It is so hard for everyone to create boundaries, but especially those of us with chronic illnesses. We often think that we have to overcompensate for our “shortcomings” or illness issues by taking on too much and not saying no enough. We all have to learn that no isn’t a bad word – it can really save us as long as we practice.
One of the things that I learned at AI last weekend was how important it is for us to not only say no but to REST and get help. Those aren’t always things that we’re good at – heaven knows I’m not! – but they’re important skills for us to have. Another huge thing we need? To stop pushing ourselves so much. If, like me, you’ve worried about how people will perceive you then, don’t. If someone truly cares about you, they’ll be glad that you take a time out when you need it.
Right now that is something that I’m practicing. Despite the fact that I’m flaring, I really want to do more things to prove that I’m still able. One of the hard things with chronic illness is that your body isn’t quite as dependable as we might like. Right now my abilities are changing moment to moment, and that’s really hard to mentally process… especially if you’re into having control. Of course, a huge part of that too is wanting to believe or prove that we aren’t lesser beings for being ill.
If you feel that way often, please recognize that it’s okay to want to talk with a therapist. There is such a huge mental health stigma in our society and it scares many people away from getting help they need. If you’re in that boat, please don’t feel afraid to talk about what you’re going through even if it is just with a trusted person in your life or with the spoonie community online in an anonymous format. If you’re feeling bummed, there are a lot of fun things you could do to momentarily cheer yourself up. I’ll add another – cake!
Maybe you need some tools to help you rest instead. I love this post from Buzzfeed on cool websites. My favorites are this 60 second meditation website, paint with sloths (does this even need an explanation??), The Office Stare Machine, and Calming Manatee.
So this coming week, let’s try to work on ways to say no and ways to rest up when we need to. It isn’t always easy, but you can remember this no matter what: