Explaining what it is like to live with a chronic illness is no easy task! It becomes even more challenging when our attempts to keep up with holiday traditions are thwarted by a flare.
On their own, the following memes are hilarious. But, when looked at with a chronic illness perspective they perfectly express how many of us feel during the holidays.
Take a look! Then tell me which one(s) you relate to the most at the bottom of the post.
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People with chronic illness are overwhelmed
December definitely stirs up a pot of emotions!
Part of us wants to believe in Santa. Because if he’s real, then there’s a chance that we could be cured from our incurable chronic illnesses.
We know we need to slow down. Yet we also feel guilty for taking care of ourselves. Society often makes us feel like we should be neglecting ourselves for others.
It’s not uncommon to send our family members off to a celebration without us. Pain has the tendency to make us frequent cancellers. We rely on endless Christmas and holiday movies to fill the hours spent home alone.
On one hand, we want to soak up every moment of the season. While on the other we just want the year to end!
Money is tight
The chronically ill do not have magic healthcare expense trees. Many have no slush fund or savings.
It is not uncommon for patients to max out their credit cards to pay for doctor appointments, medications, treatments, etc. This leaves the patient without the funds to purchase gifts for family, much less friends and acquaintances.
People with chronic illness feel defeated
If we are not careful, holiday stress and unrealistic expectations give chronic illnesses the upper hand. It doesn’t matter if we have taken every precaution, our chronic illnesses may take on the role of Thanos. Resulting in our bodies become the beaten Elf on the Shelf! With my current costochondritis flare, I am seriously feeling like that poor elf!
Someone is always watching
There are many people we only see during the holiday season. These people usually see us out on one of our better days. Otherwise, we’d be at home under a heated blanket watching ELF. They see us laughing and looking well then wonder if we really have a chronic illness.
We know they are judging us. We hear bits of gossip throughout the rest of the year. This results in avoiding confrontation. Giving us hope of enjoying what may be the only time we socialize for the entire month.
People with chronic illness hate gifts given with hidden agendas
No one should feel guilty for choosing how they choose to use a cash gift. It’s okay if they put it towards paying off medical debt. Nor should they feel guilty for using it to pick up a prescription.
I love gift cards and I bet you do too. Just not when given in the spirit of not wanting to aid a friend or family member.
Money was tight when I first turned to natural and alternative pain and symptom relief options. For that reason, cash gifts were a blessing. They made it possible to afford supplements and products that I couldn’t have tried otherwise.
We do what we have to
There’s a reason why your chronically ill friend has holiday decorations up outside the socially acceptable dates. It’s called self-preservation!!
Decorating my home sucked every last drop of my energy. I grew tired of losing the entire season to decorating and returning my home to “normal”. So I chose to keep everything up for an entire year.
I started off the new year with an energy I would not have normally had. I entered the holiday season feeling calm and in control. The year of Christmas lasted for four years!!
It’s been two years since the years of Christmas came to an end. But I will unashamedly bring it back should my health dictate the need for it.
Be careful how far you push someone with a chronic illness
Holidays bring out the giving in people….. Too bad that includes gifts of bad advice, unsolicited opinions, useless tips, and uneducated assumptions.
When I look at this meme, I imagine that Rudolph completely lost his $h!t. Imagine being told for the one-millionth time to push through the pain. It was probably insinuated that he can’t be that ill if he was able to hang out with Clarice.
Holiday gatherings are not the time to share how you think someone should be treating their chronic illness/ pain. Be warned! We can only take so much!
We are tired
Decorating, attending holiday gatherings, and shopping are exhausting for most people, even those without a chronic illness. The chronically ill experience a level of fatigue that others will never understand.
We want to whoop it up and have a great time celebrating with friends and family. Yet, our bodies aren’t always able to keep up. Everyone else sees a subdued sloth-like version of me sitting across the room. Yet, I feel like I am partying like it is 1999!
Which meme do you most relate to?