The 30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge is a project that I’ve been working my way through. It was created by @cfs_zombie, and I learned about it through Tumblr. Each day, for 30 days, there is a brand new writing prompt. All of the topics have something to do with chronic illness.
Day 24: How have you managed to juggle your social life through your illness?
I don’t have much of a social life to juggle. That makes things pretty simple! Hanging out with my friends often requires nothing more than for me to get online.
I have friends who I talk to (through various forms of social media) nearly every day. Some of them I have yet to meet in person. When I went to Blizzcon 2013, I was so happy to be able to hang out with many of my friends in person, for the first time! That was so much fun.
We all live far away from each other, so being social with any of them requires the internet. That makes things easier on me. There are days when my allergies are horrible and I’m stoned out of my head on antihistamines. I can’t drive when I’m like that, but I can safely go online and be social.
I’ve got a good friend who lives very far away from me and who is coming to visit soon. This friend seems to understand how my allergies affect me. I wouldn’t say that I have to “juggle” my chronic illness around being social with this friend. Things just work!
My husband and I have a couple of friends that we hang out with in person. Each one of them has chronic illness of their own (more or less). We all understand each other. It’s wonderful! If one of us is too sick to go out, and has to cancel plans, we simply reschedule. No stress!
There was a time when I felt as though I had to “juggle” my chronic illness around being social with my in-laws. That’s not their fault. There are a lot of people who haven’t met anyone who has a chronic illness. If they don’t have one themselves, it can be hard for them to “get” what it is like to be sick all the time.
Over the years, my in-laws have gotten incredibly understanding about my chronic illnesses. We have worked out a system that allows me to be social at family gatherings without having to be exposed to more allergens than I can safely handle. I am incredibly grateful that they are willing to make some accommodations in order for me to participate. (My own family – overall- has a less than stellar track record of coping with my allergies.)
The biggest pieces of wisdom I can offer in regard to having to “juggle” your social life around your chronic illness would be:
1. The internet is incredibly helpful and a great tool to use if you want to socialize while sick.
2. The more you explain your chronic illness to your family/in-laws, the more likely they are to (eventually) understand it.
3. People who insist that you push your body beyond what is healthy for you are not your friends. You can try educating them about your chronic illness, and how it affects you. If they choose to ignore what you are saying – it’s time to dump them.
4. Having friends who also have a chronic illness (even if it isn’t the same as yours) is wonderful. So is having friends who are healthy and who are willing to accommodate your chronic illness when you need them to.