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How You're Minimizing My Illness When You Tell Me to Manage My Time Better

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My fiancé and I were recently told that we needed to better manage and divide our time in order to accommodate for events and plans as we discussed our lack of availability for the remainder of summer. I don’t know about everyone else, but, I was a little offended that someone would think I don’t manage my time well. I have a work calendar, my personal Google calendar that is updated on a regular basis, and a home calendar.  Looking at all of them right now, I have two free weekends for the whole summer. Yes, out of the twelve weeks of summer, only two do not have plans. We tell friends and family to let us know of events with as much notice as possible so that I can not only add them to our calendar, but, so that I can take the appropriate time to prepare beforehand and plan for recouping after.

With this effort to schedule out as far as possible, we tend to manage pretty well and don’t miss a lot of things, as long as we have enough notice and the event is the only thing we have that day.  However, this statement came with the suggestion that we need to do more multi-tasking and multiple events in the same day – and that is what bothered me even more so than the notion that I cannot manage my time well. I know I can manage my time well as stated above. But, what I cannot do is tell my body that it has to function normally.

Living life with chronic illness is hard. Managing our time is difficult when considering appointments, medication schedules, rest requirements, physical limitations, and the like. I have to constantly “triage” and prioritize events based on when they occur, where they happen, what it is, and who they are with. Sorry, friends. But, family events always come first. And important occasions such as birthdays, graduations, holidays etc., always come before more casual things like grabbing lunch or just hanging out.

I wish that we could have a jam packed days every weekend to fit in everything we want to do and everyone we want to see, but, the truth is, my body just cant handle it. We will schedule days like this occasionally. In fact, we spent the entirety of Father’s Day weekend divided between two graduation parties and two family celebrations for the dads – in addition to over four hours of travel time. And I am paying for it. All week I have been dragging. I’ve had an unrelenting migraine since Monday and poor sleep. I have missed all of my workouts to conserve my energy for work and my house is a mess as I come home and plant my butt right on the couch. But, I would never miss those events with our families, so I scheduled a big weekend.

I understand that I am in a unique situation being ill, so please let me manage my own time free of your suggestions or ridicule. I plan things as best as I can and still end up paying the price for them with days in bed, lost time at work, a messy house, and a to do list that is never ending. Time management for a healthy or “normal” person is so much different than it is for those of us who have to plan around illnesses. We physically and mentally cannot handle the same activities or amount of them as our healthier selves used to or that a healthy person can.

By telling me to do more and manage my time better, you minimize my illness and all of my efforts to not let it run my life more than it already does. Please be kind and understanding to those of us handling chronic health issues. It is not easy and we try the best we can. Do not tell us to just “do more,” “find the time,” or “plan better.” It isn’t that simple. We cant do more. We have the same 24 hours a day that you do. We already plan everything to accommodate our conditions. The last thing we need is your “encouragement” to get out more or time management suggestions.

Getty Image by Massonstock

Originally published: June 22, 2018
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