Having Good Friends to Support You Through Tough Times
Somehow I got lucky. Really lucky. I have lifelong friends.
Over the weekend we had “girls’ weekend” – six of us. This is my friend group from 7th grade on. This is the group who knows “where the bodies are buried.” This is the group who won’t tell.
I got lucky.
Lifelong friends for all seasons
These are the cast members from my thoroughly enjoyable, misspent youth. These are the people who danced with me at sock hops and in discos and at each of our weddings.
...and, yea, they never told. Except to pull out memories and tease fifty years later. Do you remember...?
I got lucky.
My vision loss felt small in comparison
The reason we got together after some time apart is a sad reason. One of our number has been diagnosed with a serious, medical condition. Compared to this, my vision loss is small change. Is it wrong to be glad the card I was dealt with was “only” central vision loss?
I feel I got lucky yet again.
Lending support and giving love
We felt the need to get together not just to eat in a good restaurant together. Not to go wine tasting (although that was also lovely). We did not even get together to get matching PJs and giggle like little girls at our “slumber party”... although that was delightful too. The reason we got together was to lend support and to give love.
Friendship is good for your health
Friendship is good for your health. A chronic condition, acute condition, or no medical condition at all, friendship can improve your life.
Livescience has a list of seven ways that friendships are great for your health. For example, having friends can help you live longer. The theory is having friends helps you handle long-term stress better.1
While you are living those “extra” years, friends help you be in better general health. Quoting a study in the Journal of the Academy of Science, the article reported older people who have a wide circle of friends have lower blood pressure.2 Remember blood pressure is a factor in AMD.
Negative effects of loneliness
Perceived lack of social support - that is loneliness - appears to be a factor in dementia. There is no evidence loneliness actually causes cognitive decline. Just the same, why take the chance? Get together for that wine tasting now!
The article discusses behavioral contagion as well as a couple of other benefits of friendship but I would like to focus on the one that says “Your BFFs can help you through tough stuff”: When you got your diagnosis, did you reach out? I did. When you discover a friend has a really rough issue going on, did you go and offer tour support? We did. Having someone there for you helps.
The importance of keeping in contact
Somehow I got lucky. I found friendships that have lasted a lifetime. Be it in person, on the phone, over the internet, or even “old school” through cards and letters, keeping in contact is important. Keeping in contact during times of crisis is even more important.
My friends and I are planning to do this all again soon. Realizing we are not as young as we used to be has brought what is important into sharper focus.
Having friends who help you cope with vision loss
How about you? Whom do you consider a friend? Do you have lifetime friends who can help you cope with your vision loss? Or maybe you can help them with their issues? Or, hell, just go have fun! If you have friends like mine, I would say you got lucky, too. Go and enjoy them.
Does macular degeneration affect your mental health?