A man surrounded by friends cries when his friends disappear

The Loss of Friendships Due to Heart Failure

We all know what it is like when we get the diagnosis of heart failure. It is a feeling of panic, uncertainty, and many other emotions. With everything changing in our lives we also suffer the loss of friendships due to heart failure. Whether it’s done intentionally or not.

It is hard for a person to see their friend or loved one going through what we go through daily. Even if the shoe was put on the other foot I wonder if I could be a good friend to one of my friend who was diagnosed. I have empathy now and I know what it's like to have a disease.

Loss of friendships after my diagnosis

Many people do not understand what it is like to be diagnosed with something like heart failure and therefore do not know how to respond. For me, my diagnosis came at 25 years old. Back then, most of my friends were still in their 20s and they had never heard of a person so young having heart failure.

After my diagnosis, I had so many limitations that I was now subjected to. I could not work out at first because my ejection fraction (EF) was too low. It was 10-15% and my doctors wanted to see if medications the EF would increase. My gym friends and my former boyfriend did not understand my condition and because of that, I started getting left out of their plans.

For me, it was a tough time because I felt alone and abandoned. Depression is real, and it took a toll on me. I did not know why nobody was talking to me anymore.

The last straw for me was when my boyfriend did not want to be with me anymore. It had been a year since my dilated cardiomyopathy diagnosis and the thought of not being able to have children was too much for him, so he split. I could not even blame him because I was unsure how I would respond if the tables were turned.

So why does this happen?

A lot of those friendships we have are not real friendships. Some people walk away because of fear of what may happen to us. They maybe cannot take the thought of losing us to heart failure and would rather break the friendship than lose us.

Limitations are another reason why friends and maybe family members will not want to do things with a heart failure loved one. They think of us as being fragile instead of seeing us as we were before heart failure.

It is almost as if you are not a person anymore. You do not get invited to go out anymore or invited to things that you also enjoyed before your diagnosis.

I experienced this a lot because people thought that I could not do the things I used to. I remember my best friend Duane stepping in during that time and inviting me out to do with me because nobody else would.

Educating others, friendships, and heart failure

I do not think people do this on purpose, but there’s something to say about people who have not experienced the emotional, physical, and mental strain heart failure has on us. Most people do not even really know that young people can have heart failure. Heart failure is also an invisible disease, so people do not think we are sick because they cannot see it.

Education is key for this reason because people just simply do not know about heart failure until it happens to a loved one or them. And that is the way it is, people are consumed with themselves and going about everyday life until they get a diagnosis. I was diagnosed at 25 not knowing my life would be changed so abruptly. Not knowing that some of my friends would not be a part of my heart journey, but I am so grateful for the ones that stayed.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Heart-Failure.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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