Does Bad Health Create Bad Relationships?

When you have the misfortune of experiencing a health problem or injury, you might find yourself coming across as a bad friend.

Fatigue and sleep problems can come across as flakiness, boring or lack of enthusiasm, when really you just feel overwhelmed from not having energy and want to go home and rest.

Injury’s can come across as distance, disinterest or self-centeredness, when really all you can think about is how to alleviate your pain.

Life scares can come across as negativity or anger (or other things depending on how you cope), when really you are just worried or anxious about the outcome.

In a way, you are disinterested, unenthusiastic and a bad friend, just not for the reasons people think.

Take me for example. I️ injured my neck in a bad way when I️ was about a year into college. (I’ve been writing a massive post on injury, hopefully I’ll actually finish the josh d🤠mn thing soon.) After a week went by, then a month, then a year... I️ didn’t know how to cope. You try things and hope for the best, but honestly don’t really have the bandwidth for anything other than the bare minimum. I️ would go to class, work, and immediately to bed. Meeting new people and hanging out with friends was the last thing on my mind. 

One of the most difficult things about health problems is getting other to relate to your situation. Unless they’ve experienced their own flavor of misfortunes, you’re definition of pain and there’s is completely incompatible. Pain to the inexperienced is abstract. It’s a thing that happens, but knock on wood hasn’t happened to me. 

Even the big scary one’s that every one knows, like cancer or Alzheimer's, aren’t really relatable unless you’ve experienced them first or secondhand. 

We have to feel pain ourselves to understand the pain of others. 

And so I️ do believe bad health causes bad relationships.

Even if you do everything you can, the people that love you and understand what you are going through, still feel slighted and frustrated about what you’re going through. There’s friction on both sides. They want to help you heal, but don’t know how to help. 

Life affects life. Your life affects everyone you surround yourself with and vice-versa. To get dark for a second, that’s why suicide is so life-shattering. You don’t just erase yourself. You break the glass of everyone around. And if you have influence, even more so — you shatter all the lives that your work has touched. 

So what do we do when bad health rears its ugly head?

Describe what you are going through to friends and family. Even if they don’t understand, letting people know what you're going through will at least given them some thought to the actions you take. This isn’t an “oh poor me” fest. Tell them you want to do I­t­ for them. 

Focus on quality over quantity. As much as you may want I­t­, you are not going to have the energy and stamina to become best friends with everyone in your universe. Focus on a few quality friends that you can give the time and energy you currently have to offer. Quality friends are the types of relationships that will keep you sane during this painful time. Shallow friends ghost at the first sign of trouble. 

Work on your health. Health affects every aspect of our lives. The more you can focus on I­t­, the more optimal your life will be. Health is a spectrum. Working on health isn’t a yes or no answer. It’s gradually eeking over to the extraordinary side instead of sliding towards the other end.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

And wherever you are, keep smiling :)

— Josh Waggoner

Follow me on Instagram: @Renaissance.Life

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"True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost." —  Charles Caleb Colton