In recent years, the holiday season has been a difficult time for me. Whether it’s been due to daily physical pain, multiple visits to the hospital emergency room to get medical help to cope with my pain flare-ups, missing holiday events with friends, or not being able to attend family dinners; the past few years have been hard.
However, this year, regardless of where I end up, I’ve decided that I’m going to have a happy day. It won’t matter if the only way I can connect with my friends and family is virtually through text messages, phone calls, and video chats from my bed or a bed in the emergency room. If I can’t make it to dinner because my pain is too overwhelming, I won’t feel conflicted or guilty because I decide to stay home and give my body the rest it needs. If I decide to go to my family’s dinner today and feel sore and exhausted after the drive there, I will give myself permission to find a quiet place to rest and recharge.
Whatever the day brings, the important thing for me is to do what I need to take care of myself. That is my gift to myself today: a day free of pressure, anxiety, and self-doubt. I hope that everyone living with a chronic illness has the freedom to make their own choices today – and every day – so they don’t have unnecessary stress and anxiety piled on top of lives that are already a struggle.
I hope that just as I am determined to, that everyone will have a happy day today.