Losing Friends and Finding Community: Living With AS
Last updated: February 2023
It’s no secret that getting diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) can be a life-changing experience. It is an inflammatory disease that can cause pain, stiffness, and immobility in the spine and other body areas, making day-to-day living extremely challenging. As a result, lifestyle change is needed to accommodate the symptoms and treatments associated with the disease.
Unfortunately, some friends may not be as understanding and adapting as we’d like them to be. Subsequently, that can mean that some friendships may become strained or even lost. Even though there is a natural mourning process that we go through when friendships end, the great thing is that there is an opportunity for new ones to begin!
Finding a supportive community of like-minded individuals facing similar struggles can make life with AS much more manageable. Here’s how to get started!
Take time to mourn
When first diagnosed with AS, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to expect next. One thing that many people don’t anticipate is losing friends because of their diagnosis. Unfortunately, some relationships may not be able to withstand the changes that come with managing AS—such as needing assistance or being unable to participate in activities that used to bring joy before diagnosis. It can be challenging for friends who don’t understand your diagnosis or lack empathy for your situation, so if you lose friends after getting diagnosed, know that you are not alone.
Find your community
Once you come to terms with the fact that some relationships may not survive your diagnosis, it's time to start thinking about how you can rebuild your social network and find support elsewhere. A great place to start is by finding a community of people diagnosed with AS or another form of chronic illness.
Whether through social media groups or online forums, these communities offer invaluable support and connections among those living with AS. Plus, they can connect you with local resources and others who understand what it's like living with AS firsthand. This type of supportive community will make living with AS much easier as they know exactly what you're going through and will provide emotional support as well as practical advice on how best to manage symptoms.
The benefit of connecting with others
By connecting with others diagnosed with AS, you can learn from their experiences and gain insight into how they manage their symptoms daily. You will also find comfort in knowing that others are going through similar struggles as yourself; having someone who understands what you're dealing with is invaluable when managing AS. Moreover, these connections can lead to new friendships that last for years!
Living with AS can be challenging—especially when faced without the proper support system. Thankfully, plenty of online communities are dedicated solely to helping those living with AS build connections and access valuable resources. Having a community behind you during this journey makes all the difference and allows for more meaningful conversations about managing symptoms while enjoying life thoroughly! So if you've been recently diagnosed with AS—or have lived undiagnosed for years—take solace in knowing that there's a strong community out there waiting for you!
If there are communities you've found helpful on your AS journey, let us know below.
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