Thursday, August 23, 2012

That's what friends are for.

Last night was Vagina night.  The girls gathered as we usually do on the usual patio and enjoyed our weekly visit.  I asked about my blog.  I knew at least one of the ladies has been reading it, but I was curious how I was doing, and getting perspective from people who know me well enough to know I don't want smoke blown up my ass.  I wanted an honest opinion.  They gave me some good input and I was pleased to hear that the overall impression was good.  During this conversation things turned a bit with one friend.  She said that she felt that I wasn't a good friend because I didn't share my feelings about my pain and the struggles I go through every day with them every week when I go to Vagina night.  She felt that I was holding out and therefore didn't value the friendships we all had enough to share these things.  Now I am saying how I interpreted what she said, but that is the condensed version of what was said.

We all have at least one friend that only calls on us when they need something, or is always negative.  That friend that we wonder why we are friends with them at times.  Who wants to be the sounding board for constant negativity or the constant support system?  Yes friends are there to help us, to listen to us, to support us, to be there in the good and bad times, but when there isn't a balance it devalues the friendship (in my opinion).  I do not want to be that friend.  Yes I have issues. Who doesn't?  I do share things when I'm having a particularly rough time with my children, work, boyfriend, or something unusual in my life.  Generally, however, I am a pretty private person.  I have maybe 3 people in my life that I share almost everything with.  1 is my sister and 1 is my boyfriend, otherwise I'm not a open person about things I feel are close to my heart.  That being said I don't even talk about my pain issues all that much with my sister or boyfriend. 

I guess this comment really got under my skin.  I don't think it was said in a cruel or attacking way, but it was said in a way that my friend was hurt that I didn't "trust" her enough to share constant pain with the group and her during our weekly venting sessions.  I guess the reason I decided to actually bring this up was to try to explain what I choose to keep to myself and why.  I have thought about it almost constantly since last night.  It literally kept me awake thinking about it.  I value my friends more than they will probably ever realize, and that my lack of sharing is taken personally in a hurtful way disturbs me.  Probably mostly because my introverted private ways aren't going to change.

I have other friends with chronic illnesses and yes we occasionally have a sharing session about these illnesses, but I think most of them would agree that having that illness be a regular topic of discussion is just not desirable.  We deal with these issues 24/7/365.  When we venture out on a good day we want to escape that. We don't want to whine about it (usually), we don't want to dwell on it, we don't want to give educational seminars on it.  We want to enjoy a night away from it. 

I think part of the reason I decided to do this blog, beyond camaraderie with other PA patients, was to let people have a glimpse in terms they can understand into what someone lives with when they have a chronic illness.  It is hard to empathize when you have no point of reference or personal similarity.  So yes when I am out or with my closest friends I am not sharing my day to day challenges, but I hope that you will read this and be able to understand why I don't want to talk about it all the time.

To my friend, I'm sorry that you have been hurt by my lack of openness over the years.  It is not a reflection on how I feel about you, our friendship, or my level of trust in you.  You have been a great friend to me, and I enjoy our friendship.  I promise that if a day comes that I truly need your help I will call you.  I promise if there is something in my life that I need to talk about I will share it with you.  I will however continue to be a private person.  I will continue to be as positive as I can be.  I will continue to not dwell on the negatives of psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and pain the majority of the time.  This is how I am able to function and live the best life I can.  This is how I keep my sanity.

Thank you for being my friend.  You and all the other Vagina ladies are my rocks even if you don't realize it.  I love you guys!