Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Maintaining friendships while living with Muscular Dystrophy

When it comes to living with Muscular Dystrophy like I have said before it definitely comes with its own unique challenges. One place you may not think it might cause challenges is with keeping and making new friends. Over the years you quickly learn that some friends come and go, that’s just a part of life. Living with a disability you sometimes wonder if people don’t want to be a part of your life simply because you have certain physical limitations. At time's you tend to start thinking that some people exclude you simply because they don’t want to have to deal with your issues. As if accommodating for your specific needs is too much of a hassle. I am sure others have experienced times in their lives when friends have excluded them from certain activities and it left them wondering why. Especially when it's activities they might have no trouble partaking in.
Sometimes it seems as if some friends eventually become annoyed of having to think of your needs every time they plan an activity. These are usually the types of friends who stop calling you preferring to hang out with people who are not so limited by a physical disability. Now I do understand when people don’t invite me to go skiing or rock climbing but after a while it seems as if they simply start excluding you from everything – even the things you are still fully capable of doing. You can't help but wonder if people view you as too much of a burden. Thankfully at this point in my life I realize not all friends are created equally. Truth is only a few friends will actually accept you for who you are and be there in your times of need. As we grow older we realize that friends like these can be hard to find.

When I was a child I learned my first valuable lesson about friendship. Being diagnosed with Becker Muscular Dystrophy at a young age meant in certain situations I was able to be exempt from participating in gym class. This resulted in me on many occasions sitting on the side lines while my class mates took part in gym class activities. At one point another student had broken his leg so he joined me on the sidelines as well. During gym class would we hang out and talk, it seemed as if we were becoming friends. Eventually his leg had healed and he went back to participate in gym class leaving me behind - from this point on he no longer spoke to me. You see when I was in elementary school for some reason the other students always singled me out, many making fun of the way I walked. Well once his leg was healed he simply joined in with the others kids who were relentless at picking on me and called me names. It was at this moment when I realized that some people simply pretend to be your friends. It’s like one second there your friend next thing you know there joining the crowd do whatever it takes to fit in, even if that means making fun of you. Unfortunately some friends will ditch you the second someone they believe to be better comes along. Thankfully I learned this at a young age so I was never really surprised when some of my friends would let me down.

It’s sad but true in life some friends will let you down, they may even talk behind your back or even exclude you from certain parts of their lives for reasons you will never understand. I guess in time we all learn that this is just a part of life. One thing I believe is that friends are the people who make an effort to be a part of our lives. The truth is some people don’t value their friends as much as they should. They are the type to believe that some friends are there only for the times when you have no one else to hang out with. These are the same type of people who think it's ok to take advantage of their friends. Eventually in life we find out which friends of ours fall into this category. Thankfully over time these types of friendships come to an end and if they don’t there comes a time when we simply need to cut them off.  It’s like they say we don’t lose friends we just find out who the real ones are. The one thing I would have to add to that saying is that we should never give up as in life it is always possible to make new friends. You see even though I have lost a few friends over the years I have made some new one's along the way as well. At this point in my life I am truly thankful for everyone who still makes an effort to be a part of my life - especially those who don't exclude me because of my physical limitations.

Related Posts:
Family & friends need to understand the issues we face,
My personal story growing up with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy,
Growing up with Muscular Dystrophy: The High School years,
Growing up and being Bullied in School &
My Childhood with Muscular Dystrophy: School & Gym Class

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1 comment:

  1. I never got officially diagnosed with BMB in the UK until I had left school at 16 (1986) even though I knew something was seriously wrong so I had no definitive reason to not do gym/sports classes in the schools or teachers minds ,I too had people making fun of me whilst being forced to do gym and sports rather badly I remember one time being forced to do the 100m sprint normal kids would do 13-15 seconds in my attempt I fell over twice and eventually did it in 60 seconds but the embarrassment has never left me to this day and im now 44.
    In the end I had resorted to just bunking off school as I got older (13-16) purely to avoid gym and sports classes because the embarrassment just got too much to handle which totally effected my exam results
    Now I know things have changed since then with earlier diagnosis of BMB or at least I bloody hope so because I wouldn't wish that kind of embarrassment on anyone and I feel for anyone who has lived with it.
    I could write much more silly experiences like the one above as I am sure other BMB effected people could but thought id share my most memorable one