(I haven’t been feeling too well this week so, consequently, I haven’t written anything. I thought I’d share this blog post I wrote for the Mighty. It’s especially relevant with Christmas coming so soon. Enjoy!)
The holiday season is supposed to be all about giving. I know from experience that it’s easy to get lost in the materialistic parts of the holiday. We spend all of our time leading up to the big day shopping to find the perfect gifts for our friends and family. We wait anxiously to unwrap those beautiful boxes with their big bows sitting under the tree. But the number one gift your favorite spoonie really wants this Christmas can’t be bought in a store nor can it be wrapped up in a box. It’s so much larger than that.
When you live with an invisible illness, it’s very easy to feel isolated, as though no one believes us or understands us. Nobody can see our pain so it can be hard for others to wrap their heads around it. Often, upon getting sick, we lose a lot of our treasured independence and are forced to rely on family and friends so much more. Things we used to do on our own have now become insurmountable tasks. Then, friends can start to drift away when we don’t feel well enough to spend a lot of time with them. It’s easy to feel like a burden.
These feelings weigh heavily year around but, especially, during the holiday season. It can be hard watching everyone eat and celebrate when we can’t. With a limited amount of expendable energy, we need to carefully distribute it in order to make the most of the festivities. Being with our family and friends makes us wish for our old life back, the one we had before we became ill.
But there’s a easy way that you can help us deal with those feelings, simply offer your support. Support is something so simple to share but means a whole lot to the person receiving it. When you stop in for a quick visit to say hello, it can make our whole week brighter. When you send us a message on Facebook telling us that you’re thinking of us and hope that all is well, it shows us that we’re not alone. When you let us vent about our problems or give us a shoulder to cry on, it helps us take a load off of our plates. When you invite us to do things with you, even though we may not always feel well enough to accept, it shows us that we’re loved and wanted.
All of these actions take little of your time but can mean the world to somebody. They may only be small actions but they make a big impact on a person’s life. As the years go by, we will begin to forget that material gifts we’ve received but we will never forget the kindness and love you have shown us. So this holiday season, don’t get lost in the materialism of the holiday. Instead, remember the gifts that you, as a person, have to offer. It doesn’t cost you anything to lend offer us your support and friendship. There is a reason this gift isn’t for sale in a store: because it’s priceless.