How to be an understanding, supportive friend.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by 2bafriend, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. 2bafriend

    2bafriend New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I have posted on here a few times; but for the most part I have just lurked, trying to better understand what a very close friend has to go through everyday. I have learned ALOT about fibromyalgia, and see what my friend endures each day, with a smile, & kind word to others.
    I'm 17 & my friend is alot like a mother to me, she is my mentor, friend, and mom all wrapped up in one. We have alot in common, and always have a great time together~ even though i'm young & full of energy, and she is the opposite. Needless to say, she is there for me when i'm down, & i try and let her know that i always care, and though i may not feel what she goes through, i feel alot of compassion, care, and empathy when things are hard.
    I guess i'm writing this because i don't know how to really be a good supportive person to her, when she is feeling so bad. I do let her know all the time that i care, and when i ask her how she is and she says "i'm fine" i frequently remind her that I really DO care, and she doesn't have to give me that, because i want to know how she is. But when she does tell me how bad she is feeling; i don't know what to say? I mean, i know there is nothing i can say to make things go away, but i'm sure there is something that i could say to let her know that i'm gonna stick by her side, care, and love her nomatter how bad things get. When she says how she feels, and that her body hurts, i usually tell her i'm sorry & of course i hope she feels better soon.... but really~ She may not feel better soon, and if that is the case; i'm still gonna care, but i don't want to keep saying, Sorry...hope you feel better soon. I guess i'm asking this so i can know WHAT to say that will comfort her, let her know i'm here for her, and will not get tired of caring.
    I know our friendship is a little unique, but we are really great friends. Maybe it took someone like me; a younger person to have some compassion. She isn't the type of person to complain, or let stuff get her down. But with the weather getting colder---its been a hard few weeks for her. She has had to cancel many plans with me, & i know it makes her feel terribe, but to me it is really OK; because i know she is in alot of pain, and hates to not be able to do stuff.

    Thanks in advance for what to say. I don't want to make her feel like i'm tired of how she feels, or i don't care just because i don't know what to say to her.

    THANKS Everyone.
  2. lynn3811

    lynn3811 New Member

    you are a friend that all people want! Give your friend a "gentle" hug. I know when my husband gives me a hug, I feel like a warm blanket is wrapped around me.
  3. SpecialK82

    SpecialK82 New Member

    what a great friend you are - I'm sure many on here would love a friend like you!!

    All of the things that you said in the post would be great to say to her.

    I know that my hubby struggles also, not knowing what to do for me. Really we just need to be loved and believed most of all. That true friendship and love is hard to find when you are sick because it makes alot of people uncomfortable and they would rather stay away.

    I bet she is so appreciative of your friendship, I'm sure she knows how much you care because it really shows in your words.

    Good luck to you both.

  4. jasminetee

    jasminetee Member

    You're the best kind of friend anyone could wish for! :)

  5. bobbycat

    bobbycat New Member

    Thanks for posting on this board comming on here to find out more shows how much you care. It is a difficult issue to understand and people get tired of people with chronic illness. Doctors tend to give up, and you tend to give up on yourself sometimes. You hate telling people about the latest with your health as it is almost unbelievable even to yourself. You tend to start loosing faith in everything and everyone that is why this board is important because it is somewhere that you know that people believe in you and you are not looked at as a hyperchonderact. That what is happening to you and what continues to happen to you is very real. I think that you show her that you believe her is the best support that you can possibly give to her. FMS is an invisable syndrome. My poem " I look in the mirror and there is a reflection staring back at me. I am no longer that person I used to be. Oh I have changed, I have changed." We change because can't do what we used to do and we can't be the person we want to be yet from the outside we look "normal." If we were crippled with arthritis we would get more sypmathy but we don't look like there is anything wrong with us. I hear all the time "but you don't look sick" what ever you do NEVER say that to anyone. You can't possibly walk in their shoes as they can't walk in yours. What you can do and you are doing is find out what they are expeirincing and if they say I can't do that with you on that day say "that's fine when you feel up to it we will do it another day let me know." And just don't take it personal. Too many people take it as a slight when we have to turn down so many invitations because we don't feel like going. The best thing you can do is what you are doing. You are a good freind, she is lucky.
  6. erinwilburn

    erinwilburn New Member

    You are doing such a great job with your friend! One thing I can tell you is hard for me is when my freinds dwell on my illness. one way to help her feel good is to spend a day w/o saying anything about illness but still being very aware that we have to be very careful about what we do.
    Your friend is so blessed to have you!
  7. 2bafriend

    2bafriend New Member

    You guys are all so awesome, and give wonderful advice. Yes, after reading alot on this forum, i have really gained an understanding of what she goes through everyday, and how amazing she is because she always tries to smile, be positive, and care about others. More Lately; i have been noticing with other people who she is around seem to get tired of her being sick, and make comments like "she never feels good" or " Well if she would get up and just do stuff" or " I don't get to lay around all day" Only you guys can imagine how much those comments infuriate me! I guess i'm more oblivious to the fact that people can be that cruel! Like suffering, and always being in pain ISN'T enough??? OK! Sorry for the vent!
    Yes, i love to come over and do some little stuff for her. Dishes, Bath dogs, Scoop Litterboxes, Sweep Floor, and just hang out with her. I think at first i was a little hard for her to let me do stuff, but its gotten easier, because i really ENJOY doing stuff for her, and helping with anything i can.
    This week has been really really hard on her. Between the flu, Sinus infection, and what seems to be a bad Flare of the fibro; I can tell from her voice how much pain she is in.

    ---You guys do make a very valid point about not Dwelling on her illness. That is something i do need to focus less on, because i do find myself always asking how she is, how she feels, what is hurting...etc. I'm not just asking for "small Talk" i really do care about how she is feeling, but i guess bringing it up can just bring her down!

    Thank you all so much for your advice. One more question; As much as she & I have a general understanding; I know what she can and can't do, how she is feeling, and she knows i love to do stuff for her, we hardly ever talk about the fibromyalgia. I don't think she knows i have read alot about it, to better understand what she is going through. Just the other day she was telling me that Fibromyalgia was like always having the flu. AFter all i have read on it, and all my time lurking on the messageboards, i probably know just as much about the symptoms, and "medical" aspects of it as she does. How do i let her know i'm NOT totally oblivious that most of her pain, and symptoms come from the fibro, without her thinking i'm crazy for learning so much about it?

    Thanks for everything.
  8. bobbycat

    bobbycat New Member

    Tell her that you found FMS interesting as it appears to be a complicated syndrome and that you decided since she had it that you wanted to find out all that you could to better understand what she is going through so you don't have to keep questioning her. I am sure she would very much appreciate the fact that you cared enough to want to know and to research it. Thanks for your kindness, Bobby