Having CF, can be unbelievably lonely. Much like having any illness I imagine.
Being ill, being scared, being worried. Theyre all lonely things anyway.
When you are ill, people dont seem to let themselves get too close. A lot of the time they just dont know what to say. They dont understand. They dont always want to.
You start lying to please everyone else. It starts with the 'I'm fine'. Or 'I'm okay'. Or 'I'm good'. When that couldnt be further from the truth.
But its less intense than, 'Well actually I feel rough. I cant really breathe, I feel like I'm slowly suffocating, and this morning I coughing up a load of blood, and every time I breathe in it hurts...'.
Which then leaves all those thoughts inside your head. Afraid to let them out. Afraid to scare people, worry people, hurt people, push them away.
So this is why I'm so eternally grateful for my CF friends.
I joined the forum, on the CF trust website, when I was 13. It was actually my consultant who mentioned it to me. At the time I'd never had an inpatient stay in hospital (I miss those days!), and didnt know anyone else with CF.
I was a lot younger than a lot of the people on there, but I read a lot, and talked to a few people. Without trying to sound braggy (is that a word?), I've always been fairly mature, and intelligient, so my age didnt put me off too much. And it made things a little less lonely.
As I got older, I got to know a few people more personally. And we grew through the bebo and myspace phases too. Now its facebook. And I know so many people with CF.
When I have a problem, I know I can probably find someone to help me within minutes. Cf related or not. I've met people who have become my best friends. People I could not imagine a life without anymore.
I remember vividly, being upset in high school, because someone had passed away, that I knew online. One of the girls asked me, why I was so upset about someone I didnt even know.
I couldnt explain then, I didnt understand fully myself.
Now I realise, you dont need to meet someone physically, to know them, to care about them. You just need to let them into your life, and into your heart, and for them to do the same.
Thats all it takes to know someone.
Take Stiv, or Pete Franklin, they probably 'know' me, far better than most the people I went to school or college with.
Even my family dont understand really. There are 2 or 3 people that they would probably understand about, but in general, they dont get why it hurts when my 'online friends' are sick, or when they pass away.
I dont really see them as online friends anymore. I love them as much as if they lived next door.
Some of the people I love most in the world, I have never 'met'.
Stiv is the best example of this.
I'm a little reluctant to write about him. Because he gets really big headed when I mention him... ;) Haha. Bless him.
He is the one person I trust most, in the entire world. I can tell him absolutely anything, and I do. He knows pretty much everything there is to know about me.
I love the way we can have really deep and meaningful conversations, and then switch to being random idiots, just like that. He makes me laugh, every day. And can always make me smile, no matter how miserable I am, how angry I am, how much I want to scream.
We live on opposite ends of the country, but thats irrelevant. We text, we call, we webcam, we msn, we facebook... And hes my best friend, regardless of the distance.
Hes been there for me through everything with me. The ups and the downs. The hospital stays, and the partying. The falling in love, getting engaged, and the breaking up. The family stuff, the friend problems, the boy issues... Everything. =)
Never having met him, doesnt make him any less of a friend.
Hes not the only one, not even close...
I love you all.
Each and every one of you.
Every day, you make me realise I am not alone. You give me someone to talk to, when otherwise I wouldnt know where to turn. You teach me something new every day. You look after me, protect me, comfort me, entertain me... You make my life so much better, just by being a part of it.