Vacations are a fantasyland. They provide us with an escape from our normal lives.
Whether it be a familiar place or unknown territory, our destinations are often nothing like where we live.
And even if just for a few days, we are able to forget about our worries and escape from the life that is wearing us down.
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However, if we are not careful, our escape to Fantasyland could make returning to reality more painful than before.
What the heck am I talking about?
Welcome to Fantasyland
There’s no need to travel to California or Florida to visit Fantasyland! We don’t need cars or airplanes to get there either! That’s because fantasyland isn’t necessarily a location, but a mental destination.
When visiting fantasyland, it is easy to neglect our bodies and diseases.
We get caught up in moments of joy.
We are distracted by the sights and sounds.
Whether on vacation or enjoying an afternoon out of the house, it is easy to forget about our needs.
We want to have fun!
We want to try new things!
We WANT TO FORGET our illnesses!
We may think that we can do whatever we want without paying any consequences.
While the idea of living like we aren’t sick is attractive and enticing, it is extremely dangerous!
Spending any amount in fantasyland can result in additional physical/emotional pain, injury, and if not careful death.
Depending on how we treat our illness, a missed dosage of medication could send our bodies into a downward spiral. We may experience withdrawal symptoms, emotional breakdowns, or unnecessary pain.
Ignoring our body’s limitations may result in needing more time to recover. It may also lead to injuries that could have been prevented had we taken precautions or modified our activities.
The fallout from all of this could also lead to increased depression. It is not uncommon to emotionally beat ourselves up for not taking care of ourselves. Or to loath our illnesses and the work it takes to live with them to the extent of not wanting to live at all.
If you find yourself in this situation, PLEASE SEEK HELP!
How to plan a healthy vacation/outing
The Fantasyland I currently visit is a physical place. But that wasn’t always the case. In the past, I would go on vacation or spend an outing without giving one thought to my chronic illnesses. The result was living in more pain and mental anguish than was necessary.
It took over a decade to recognize that I had set up residence in fantasyland. One might think learning to take precautions and planning with my illnesses in mind would have been the hardest step, but it wasn’t.
The hardest part was accepting that I was doing it. No one wants to believe that they are causing themselves harm, but sometimes it truly is the reason we aren’t able to do as much as we would like.
While there is no way to eliminate all post-vacation/outing pain, it is possible to prevent worse pain and/or injury.
- Plan with your physical and mental health in mind.
- Forgive yourself and your body when things go wonky or wrong.
- Learn from your mistakes.
- Learn from your successes.
- Modify activities to match your ability.
- Never skimp or skip your treatments or medications.
- Accept that you may require assistance and ask for it when you need it!
- Don’t ignore your body’s cries for mercy! Slow down when needed and cater to its needs.
While I still enjoy visiting Fantasyland at Disneyland, I no longer pretend that I am not ill while I am there.
And while I understand the desire to live like you did before your diagnosis, the ramifications are not worth it.
So think of it this way……
The less time we spend in Fantasyland, the more time we have to enjoy in Adventureland!!
Want to join me?
Living with a chronic illness is tough! Together we can make it easier!