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What Supportive Friendships Look Like When You're Chronically Ill

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My relationship with gratitude and chronic illness is complicated. It’s hard to be grateful for something that has upended my life on more than one occasion, so I do not try to force it. (No, thank you, toxic positivity!) And yet I can also say that my chronic illness has caused me to confront some big issues and has sharpened my focus on what’s important and worth my energy and time.

Many chronic illness warriors are familiar with spoon theory and the idea that chronically ill people do not have boundless energy or as many usable hours in the day as able-bodied individuals; pushing ourselves can lead to flares and even more lost time.

What I’ve learned about myself over the past year is that I used to spend a lot of energy and time on people and in places that didn’t bring me joy or fulfillment; I simply showed up because I was too polite to say “no” or stand up for myself and what I really needed.

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