I am so frustrated today! I went outside to take the dogs out and realized it was actually pretty warm outside. What a perfect day to pull in my Thanksgiving/fall decorations, wrap up my patio furniture for the winter, and string my Christmas lights. Of course, I’m not going to do any of that. Instead, I’m going to stay in the house, lay low, and try not to be super frustrated with myself.
I woke up yesterday running a fever and it has decided to stick around. One of the frustrations of having a chronic illness is that this happens to you and it happens more often than we admit. I think, for the most part, we eventually come to accept the reality that we just can’t do everything that we want to do but it really hits home when you can’t do ANYTHING that you want to do. Luckily, I didn’t have any plans made already or I would have had to cancel, which would make me feel even worse. Because we worry about this possibility so often, I think it gives us a heightened sense of disappointment when it does happen. I know that it’s counter-intuitive to think about becoming sick because stress and worry are two things that actually contribute to it. However, because it’s a fact of life for us, it’s unavoidable. I should have recognized the signs but, because we have so much to do around the holidays, we sometimes refuse to recognize, or acknowledge, the fact that we’re doing too much. I am so stubborn about having to limit what I do that I am not always doing what I need to. It’s like I’m convinced that if I am able to push through, just this once, I may be rewarded for my efforts and have no repercussions. Sometimes it works but usually it doesn’t.
I’m lucky. Most of the people I make plans with are my family and they would completely understand if I need to cancel on them. I rarely do it because I don’t want to abuse their understanding and I truly enjoy spending time with them. I know that some of us have it more difficult than I do and have lost friends and family members over it. We tend to hesitate and not reach out as often in order to avoid disappointment. I have a few friends that I’ve had to cancel on and don’t see as often, which is hard. It’s hard to make plans in advance or to have to call at the last minute and see if we can change plans. It’s unfair to ask somebody to come over to my house just because it’s easier for me, so sometimes time goes by without seeing them.
It’s gotten pretty easy to put on a happy face most of the time. That’s what we do. It does not mean, however, that this doesn’t affect us; it just means that we’ve gotten to the professional level of hiding how we feel. I’m embarrassed and disappointed when I have to cancel plans. I’m sad and disappointed when I don’t see or talk to somebody in a long time. Daily, I think about these things, shrug my shoulders, pretend I don’t care, and go about my day. Again, it’s not anybody’s fault, it’s just the way it is and another aspect of how our lives are affected on a regular basis. We don’t want anybody to feel sorry for us or to get angry so we try to hide all these feelings. Sometimes we do want somebody to understand, though, and sometimes we DO allow ourselves to feel bad about it, especially on days when it’s nice outside and you wanted to get something done but you’re stuck in the house running a fever. Those are the days when we hope you understand and send us a gentle hug (and maybe a text letting us know everything is okay).