Think of a person in your life from whom you hide your emotions. What is preventing you from telling this person how you feel? One of the biggest aspects of my life that my TMS pain has affected are my friendships. Looking back, my pain started after I graduated college and moved to a new city with only a few friends. It was extremely hard and now looking back I think I was really depressed. College was one of the best times of my life, I felt in tune with myself, had pretty good self esteem, and was surrounding by loving friends that literally lived in the same apartment complex as me. Living in a new town with only a couple other friends was tough, I don't think I realized how lonely I was in this time. Being thrown into the real world after being surrounded by close friends and the distraction of school was extremely difficult. I also was extremely overwhelmed by the tasks of the "real world," going to the grocery store, having a job, paying rent etc. My heart was hurting and longing for the past and I never really accepted that until now. I missed my friends so much, I missed partying and going on adventures and learning new things everyday. To make things worse, I tried to fill this hole with boyfriends that ended up hurting me in one way or another. As my pain got worse and I became more "handicapped" my friendships seemed to crumble. I didn't want to burden them with the fact that I was in pain and had no idea why. I wanted to be the fun, easy going friend that they new and not the anxious depressed and pain ridden person that I had become. So I hid the hurt and tried to keep going, eventually taking a great toll on my friendships. I was in so much pain that I stopped hanging out with my friends, I stopped going out, traveling, etc. I didn't know how to explain this to my friends and felt like a horrible person. I would cancel plans because of the pain and feel more lonely than before or go out despite the pain and have a horrible time. I felt like a flake, I turned down invitations, I stopped visiting friends that lived farther away, and began more and more to live my life in fear. I didn't know how to explain this to my friends because I didn't even know what was going on myself. It breaks my heart that some of my friendships have suffered because I turned inward, instead of reaching out for help. I was constantly watching my friends going on with their fun exciting lives all around me and I was stuck living with my parents, going to doctors everyday to try to figure out why I was in so much pain. I would see pictures of my friends together and it broke my heart that I wasn't there with them. I missed out on trips, parties and other bonding experiences and eventually my friendships suffered. I didn't feel like I could talk about my pain and what was going on because I didn't know myself, I didn't know how to explain the pain to them or go through all the stuff that I was doing with doctors to treat the pain. The worst feeling was and still is when my friends ask my out to hang out or ask me to come visit them and I "can't because of my pain." Eventually friends stop reaching out if every time they try to hang out with you, you tell them you can't because of mysterious pain. I wanted to be and visit with my friends so bad but I was terrified to do anything that would cause the pain to be worse, including the act of driving to go see friends that lived farther away. This still plagues me to this day. My friends will ask me to come visit but because I am so scared that my pain will increase and I won't be in the safety of my own home that I won't go. I am terrified to drive more than an hour or so due to the pain as well or to sleep on a bed that could cause my pain to increase. The fear of my pain has caused many of my friendships to suffer. It truly is heartbreaking to think about and I am working on communicating better with my friends and really showing and explaining to them how I feel but my heart still aches. I have gotten so good at being by myself and expecting to see my friends move on with their lives without me but it continues to hurt my heart in ways I never thought the loss of friendships would.