The Mighty Logo

Why I Don't Feel Bad About Declining New Year's Eve Invitations Due to Illness

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

We were invited to a New Year’s Eve BBQ, but once again, chronic illness and severe asthma made acceptance impossible.

What is worth reflecting on though is my response to this. Firstly, when invited, my immediate reaction was “No, I can’t do this. The air will be too cold and I will have breathing problems. Nice of them to ask us though. Now we will have to explain, again.” Then I pondered the firework celebrations that millions of people watch and enjoy – these are definitely and absolutely impossible for me! I would love to be there but I would just end up in an ambulance!

But, I am not sad, I am not disheartened, I am not feeling hard done by and I am not full of self-pity. This is remarkable! I have finally reached a peaceful and calm adaptation to my chronic illness. The friend who invited us to the BBQ didn’t seem to fully understand my situation and even this wasn’t upsetting either as I am fairly familiar with the lack of understanding with people saying, “Oh, just come for a little while, I am sure you will be OK.” I now accept that people will behave in different ways in response to my chronic illness. I don’t need to buy into their reactions nor do I need to justify the decisions and choices I have to make to maintain my health and manage my illness as well as I possibly can be.

No, I wouldn’t have been OK if I went out for an outdoor New Year’s Eve celebration. It is very hot here in Canberra during the day, but the evenings get cold and too cold for my lungs. I know this now and I won’t compromise my health just to please other people. I just gently explain my reasons and stick to my decision. I don’t go on and on with all the details, just state it as it is. My self-care comes first! And if the person has issues with this, then so be it. I will just “let it go, let it go, let it go.” Maybe that should be my anthem for 2018!

Previously, I would have gone through emotional turmoil regarding the things I can no longer do. I would be gobbled up with resentment. I would let “should” run rampant in my mind and destroy my calmness. But I seem to have moved through and passed this! And I didn’t even realize this had happened until I thought about my lack of emotional response when invited to that BBQ. This is a helpful place to be.

On the last day of 2017 I sat quietly at home. I felt peaceful even though this year has been a hard one health-wise. I have been admitted three times into the emergency department for asthma and had one stint in intensive care for asthma. So my asthma is no better than it has been in the previous two years and probably is in fact worsening. But, I am managing it better and I now have a really good and supportive health care team. I understand my type of asthma better too. (I only acquired asthma in July 2014 with diagnosis in April 2015. I have CVA, cough variant asthma). I don’t try to figure out why a flare-up happens. There are so many triggers, so many variables. I would really like to know why, but I can accept that this is probably never going to be very clear.

Unfortunately, I am in the midst of another asthma episode and I am on my second day of a large prednisone regime. So, I am unable to sleep, ravenous and moody. But, prednisone will settle the inflammation down and then I will be able to get enough oxygen to feel human again. This too shall pass, it is a temporary situation, a temporary setback and won’t be the last flare-up I experience.

For all my fellow Mighty warriors I hope you too can let go of expectations of yourself and those imposed by others and that you too can “let it go, let it go, let it go.” I was quite happy to sleep through the celebrations and celebrate that I am choosing what is best for me.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo via shironosov on Getty Images

Originally published: January 2, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home