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Friend or Foe?

 

People who suffer with CFIDS experience many similarities when it comes to dealing with their acquaintances, co-workers, and friends. The notion that people in their environments were genuinely interested in them and happy to have them as part of their lives evaporates into thin air. Long term illness is a difficult theory for any human being to conceptualize and the idea that a person could be ailing for months or years on end seems almost unbearable from anyone's viewpoint. The sufferer contends and accepts this life sentence out of no choice every single day as long as chronic fatigue syndrome is part of his life. Human beings are raised by ethics and morals within the family unit and society to have strong reactions in regards to "sick" or "diseased" people. You may experience many individuals with varied sicknesses along life's path and somewhere in your psyche you form your own opinions, thoughts, and feelings about these types of people. These thoughts and feelings are then projected out onto sick people that you may or may not come into contact with in our process of daily living. Your perception of ill individuals as being less than human surfaces through your disinterest and inactivity in their lives. Most people will outright admit that they are rather uncomfortable about dealing with anyone who is ill no matter what type of illness the person may have. Others are very much at ease with these unhealthy people and wish to help them get better or at least tolerate their struggles by contributing consistent efforts and energies into their lives. Their compassion and empathy reach beyond their own sense of being. They reach out with the conviction of helping the ailing person by trying to alleviate his or her suffering if it is within his capability. This distinct difference in how one group rejects and the other group supports is the significant feature of what is reflected in your own relationships with friends, acquaintances, and co-workers once CFS has entered into the relationship.

Acquaintances are people who you know who carry very little real significance to your life. It isn't that you do not feel or think highly of these persons as beings, it's just she doesn't have a definitive role in your life. An acquaintance could be the person who rides up in the elevator with you at work, the guy at the coffee shop who waits on you every morning, or the person who sits next to you in your classes at school. It is nice and very pleasant to see or talk to these people and most acquaintances you recognize either by sight or sometimes name. This specific group of individuals requires little or no effort from you to keep up any sort of a relationship. The actual reality of these acquaintances being affected from your confrontation with this disease is minimal. This person would in all probability be curious about your whereabouts and what has happened to you once you were no longer out and about on the town. Human beings by nature are inquisitive, prying, curious, and nosy.She may even inquire to another person that you may have been seen with to discover what has happened to you. There may be a hint of concern from one being to another about your condition but the anxiety would probably end there. The only real importance to this individual is that you are no longer present in his daily life. The loss would be felt for a temporary period of time and then daily living would go back to a normal pace. This type of a relationship demands no forethought or pretense for you. You may ponder that what this individual may think or feel about you being ill doesn't really account for much in your life. Once she cannot sustain your prior relationship with her, there is no real sense of loss in not having this person involved in your life. You may have little to no consideration in expending any extra energy on keeping this relationship going while you are ill. You comprehend though that once you have concluded your combat with CFIDS, the relationship will probably continue just as you had in the past as if there was no real break in time in the relationship at all.

The next group to consider is the person who you have to see on a daily basis. He is an associate who you have something in common with-your work place. A co-worker is a person who is associated with you as a direct result of working in the same locale and he may have a few motivations for creating a relationship with you. A purely selfish initiative could be that he may desire a relationship to make his work environment more tolerable. The co-worker may see you as just a warm body who fills the seat next to him, that you are both there to perform a business related function, and have no choice but to tolerate each other's presence throughout the work day. Neither of you has the desire or aspirations to get to know each other on a more personal basis. It is strictly a give and take where all that is discussed or communicated about are business related issues. A co-worker may wish to have a personal association with you and contemplates taking an initial step in developing a friendship. She may be considering that being friends within the working environment could contribute to a more pleasant work place to come to every day. It could be very important to her to anticipate your presence at work for the sense of having an ally to suffer and labor along side of through the work day ahead. There is an awareness and recognition that she enjoys being in your company and likes having you in her circle of "friends" at work. She may want to forge a friendship with anyone who works within her large, sometimes overwhelming, work place environment. The labor milieu may be an aggregation of many different individuals who perform various tasks within one specific work area. There are too many people to attempt to have a valid connection with so it is much easier for her to focus in on you as the particular focal point. It would be comfortable for her to concentrate energy on making this one link successful as compared to producing varied inceptions of possible associations. Her sole reason for searching out a friendship with you could be as simple as wishing for a new companion to share some sort of connection. There may be a purely personal reason why she wants to create a sense of bonding between the two of you. A personal magnetism or attractiveness could be the instigator to some of her motives for the creation of a stronger attachment. There may be stirrings of intense physical attraction to you and she finds it almost difficult to concentrate on work related issues when you are around. The co-worker may detect that it would be easier to attempt to get to know you better in hopes of commencing a more serious alliance outside of the work place so that the focus at work would be the work and not you. She may desire a co-worker attachment because there are intense feelings of respect and admiration for the kind of person that you are or for your way of accomplishing achievements in your life. There is a silent, genuine homage to the person that you are and she may wish to create this kind of personality characteristic within herself. You could be considered her role model in representing the positive traits that he she yearns to attain as a good human being.

The co-worker may have all of the above reasons for wanting a cemented relationship outside of the office as well as at work and it may appear as if you are "best friends" in your fraternization in the work place. An accurate observation that you may descry from the onset is that the intimacy in this alliance is concurrent on how much energy and effort the both of you wish to contribute to keep the relationship going. The companionship could encompass your whole beings or it may be consuming only voluntary portions of your lives that you wish to share. You may desire an affinity with this individual based on friendship that can be nurtured over time. He may consider that the actions applied into the relationship for any results would be worth the time and effort and these coordinated applications should produce a mutually acceptable basis to commence a work-related friendship. He may wish to enter into the association with you surrounding much of your lives at work and at home. You may reciprocate by encouraging your new alliance in a more personalized direction.

There will be a varied amount of energy to produce in sustaining any sort of relationship with a co-worker. Any efforts will be directed towards the simple goal of existing within the confines of your connection in the work place and it is up to you to consider how much you should undertake to keep any sort of affiliation going. She could have many different reactions to the onset of your illness depending on her association with you in the work environment. With a strictly work oriented relationship, she may be bothered more with the fact that you are not going to be there to perform your work duties than actually with you being ill and this situation would mean that she has to take on more work responsibilities to take up the slack for you being out of work. She may exhibit varied emotions when confronted with the actuality that you will be out of work for an indefinite amount of time and in all probability she will presumably contact your immediate superior at the time of your acknowledgment of having to stop working for a while to have a meeting to discuss the disbursement of your job responsibilities. She is not really concerned with your disheartening clash with this ailment. The true validation for this individual is in who will be there to help alleviate his or her work load. There is no real endorsement from her for you on support and empathy for your pain and suffering. The major concern is how your work absence will directly affect her. In this strictly work related association, you realize that you have to make little to no efforts to sustain this type of relationship. It doesn't really make any significant difference to you if this being truly cares about you and your illness because you have the same mentality about where this individual fits into your life scheme. The main concern that you may discover that you may have will be how this person may ricochet her unexpressed resentful thoughts and feelings about having to take on extra work obligations once you are able to return to the work place when you are on your feet again. You could find yourself becoming very stressed and uneasy at the prospect of returning to the work place. It would seemingly be useless to disclose these uncomfortable feelings to this person because he isn't going to distress over them. You should instead focus on your return to the work environment as a major accomplishment and relish in the reality that you overcame a debilitating illness without the support and concern of this individual. If you can conquer an invincible sickness like chronic fatigue syndrome, why should you feel intimidated by a being who doesn't have the strength and inner fortitude that you do?

In a working atmosphere where you have become work related friends with your co-worker, your coalition could be affected by the outbreak of CFS. You will not have the similarity of participating in the work climate any longer so the main connection for the relationship that the two of you have fashioned is broken. It would take some exertion on both of your parts to attempt to continue your link beyond the labor related base of friendship that you had. She may feel that the extra efforts to keep this "friendship" going are worth it. He may be genuinely concerned and worried about your welfare from one being to another. There will be a sense of loss and unhappiness over your announcement of no longer being able to participate in working with him or her. One of the "group" is going to be missing and your absence is observed as a weakening of the work unit. The anxiety of the extra burden from your work load may not be as intense a motivation for complaints and a disruption of worker endurance for your boss because this person does care about you, what you are now experiencing, and will be going through in the future. However, there is not enough fondness there for you to act as if this alteration has not affected his work load. This individual may be anxious for you to return to work to be able to relieve himself of some added labor related responsibilities that transpired because you were gone. He could be happy to have his old associate back to work with again. The result of your return to the work place is mainly a security issue for him. A co-worker may also have the attitude that you are replaceable and that your exit from the work setting allows for the possible entrance of another individual to cover your work load. He could have the attitude that this new person may have more in common with him than you did. The freshness that this new association may bring to the drudgery of work could instigate a possible on the job association or an in and out of work friendship with this new person. You may decide that your work related friendship was not as secure as you felt it was because you will notice after you are out of the work environment because of your viral infections and the common tie that you both had is broken, he no longer makes the effort to communicate with you at all. There appears to be a temporary "loss" without your presence in the work environment and you are soon overlooked and somehow almost forgotten. You may even be replaced during your absence. This person almost expects you to keep any contact between the two of you going because you are no longer employed and are home all of the time. He opts not to connect with you on any level while you are sick for whatever his convenient reasons. If he does keep in some sort of contact, it is usually sporadic and the discussions will revolve around his participation in the work environment-not about you and your situation.

The belief that you had about your co-worker who avowed that she was your friend is soon replaced with acceptance that this individual is not who she professed to be. You acknowledge that your life is not directly influenced one way or the other by this person's participation in it. It is up to you to encourage or discourage an affiliation with her because you know that you will have to muster up the energies to find a common ground for the two of you to rebuild a relationship on now that work is not the basis. If you are going to return to work sometime in the future, you realize that this individual will probably be happy to see you again and welcome you back to the work fold. You may have an uncomfortable time for a while seeing this being on a regular basis because you will keep recalling that she didn't bother with you when you truly needed a friend. Your relationship will alter itself and you will concede that she is just another person you know at work. The intensity of your "friendship" will have fizzled out and you may be comfortable with the acceptance that she is a co-worker and that's all. If you have a work related friendship that has overgrown the boundaries of the work place, your pal will understand that your energies will be focused on helping yourself get well and not on the relationship. She will acknowledge and understand that any efforts to keep this fellowship consistent will have to come from her because you are unable to contribute at this point in time. Your companion will encourage you to get well and not to worry about anything that would distract you from de-stressing your life and getting better. This person would offer encouragement and support from your initial movement of leaving the work place. You could count on the fact that she would keep you up to date on any important events that occur at the "old grind". There will be an unequivocal, unmistakable, unwavering level of total endorsement from this being and that sensation will assure you that no matter how long your battle is with this disease this individual will stand by your side.

Another specific group of people to discuss in relationship to persons who will be affected directly or indirectly from your contention with this affliction is your friends. The immediate and distant encompassments of your friends in your life will be reshaped into a divergent form that could withstand the indefinite journey of chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome. The failure or success of the accommodated association with a friend is dependent on the amount of understanding and attitude that he will have towards you. There are two distinct types of friends-distant and close. A distant friend is a person who cares about you and your life from afar. He may have been close to you at one time in your life, but because of geographical constraints or greater and greater spaces of time that weren't spent with each other, distance has crept into the relationship. This removed friend may be someone that you still share an intimate relationship. You discuss all details of your life with this person and share in each other's joys and miseries. He is someone whom you cherish and share special memories. It may be that seeing each other and spending more time together is too complex or intricate to sort through with each of you having your individual responsibilities. This being is there as a distant advocate person who you know will illustrate he will support for you no matter what the issue. A close friend is indispensable. There is an unbreakable, time forged bond that you have developed that nothing could fracture. Your close friend is a person that you have complete and total belief in and you both share the unspoken understanding that he will always be there for you and vice versa. He is an active portion of the forward motion in your existence. It would be very difficult to imagine you living your life without this entity as part of it. Your entire being is basically an open book to this person who you can expose your most guarded secrets to and your vulnerability is a precious jewel that your close friend cradles lovingly in his hands. Between the two of you is the most perfected type of trust, faith, and honesty that two people could possibly feel. He is like a brother to whom you bestow the honor of getting to know the real you-your essence.

The immense undertaking of having a friendship can require a lot of energy and exertions on your part but these efforts don't appear to be a chore at all. It is a different kind of struggle to sustain this alliance-a labor of love. There is a sense of joy and happiness in sharing time with this special someone and a constant recycling occurs within the association. The kindness and sharing that she expends on you is in turn exuded from you back to her so that the rhythm of love, fondness, and affection is circled over and over again. The respect that the two of you share for each other is reflected in the admiration and devotion that you have for each other and you cherish and delight in each other's individualities. There is an unspoken commitment to be assertive and aggressive with each other if the situation demands such behavior because you know that she loves you and is expressing her opinions out of that sense of devotion and love. The concentration of your unadulterated feelings for each other intensifies the covenant of sincere caring for each other as people and individuals. You truly have been fortunate enough to discover another individual on this planet to relate to in an intimate, confidential manner. Your camaraderie is like a rare treasure to admire, value, and delight in.

A distant or close friendship can be drastically affected as a casualty of the CFIDS war. He would be devastated at the thought of you being ill with any disease-let alone an illusive syndrome. The genuine concern and caring that a distant or close friend has could be strongly felt from across the miles or simply from across your front yard. Your exceptional chum would have many concerns about your health and welfare now and for the future duration. This individual may initially be stunned and in denial that you could be so ill. There could even be thoughts of self-blame because he never previously noticed how sick you really were and he could feel responsible for you being so afflicted because she should have insisted you go to the doctor sooner than you did because she could see that your appearance justified that you were sick but she never made an issue out of it. There is a silent condemnation that he bestows upon herself for not loving you enough to insist on believing your complaints of fatigue and loss of energy. She will detect the changes in you on a subconscious level and comprehend as only true friends can, of how really ill you are.

The initial stage of denial will lead into a decreased rostrum of acceptance and bargaining. She may discover that trying to accept the devastation of this disease in one of her best friends means that the illness indirectly affects her. There is a definite sensation that sharing an alliance with a sick individual may change her relationship in many ways that she may not be comfortable or prepared to cope because it is difficult for this person to see her beloved acquaintance suffering and so ill. There is an overwhelming feeling of guilt that chronic fatigue syndrome happened to you and not to her. There are many questions that she has as to why this twist of fate transpired in this manner. Your friend can't help but question why she didn't get sick. Why are you the one ailing from this particular viral syndrome? Did she carry the viruses to you from someone that she came into contact with and not even realize it? The list of unanswerable inquiries goes on and on. After the initial shock has worn off, she may contemplate what the onset of CFS will do to your relationship. There is an immediate need for your friend to want to help you get better as soon as possible. She does not want to see you suffer and the quicker you are over these viral infections the better. Moreover, she has to confront the reality that you are very ill and that your lives will both be affected and you are not going to ever be the same as when you were healthy. Your friend will comprehend that your friendship will have to adapt to your illness if it is to continue to grow and flourish as it was previous to the onset of this disorder. Your comrade may have some concerns about how this accommodation will affect her life. She may desire to be there for you as a friend should be but may discover that there is a hesitancy to get involved with your recovery because she is afraid to commit to the type of long term encompassment that is necessary to help you get well. What can she really do to help you and how long will you be ill? Maybe your pal is afraid that if he is involved in your life, it will only be a constant reminder of your old life style and all the activities that you can no longer perform. Your comrade may have an urgency to find out whatever she can to explain what this syndrome is and what can be done to help you. She may forego the personal preoccupation with her own vulnerability of contracting chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome to make your needs in getting well the top priority in your friendship. There is an undeviating belief that you can and will be able to recover from this ostensible sickness.

You will detect that your disclosure about suffering with this illness bestows on you a sense of relief when you share it with a friend. He has an authentic feeling of love and concern for you and your health and wants you to be around and alive for a long time yet to be so he will encourage your positive attitude about overcoming your affliction. Your pal will acknowledge your disquietude and comprehend how confused, frustrated, and upset that you actually are about having such an illusory syndrome. You will be able to share your deepest and most profound fears and apprehensions about being ill and how this disease is affecting your personal being. Having this honesty between the two of you lends to a secure feeling of being able to divulge any anxieties that you have regarding your relationships with your significant other, family, and friends. You will be comfortable discussing how these involvements have influenced by this syndrome and how you feel and think as a result of their positive or negative reactions to you since you have contracted this disease. He will listen to you and be there when you are in need of some sincerity and support because you apprehend that no one else is being straightforward or unadulterated about his thoughts or feelings in coping with your illness. You have no doubt that this special being will be there for you at any time. You can witness the unequivocal outpouring of love and affection that he has for you in how much energy and time that this person spends with you. He has made it clear in his actions and words that there is a true pledge of caring and concern for you and your welfare. Your belief that everyone has either deserted or rejected you because of the clash with this sickness is now not quite accurate when you are communicating with your friend. You discover that there is someone who does truly appreciate you and the efforts you have to exude to exist within the realm of CFIDS on a daily basis. He makes the attempt to try to conceive what you are dealing with tolerating this sickness and this person does want to help alleviate your suffering if it is within his or her capability to do so because there is no desire to see you endure pain of any kind. Your friend cares too much about you to see you suffer so. You will comprehend that, as one result of your battle with chronic fatigue syndrome, your friendship with this individual will be stronger and deeper due in part to the intensity of the emotions that will be shared between you. He will stand by your side in thoughtful assistance and will share in every single fear and joy. Your friendship will withstand one of the most difficult, painful, and intense tests that two individuals could go through. There will always be a feeling of undying gratitude and unwavering loyalty to this person for years to come. You will recall for years on end that when others abandoned you in your time of need, he didn't. It is evident as to how much he loved you just by being there for you and expecting nothing more from your friendship during this time than you just being yourself. Friendship is a very valuable and cherished ally in your struggle with this sickness where there are few positive sustenances of any kind.

There is an issue that is very important to deliberate in regards to acquaintances, co-worker relationships, and friendships of any kind when you are coping with chronic fatigue syndrome. What if this person doesn't really believe that you are sick? What if she thinks that you are just making up your illness and perceives you as a crazy psychotic person who has a "few screws loose"? This issue is very strenuous and painful to confront but is a real possibility in this industrious battle. A person can be extremely supportive, nurturing and caring as an acquaintance, co-worker, or friend when the alliance between the two of you is in good shape and there is nothing but incontestable sharing. However, when this type of pessimistic occurrence happens, she is virtually performing a "disappearing act". There is no foreknowledge or expectations of her retreating and impenitent attitude. This being can't handle the responsibility, stress, and extra expendable energy of having to contribute any support or confidence to you when life gets disturbing and demanding. She would rather withdraw from any type of commitment to you at the onset of the pessimistic aura that has permeated into your life. It is easier and more convenient for this person to focus on concerns that relate to her life than to have to extend herself to help you. When the negativity that surrounds you with this disease has gone, she will suddenly appear again acting as if the relationship has always retained its loyalties and sense of consistent efforts on both of your parts. You may have subconsciously determined early into this situation that he is not a real and true friend as you once thought. This being is in the camaraderie to fulfill his insatiable needs for another companion at your expense. You may have detected that you prefer to disburse very little time on this type of relationship from this point forward mainly because of her attitude about the friendship, your depletion of energy to uphold the alliance, and the decision of if you desire to call this person a friend or not any longer. It may sadden you to decipher that your so called friend has an agenda to fill and you are the mere object to satisfy her own demands. If she doesn't really believe you are ill, it seems almost acceptable to you. It is apparent that you are stigmatized with the badge of dishonor in being ill in her eyes and there is minimal value to what she thinks or feels about you and your confrontation with this syndrome. You have discovered that she doesn't comprehend what a veritable friendship consists of. . . love, caring, and sharing. When the time comes to show some compassion and empathy for her friend, there is nothing but ignorance and neglect. The only priority in this person's attitude towards having a friend is what she can benefit from the affiliation and with you being so sick there isn't much left that she could gain from being in a companionship with you. This person may choose to lie or talk about you behind your back saying not very nice quips such as you are depressed or your illness is psychosomatic to justify why the association the two of you had has changed instead of being mature and stating the facts of why she can't cope with your sickness with whatever her truth may be. You are the only other person who knows the actuality of why your association has come to a veritable end now that you are ailing. You may ascertain that the only discomfort in this situation is in the fact that you have to communicate with this person on a regular basis such as at work or this individual lives in the same neighborhood. It is rational to state that you will have a much easier and less stressful experience with this person if you confront your feelings about her and allow yourself the luxury of being honest in a self-righteous way. You know you are truly ill and diseased. No other person must authorize or substantiate this fact-you live this reality every day. You have acknowledged that her disbelief in your illness doesn't really make a substantial impact on your existence. There is discomfort in seeing this person because you are aware of what she is really thinking about you and your clash with this ailment. You have played out the scenario in your mind of what could happen if you affront her about what you have heard she is saying about you behind your back. You feel it would do no good to confront this person because she would either deny the remarks or aggressively challenge the fact that these statements were made. So, you should ask yourself what good would it do for you to assert yourself at a time when your energy must be conserved for more important issues such as survival. Is it worth the aggravation and dissatisfaction to confronting her and have the affray result in no headway? What type of an individual would say untruthful and rude allegations about you? She has turned into an uninformed, selfish person who used to be considered one of your friends. Only you can decide what is the right action for you in this situation but consider the cost-the loss of precious energy and strength. The strongest reaction you can have in this situation is to accept that every being has a right to her opinion in this country because that is what freedom of speech allows. You can choose to listen and be directly affected by this person's negativity or not to be. In selecting to be cordial to her when necessary, you are evincing your own maturity and empathy for her ignorance about what you are coping with in dealing with CFS.

The same situation arising with a distant or close friend brings some complexities into your relationship. If he is as stated, there should be no doubts that you are truly ill. Your friend would have an innate sensation that you are as sick as you are and should be supportive and empathetic to your strife. However, there may be a tiny iota of doubt that you are as ill as you project yourself to be. This person looks at you and sees the tired version of who his friend is, observes behavioral changes, and notes your low energy level. There is no describable and discernible difference that you are as fatigued as you feel. Since that is the only disease that he can relate your decrease in activity to, he is questioning that maybe you have a slight problem with depression. There may be some vacillations in how your pal responds to any comments you make in regards to how you feel or to the mention of chronic fatigue immune dysfunction itself. You love this person and tried to explain how truly ill you are and thought he really listened to you and understood what you were confronting. There are definite signs that he has doubts and is perplexed by the sick you. You want to continue this relationship indefinitely because you have an intense bond to this individual, but it can't progress with any sense of loyalty if he doesn't believe in you. What do you do about this dilemma? You should and would owe no explanation to this person over the issue of having this illness. You didn't ask to have this infectious disease. Nevertheless, you may sense some sort of obligation as a friend to someone who is so important in your life to discuss his thoughts and feelings. It could make this person feel very uncomfortable to talk about why he may think that you are not as ill as you are stating because it may appear that there is some hesitation in the amount of respect and love he has for you. Still, this discourse could break through any communication barriers that have already begun to erect themselves and lend to an increased sense of intimacy in your unity. It would be wise to be as open minded as possible in hearing his reasons of why there are doubts because there are going to be cognizances that this person may have made through observing you that are inaccurate or inconclusive. He isnít comprehending how abysmal the depth of your symptoms are so the impact of hearing these disclosures may make you feel angry and frustrated. But, you have to consider the fact that the infectious diseases medical community has dispelling doubts and inexact opinions about this syndrome and what it consists of, so why should you expect any less of your friend? Your expectations of your friend should not be unrealistic as he is no less human than any other being in the world. Some people require more penetrable proof than others before they can comprehend what they see is not necessarily all that there is. Honest communication is the key to your bonding surviving the chaos of this affliction. You have leapt beyond all of the previous obstacles and found that your friend is going to stay with you and still be your chum while you are ill with the premise that your alliance will be the same as always and even closer. You savor how very fortunate you are to have such a special person in your life at this traumatic time.

The proximate consequence that you will now encounter is one of how acquaintances, co-workers, and friends will interact with the sick you. Some people by nature have an inborn forte in coping with illness and some don't. As was previously mentioned, an acquaintance or a distant coworker would be mildly concerned about your fight with CFIDS but wouldn't have any real requirement to have to coordinate her life style energies to in tuned with yours. There would be no reason to contact you or to keep any lines of communication open because she would sense such a minimal loss with you out of the work place. A fellow co-worker may desire to keep in touch and call or visit once in a while, but again there is no pressing aspirations to know any more than if you are alive and coping with your disease. There may be a natural curiosity about your health so that she would know when you could return to work. A friendly co-worker may wish to stay in contact with you for a while and has some genuine concern about your well-being. She may acknowledge the severity of chronic fatigue syndrome and how it has affected your life but doesn't take any initiative to go out ofher way to visit you once you are home for an indefinite amount of time bed ridden with fatigue. There is an impression that you will have to be the one to keep in touch with her because you are the one home who has the time to make the effort to communicate because this person considers herself too busy at work to sustain the contact necessary to check up on you and your health. The infinitesimal interaction she makes may be to find out as much as he or she can to act as an informant to notify and update your other co-workers about your health status. A distant or close friend would be more empathetic and sympathetic than all of the above with a serious devotion to you and your well being. She could be there as support and sustenance for you from afar or right at your side. There is a solid commitment to keeping your friendship nurtured no matter what he may have to do to help you. Communication lines are open at all times and there are no boundaries to the many hours that he is there to listen and encourage you to get well.

Nevertheless, there are recurring, inhibiting, and detracting themes that will occur when others try to interact with the sick you. The initial supposition with any person in contact with someone struggling with this disorder is that you are sick with an unknown and unfamiliar infection. Every human being has a personal connotation of what sickness means and how illness affects himself. It is part of human nature to personalize thoughts and attitudes about anything misunderstood or incomprehensible. Your cohort has his own interpretation of sickness from personal experiences of what it means to be ailing. His character may only be able to assimilate any discernible parallelism of what you are going through by comparing what he interprets CFS is compared to a similar disease that this individual may know more about or have experienced himself. Once he has a partial interpretive understanding of what this syndrome encompasses, this person translates any observations or thoughts into actual awareness and tries to utilize this data into attempting to help you in any way possible. The obvious flaw in this so called comprehension of what you are actually experiencing with this illness is that chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome can't be compared to any other disease because it is unique unto itself. This syndrome has similar qualities and characteristics to many other illnesses but surpasses them in complexity and vagueness. The comparison of this syndrome to others doesn't quite achieve the results that most people envision. It is commendable that he is attempting to discern this illness and its multiplicities but the various symptomatic effects of the viral infection are not identical to any other. He needs to understand that it is agreeable to use past personal experiences as a gauge for what it would feel like to have a chronic illness but these antecedents allow no direct linkage to conceiving the actuality of suffering with this disease. He may harbor an unconscious fear of illness in general and doesn't want to be reminded of sickness every time he sees or talks with you. The idea that some kind of viruses caused massive devastation in your life terrifies him because if it could happen to you-it could happen to him or her next. There could also be pusillanimity about contagion from you having CFIDS. Since there is no tangible proof that these viruses aren't airborne, then he may be uneasy and anxious to be in your vicinity. What if he should carry the viral infection back to his loved ones and one of them gets sick? He refuses to discuss any issue remotely related to chronic fatigue syndrome because talking about them is depressing. There seems to be no positive end point in sight to refer to and half the time it may be hard to discuss anything because you are constantly fatigued and on some days even seem worse than others. He may ask himself how can you expect to communicate with someone when you are feeling so sick all of the time. Your comrade may not be commodious in responding to the physical, mental, and emotional changes that have occurred since you have been ill. There is uncomfortable in your divulgence of CFS-related complaints because he has no indicator of how to respond to them. Part of this trepidation may result from not comprehending the seriousness of your symptoms because if he confronts these comments as truth, he will have to accept the reality of how sick you really are. Your ally only has one desire which is for you to be cured and get well fast. Her mentality is not abnormal as most people feel that just about every disease imaginable can be cured with taking some kind of pill. The sickness will be instantaneously cured, the illness is gone, and you are healthy. Frustration and dismay result because you are not well even after traditional treatments from a physician. The actuality that you are not going to be healed is a reality that he doesn't want to confront. He may have a hard time correlating with the sick you because you can't do the things you used to do with him any longer. Your diminished activity level contributes to a reduction in the intimacy level of your relationship. You can't get out in the world on a regular basis to have fun with your companion. Your pal silently ponders the fact that you just aren't any fun to be around any more. The sense of sharing and bonding that the two of you forged when you did things together no longer exists. There are no sentimental moments being communally shared between the two of you any more and as he tries to understand your fatigue, doesn't ask you to participate in as many activities as you previously did together. The decision to lighten the social calendar is a difficult one because he is watching out for your welfare. But in the same sense, he is frustrated because there is a noted sharing in specific activities with you and now he has to adapt to doing these actions because it doesn't seem to be the same without you. There is a feeling of irritable nervousness because he isn't really certain of what you can or cannot do any longer. Does he offer to do activities with you even if there is no surety that you can do them? It may be extremely unpleasant for him to introduce new activities into the companionship that he may have little interest in performing. The only reason that he may consider the preclusions would be because these are the sole movements that you can accomplish at this time. Why would he want to go out and do something that is of no interest? It would seem like a waste of time and the only value in the activity would be that he felt good about getting you out of the house and being able to spend some time with a friend.

Another reason that your chum may have a hard time reciprocating with the sick you is because she just doesn't have time for a sick person in her life. You would take up too much valuable week night and week end relaxation time and energy. She may perceive you to be a "downer" and depressing to listen to or be around because you are always sick and complaining. There seems to be nothing exciting happening in your life now you are ill and home all the time. You can't get out in the active world and have something thrilling or substantial to discuss when she does get together with you. In other words, you have become a nuisance and a bore to spend time with and she feels that there is enough negativity and melancholy in her life as it is, so why would this individual wish to spend time around someone who exudes this same despondency when she doesn't have to be around you. Why not be around positive people who have stimulating life styles with a lot to say and do? The less time that she spends with you encourages the old adage of "out of sight, out of mind". You may detect that there are fewer and fewer visits or phone calls asking you to go somewhere or do something with her. The time that used to be spent doing things with your pal is now empty chunks of extra time for you because she is busy going places with someone else or participating in activities with a person who can perform the activity without any effort. She has managed to go forward without the intimacy of your relationship being an encumbrance in restricting her movements in life. You have become a part of her past active life and have now regressed into an acquaintance. She will spend occasional and infrequent time with when no one else is available to do things with or if there is a slight jarring of her guilty conscious in forsaking you while you are ill. Your colleague consciously realizes that you are seriously ill and should spend more quality time with you but can't out of her own requirements to live some sort of a happier life style.

There is a way to override some of these issues that will contribute to a happier and healthier relationship for you and your friend as you grapple with chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome. The incipient apprehension and fear that your friend may have in regards to your illness can be alleviated to a degree by openly discussing what it is he is most afraid of with you being ill. Is it the fact that you are actually sick or is it really a consternation of sickness itself? Could it be his deep seated childhood fear that every person he knew who was chronically ill passed over after being sick a while? This individual could have unperceived conditioning of past associations with sick people that overrides any current logical thinking pattern in coping with you and disease. You might attempt to discuss this person's apprehensions about illness in general but you will ascertain that if he is afraid of sickness and death, there won't be much that you can say that will help. This being has had many years of living to impress these fearful memories very deep into himself. Buried painful remembrances of loved ones who have suffered with illness and passed over will be hard to overcome. You may have to resign yourself to the fact that he is not going to be able to get beyond this block he has about sickness and disease. You will have to acknowledge that your friend will not be able to understand what you are experiencing and definitely won't have any idea of how to cope with you being sick in any way. You may be fortunate enough to be able to discuss this subject and your pal comprehends that just because you are sick doesn't mean you are going to die. A comparison of this syndrome to other illnesses doesn't allow any distinct pattern for your friend to use as a measuring standard in trying to grasp the severity of chronic fatigue syndrome. You are best to sit down with your comrade in a relaxed and comfortable environment when you feel rested and prepared enough to openly discuss what this disease is, how it is affecting you, and circuitously touching him or her. Informing your friend about this disease and explaining your personal challenges in confronting it will contribute to a clearer understanding of who you are now and what the both of you have to cope with to keep this friendship amidst the duration of this syndrome. Talk about the topics that concern him, such as contagion, and attempt to interject into the conversation why people with CFS seem to be depressed. You don't have to openly defy his or her silent references about you being depressing to deal with or talk to. You can get your point across in a round about way.

Another part of this talk should be in addressing her apprehensions about how to respond to your comments, laments, or complaints. Se may feel uncomfortable about discussing your outpourings of painful tolerance but it is vital for both of you to reach a compromise in how to contend with this situation. You are very aware of the intense pain and suffering you put up with most of the time having this illness. Others can't grasp how much actual physical, mental, and emotional tolerance that you have to endure before you hit a breaking point where you have to let your emotional reactions to this unyielding discomfort out. Every person has a different tolerance to pain so one person may be able to contend with more discomfort than another However, you may not be aware of how much actual complaining and whining that you do because you are just reacting to what you are feeling and thinking at the time. Chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome creates an almost unending array of symptoms that seem to never stop. After suffering with this kind of pain for a while, it is logical that an individual needs to release what discomfort she has been holding inside. It is fair to say that being cantankerous and irritable are par for the course with this disease. Nevertheless, you have to become more cognizant of how much you let out and when. It isn't fair to unload your wide variety of reproaches about suffering with this illness on a friend who has nothing to do with you being sick. It isn't her fault that you are ill any more than it is your own. She only needs to apprehend that you require someone who you can trust to listen while you vent out your frustrations and anxieties about having this sickness once in a while. You should incorporate a reassurance into your companionship that allows her to put a halt to your constant condemnations when they become overwhelming and unbearable by openly stating that you are feeling sorry for yourself and to stop complaining about your situation. Instead, she may reiterate that it will do you no good to consistently remonstrate and that it would be more beneficial to say something positive and life enhancing. You must concur to allowing this person the privilege of not tolerating your self-pity and misery. Realize that she is being observant, honest, and loving enough to care about you when you need someone to listen and be there for you.

If your chum isn't able to handle your sporadic complaining and perceives you to be nothing but a whimp in handling the kind of pain you endure, then it is requisite that you apprehend there is to be no complaining at all in this individual's midst. You can't make someone want to listen to your anguish and it wouldn't be feasible for you to keep confiding in this person as if he cares to share in your malady. He has the choice of wanting to participate in helping you or not and part of aiding you in this fight is taking the time to listen to you when you need someone to be a sounding board. If he chooses not to, then you will have to make a concerted effort not to say anything around him if you wish to continue your friendship within the same parameters that were previously established. All your friend has to do when you are complaining about this illness is to just listen with an open mind. He can't even begin to imagine what varied types of pain your body is enduring all at once. It is very difficult to express empathy and understanding for something that you have never experienced. He may only be able to provide some nurturing comments of encouragement and support or may just sit and listen in silence. There is no correct response to addressing your lamentations. You should aver this fact to him so that there are no wasted moments of vacillations and hesitations with your pal trying to respond to you when you are complaining and miserable. What do you do if you have the type of friend who can't be bothered with you once you are sick because you are intrusive on his precious free time? How do you react to this deletion of the friendship? It is up to you and how important you decipher this relationship is to you at this point in time. If you are comfortable with the fact that your chum can only spend time with you when his schedule allows, there is no difficulty. If your friend is noticing that you seem to be less interesting and have nothing substantial to offer your shared companionship, he may decide to expend more energy on other healthy people than to spend time with you. You have to somehow come to an understanding that it really isn't you that this individual is bored with. . . it is himself. If your companion is looking at you for stimulation and excitement in his life, there is a problem within your friend. It is not your responsibility to make other people's lives happy and stimulating for them because it is up to the unfulfilled being to do that for himself. The happiness and joy that you should bring into someone's life is because you choose to enhance that person's life experience with your involvement in it. He should derive satisfaction from having you in his life with or without some sort of stimulation from you.

There is a definite shift in friendships once CFIDS has entered into the closeness and intimacy. Sometimes it is beneficial and can contrive a closer and tighter bond between two beings, yet at other times, it could divide and conquer. If your friendship is strong and the two of you are committed to getting through this time as you have many other trying times, you will be successful in surviving this ailment. Your friend can still do many activities with you and involve you in many aspects of her life even though you are tolerating this syndrome. She obviously detects that you don't have the pep you used to in doing things. It may be understandable and sympathetic to bring the outside world to you for a while. Your chum can plan less intense and stressful activities that may adapt into your slower life style. How about sitting with a cup of herbal tea and just talking about anything that comes to mind-maybe even gossiping a little? She could rent a movie and the two of you could share a bowl of popcorn or maybe your pal could cook you dinner and set a table for the two of you with comfort in mind. How about doing a little crafting or sorting through photo albums or watching home movies? There are so many activities that the two of you can do from your home. You both need to exercise some creativity to design something that you can do that is relaxing and contenting. If the two of you want to go outside of your home to do things, there is another factor that you have to consider besides your comfort. You may have severe sensitivities to light, odors, and sounds that you have never experienced before and that you now have to think about ahead of participating in any outside activity. The key detail to point out is that if you are honest with your friend about your new tolerance levels, you both should still have a wonderful time being together. It may be difficult for your companion to cope with the restrictions that are placed on your friendship now that you suffer with this affliction and how much these limitations are affecting and restraining your activities. You may be frustrated yourself in attempting to go or do things that you no longer feel capable of doing just because your friend wants to go or to do something. You don't want to offend your pal, but may find it necessary to discuss ahead of time activities that you can no longer perform. It is devastating to actually confront your susceptibilities and to see how they have curbed your involvement in life. The solution to this type of situation is to find alternatives to the old activities that you can tolerate and perform in a finite way. Another consideration to factor into this situation is being sure to plan these activities within both of your workable time frames. You may feel the strongest in the mornings while your friend is at work. She may want to go out after work with you but you are so exhausted that you can't move off of the couch. Why not reach a compromise and do things together on Saturday or Sunday mornings when the both of you are able to spend communal time together? There will be many sacrifices that will have to be made on both of your parts to keep this friendship growing during this harrowing time and you both must agree and desire to make these sacrifices to have special time together.

Your overwhelming fatigue may contribute to not being able to go shopping for all hours on end at the mall. An alternative? How about planning a shopping trip far enough ahead of time so that you can get sufficient rest to build up some energy to walk for a while? You could go to one or two specific stores instead of a mall. You aren't capable of going to the gym or to aerobics classes together any longer. You can't train with your work out videos any more and your pal still can keep up with the instructor. Exercising for you is an impossible feat with no energy at all. An option for the two of you could be going for short walks in a local park or even up and down the street together? You could both get some exercise and fresh air no matter what the weather. You can increase the distance of your walks in minuscule increments or at a pace that is comfortable for both of you. However, be sure to check with your physician before attempting any exercise programs of any kind as you may not be in the physical conditioning to even walk right now let alone work out.

He may want to go out for a night on the town. You know you can't tolerate bright lighting, people smoking, or even loud noises. Your chum wants to go to the old hangout and just relax. You have explained that you too desire a night out but can't go to where you used to go because it would drain every ounce of energy out of you in the second you walked through the door. You both are frustrated because you think you will never be able to go out on the town together again. Settlement? How about your friend going to a new location with you where there is less commotion, odors, and lighting where you can relax and sit and talk without screaming at each other? It may mean that your pal will have to go and scope out new night spots ahead of time to be sure that you can sanction the environment. If you are both single and trying to meet a companion, then it is even more important to discover a location that you could tolerate for a length of time to allow yourselves the opportunity to communicate with dating prospects.

You may discover a total alteration in life style is what is required of you now that you are sick. Your buddy will want to encourage you to get well even if it means she has to change part of her life style as well. Consider new activities that you may have shunned before because they weren't exciting enough or too mellow to do. The both of you could ponder the idea of enlarging your view of the world through culture and intellectual activities. You could possibly handle a short trip to a museum, a zoo, a park, or an art gallery. Is there a local concert or play that you both could enjoy? How about planning a night on the internet on the computer? Maybe listen to cassette tapes or albums that instruct a new language where the two of you can enjoy learning together. Or maybe purchasing some paints, drawing pencils, or clay and have an "art night" where the two of you can create pieces together and exchange them as signs of your committed friendship to each other? How about going out for dessert somewhere as your weekend treat time? There are so many options for alternate activities. It just takes a little think time and some imagination on both your parts.

The important factor in this relationship is honesty and empathy from both of you. You can't do as you once did and it isn't fair to chastise your friend because she still can. Accept the fact that she is still a part of the active outside world and you aren't right now. It may be difficult but if you think you can't handle the activity that the two of you want to do-like going to a party-be honest and say you can't go. Encourage your pal to go without you because it isn't fair to limit her social life because of your inability to go. You may detect that you are jealous, envious, or even mad that she can do things and you can't. Your emotions are normal for someone in your situation and you wouldn't be human if you didn't feel these passions. However, your friend may feel some deep emotions as well and refuse to go alone or do anything that you can't handle for fear of omitting you or hurting your feelings by leaving you alone. You can show your support to your friend by assuring her that you can do other things together and that this event is just one incident of many where you will have to politely bow out and say no for now. Someday when you are feeling better you may be able to go to the party but it just isn't feasible for you right now. You will ascertain over time that being alone isn't as bad as it sounds. There are many things that you can do on your own and quiet solitary time allows space for you to be introspective and thoughtful. Any time that you have to be alone will enhance and increase the appreciation that you will have towards your friend and any future time that you both can spend together.

Friends can be allies or enemies in your battle with chronic fatigue syndrome. Your companionship with your comrade will either improve or shatter over the duration of this disease. It is a tremendous responsibility to be a friend to anyone and this obligation requires a vast amount of love and support from both parties involved. You have the propensity to sustain an altered friendship by being yourself and allowing your pal to be himself. Attempt to nourish your camaraderie with love, respect, and mutual caring and you will observe an enlightened flowering of appreciation between the two of you that couldn't have occurred in your alliance if you weren't chronically ill with CFS. True friends are few and far between in this short journey you call life. . . never take for granted the ones that you may have.