Last week I talked about the difference having a diagnosis and getting the right help from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases had on my work life. This week I am going to talk about the impact this had on my friendships outside of work.
I had, admittedly, become a bit of a recluse. I remember one work’s Christmas party, when I felt so ill by 8:45 my husband and I went home at 9:00 leaving everyone else to it. I just wasn’t capable of late nights, or even marginally late nights, and because of work, when I worked a whole day I was too exhausted to even contemplate going round to see friends. My life was work, work and work, and basically coping, coping and coping – it’s not much of a life is it. It didn’t feel much of a life either.
So when friends would call, I’d make excuses about not being available, or if they did come round I’d be too exhausted to have a worthwhile conversation and so basically, I probably bored them. Hence why my friends began dropping away, and I had less and less contact.
But then I had the intervention with the hospital in Bath, and once I was set on the path of the right exercise regime, and on the right medication, then my energy levels went up by about 40%, and with that 40% additional time and increase in concentration, well I wasn’t just going to waste it on work. I focused this on giving me a life that felt like a life back.
So I contacted old friends and made time, I told them what was wrong with me, what that meant to what I could, and couldn’t do, and then planned times we could get together which fitted with how well I was, or wasn’t.
I used lunchtimes, and early evenings, as I still found it hard to stay out late, and met up with people for meals, or even to go for a walk, to help me keep moving, and the fact I didn’t feel half as rubbish all the time meant that when we did meet up I could have a proper energised conversation.
I think my friendships are actually stronger since this, as being open and honest with people when I came back from the AS course at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath, established stronger bonds with people than I’d had before, and many of my friends told me off for not being truly honest with them about how ill I had been before I went into hospital.
Next week, I thought I ‘d stay on this sort of theme, and speak about the benefit of having goals…
AS is my burden, writing is my escape.
And if you are looking for the best help to improve your Ankylosing Spondylitis then for me it was the AS course at the Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath, UK. It changed my life (You can attend as a private patient or on the NHS). And if you would like more information on AS take a look at National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society, NASS, website.
My debut novel will be published 2nd May 2013 (writing fiction has been my preferred painkiller for years and now I can share my escapism characters). Sapphire Star Publishing are the publisher. If you want to find out more go to www.janelark.co.uk like me on Facebook or follow me on twitter @janelark