IBD steals a lot of things from us -- our health, our sense of well-being, our peace of mind, our money. Can it even steal away our friendships?
I know that this has been the case for me. I didn't have a lot of friends, but I was very close with the friends I did have. I had many more acquaintances, or people that might have become friends had it not been for the IBD. I was diagnosed while still in high school, and it was hard for some people to understand what I was going through. I had friends who stood by me through the whole ordeal of flares, hospitalizations, and recovery, but except for those few, most people disappeared from my social group. I even had a boyfriend break up with me because his friends thought I was "mean." When in fact, I was on high doses of medications, and it was affecting my mood without my even realizing it. By the time someone clued me in, it was too late to salvage that relationship.
Suffice to say, keeping up your relationships with friends can be very difficult. In some cases, people are going to drift out of your social circle, without even a whisper. But others will visit you in the hospital, help take care of your kids when you're ill, and call you to make sure you're doing OK. Those people are the ones who are worth your time and whatever energy you can spare. The ones who can't deal with the IBD -- well, that's their misfortune, and best to let them go with no hard feelings.
What do you think? Has it been hard to maintain friendships after your diagnosis with IBD? Here's where you can tell your story.