don’t know what is going to come.
    While one works any people are met. They could become ‘friends’ or not, that’s the choice. When we change jobs (as most will at least once) one meets other people. Again ‘friends’ can be made and most of the previous friends are no longer there and we don’t worry about that. MS is somewhat like a job but it is so self employed. In it we meet a variety of people and make friends with some of them. Our old friends are no longer there because we are not there
    I think we have to take control of our life and do the best we can. treat each day as a challenge to face and I know if you work at anything it can be done. Don’t be scared of asking for help, after all we all need it. There are good people out there and we should try and find them. These could be new friends for you.

    Reply
  4. Michelle Price says:

    My ex left me 6 months after being diagnosed . After 14 years together . My best friend is still around, but I lost many. I know my true friends and I’d never made it this far without my daughter

    Reply
  5. KT
    KT says:

    So true. Don’t need to stoop to their level. We are all better than that. Big hugs to everyone else who has lost friends, loved ones b/c of MS. You are not alone. You have us.

    Reply
  6. Carla L Broadbent Rogers
    Carla L Broadbent Rogers says:

    You become your own best friend. A little rough around the edges, not so quick and always ready to go..go..go..but true to you. Those other people do not know what the are missing. You/we have alot to offer. Be well.

    Reply
  7. Kathy Hamilton says:

    True, but those who stay do so because they truly care. I am blessed – by friends who are like family. Sadly, even though I’m the third sibling to be diagnosed with MS, my family doesn’t ‘get it.’ I think because I still work, they figure I should have no trouble with three flights across the country to see them. They have no idea how much air travel, with walks to new terminals, walks to customs, etc, exhaust me. I tried arranging for a wheel chair once, and the woman from Air Canada would only take me to the end of the Air Canada gates, where she left me, saying someone from the other side would come to get me. After 45 minutes of waiting, I got up and stumbled to customs

    Reply
  8. Jana Morgan
    Jana Morgan says:

    You sure hit it on the head with this one Penelope! Sad but the way it happens. Broke me for a while but gives you time to reassess everything in your life and how you behave as well. Not all a bad thing actually even though I thought it was at the beginning! You grow from this and actually become a better person because of it!

    Reply
    • Kelli Jaynes
      Kelli Jaynes says:

      If I didn’t know better, I would swear I wrote the reply that you just wrote. I had many friends from my church group. It was amazing how as soon as I was diagnosed, ALL of them disappeared. Chronic illness makes people uncomfortable, so they just stay away. I, too, found that I grew from this experience and am a better person for it.

      Reply
      • Pmdbio
        Pmdbio says:

        Jana & Kelli… Both of your posts struck my nerves & touch ed me deeply. MS has shown me the true colors of some & the gracious hearts of others. I have learned so much from those relationships. I too, am a better person because of it. May everyone of us MSers, be blessed as we experience our own unique challenges & changes.

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