In her book, Among Friends: Who We Like, Why We Like Them, and What We Want To Do With Them, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, using herself as an example, writes about why friends withdraw when someone is ill.
"I have a problem with illness. Armchair analysis suggests it is because my mother died of cancer when I was young and I have never been able to visit sick people or hospitals without stirring up these memories. But it may be something more ignoble: cowardice, laziness, a primitive fear of "germs" or the unknown, a self-serving denial of human frailty and the fragility of life. Whatever the cause, it is humiliating to own up to such behavior, and like any coward, I do so only having discovered that others are guilty of it too."
I am disturbed by her sentiments but I find her honesty appealing.
I wonder how many of you were deserted by your friends when you were ill with bipolar disorder. How did it make you feel? Did you welcome these people back to the fold when you were well? How did your illness affect your willingness to count on others? To trust them? Has the lack of empathy by others caused you to be more empathetic with others who are ill?