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My Illness Is the One Canceling Plans, Not Me

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To those who don’t understand my situation and the toll my chronic illness has on my life:

When I cancel plans I’m not being anti-social. I’m not avoiding going out because I don’t want to have fun. When I turn down an invitation for an event it’s not because I don’t want to be there. When I decline going shopping or to the mall, it’s because I don’t enjoy shopping. I would really love to have the energy to walk from store to store, but walking to and from the car alone exhausts me.  

Going anywhere away from home involves having to prepare and take all my own food with me and then answer everyone’s questions about why I’m not eating what everyone else is, what am I eating, do I want a drink, and many more that remind me how hard it is to live like this. None of these questions comfort me or make me feel better — they all remind me how badly I want to be able to consume solid food and eat and drink like everyone else. If I ever do go out, I’m not acting like a “goodie two shoes” by not drinking. My body is not strong enough and putting alcohol in it would only cause more harm and pain.  

It’s extremely hard to make plans and keep commitments because I never know how much pain I will feel on a given day. It is a daily battle with the pain. Some days it is more bearable and others it is so debilitating I can barely stand up.  The fatigue is overbearing. When I wake up and get a shower, do the dishes and make breakfast it feels like I ran a marathon.  

Please know and understand when I can’t make plans or attend an event, it’s not because I don’t want to. It’s because I can’t tell if I will lose the battle with the pain that day. When I cancel plans it means the pain is winning the battle the battle that day, not me. So when I’m given the reputation of the girl who never does anything, please remember that it is my illness and not me.

Originally published: August 7, 2016
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