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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Building and Maintaining Trusting Relationships with a Chronic Illness

We all have lost friends over the years. I know that some friends and I have just grown a part from not talking as much as we used to. I know that if I pick up the phone and call those people, they will gladly talk to me and update me on what they have been up to. I just do not like to talk on the phone much. I know that sounds odd. I don't mind using my phone for Instagram (www.instagram/emilysstomach), or Twitter (, or any kind of social media.

Speaking from my own experiences, I have lost a lot of friends that I considered great friends. This does not mean that we hate each other or that we will never speak again. These friends do things I can no longer do like go out to eat. They like to hang out and involve food in the activities they do and there is nothing wrong with that. They stopped inviting me because I had to decline due to my Gastroparesis. I do not want to get sick in a nice restaurant and then make other people sick as well. I do not get invited to movies anymore or parties because of the same reason. I have declined so many events I would love to have attended because my illness limits me.

Building trusting and lasting relationships with other people, especially when you are healthy, is a challenge. Now, imagine that you have a chronic invisible illness and trying to build a relationship with someone. That seems like the ultimate game of paper football, doesn't it? In this technically advanced world, it has become easier to friend people and talk about things without leaving the house, which is amazing in itself, but it is super helpful to people like myself, who cannot leave the house due to nausea and vomiting. My Gastroparesis limits me harshly. I have started support groups online and I have joined other support groups online to reach out to people who have the same sort of illness, in order to vent, ask questions, and try to cope with the fact that the part of my life where I was able to go out at the drop of a hat to dinner at a restaurant or a movie, is gone. It's a hard adjustment to make. So, how do you befriend people and make lasting, great relationships, when all you can do is type back and forth on your computer screen and hope? How do you know who is on the other end of the computer? Is it a real person like you, who wants to make a lasting friendship, or is it a scammer? How do you trust others online, especially this day and age, where identity thieves, fraudulent accounts, schemers, scammers, and criminals are all over the internet? It is hard to trust people now. There are people who thrive on drama, people who may have munchausens by proxy, and people pretending they're ill just so they can get information from you and attention. Then, there are real people who are just as sick as you are, but I don't want to say they can't be trusted, but they are unreliable due to their illness? So, how do you cope with all of that while trying to make lasting friendships?

Image Source:

Image Source: Imgur years ago

Friendships Change Over Time

Image Source is on the image itself.

How to Deal with Fading Friendships

How to Handle Family Friendships

It is really important that, if you can and have this type of relationship with your family, you sit down with them and talk to them about your illness. Answer any questions they may have and if you aren't able to answer the questions, then write them down to take with you to the doctor. If it would make your relatives feel better, have them go to the doctor with you so that they can ask questions as well. It never hurts to have an extra pair of ears or someone else there with you, because they may ask something you didn't think of or forgot to ask. I love having my husband come with me to my doctor's appointments, because he questions everything, and makes sure he gets an answer and not the run around sometimes you get with a doctor's office. Also, I have some resources I have put together to help your family and friends understand Gastroparesis and what it is. You can click here:

Cutting Toxic People Out of Your Life: From Friends to Family


Here are some links below to read on how to deal with toxic family members and  toxic friends about your illness:

Find Ways to Socialize with Friends to Maintain Your Friendships

I wrote an article recently because someone asked me how I was able to socialize since I'm sick all of the time and vomit constantly. I do talk on the phone, though I despise taking. I would much rather text or even do a video chat. Anyway, if you are in the same situation and looking for ideas to help you, please check out my article by clicking here: