handle the holidays

How Chronic Pain Warriors Handle the Holidays

Should I invite your to me holiday party?

Should I Invite You to My Holiday Party?

Sometimes family and friends are not certain how to help the chronically ill handle the holidays. Debra Lyons offered to write a letter to you. Read on…

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curlicue by Coffee at Pixabay

Dear family and friends,

It is hard to believe that October is here and with that comes the anxiety of handling the upcoming holidays.  I realize that we all experience some form of anxiety and pressure when the holidays come along. But the anxiety, I am referring to is not caused by last-minute shopping or not being able to find the perfect gift.  It’s a result of being chronically ill and not knowing what to expect from one minute to the next.  This makes all the planning that goes along with the holidays quite stressful and emotional for me.

Being Chronically Ill adds stress to handling the holidays. #thisisfibro #chronicpain #holidayblues Click To Tweet

I Love the Holidays

Don’t take that the wrong way. I want nothing more than to…

  • spend the holidays with you,
  • visit with family I may not have seen for a while,
  • take pictures that will save memories that most likely my foggy brain won’t retain itself,
  • stay long enough to enjoy dessert and
  • bask in all the glory that the holidays used to mean to me. 

Handling the Holidays Is A Fight

Handling the #holidays with #chronicpain

But I fight my body every day and I fight even harder on holidays because I don’t want to disappoint you and, I truly don’t want to miss spending the day with you.  I love spending time with you and when I am around you and others, I try to be the me that you remember.  I try to put on a happy face, smile, laugh and enjoy my time with you.  You have no idea how much effort is put into pulling that off.  

Every day I am in pain, it’s just the degree of pain that changes.  Some days I can’t even dress while other days I can be self-sufficient.  It takes me hours to get ready because I must take breaks in between every act I perform. 

  • Shower,
  • Rest,
  • Blow-dry hair,
  • Rest,
  • Style hair
  • Rest again
  • you get the idea.  

And then, of course, there are those days, no matter how much I think I am up to the challenge, I simply cannot will the strength to make it out of the house.  I’m not complaining.  I love to be with you, and I do appreciate the invitations so please don’t stop inviting me.  I may have to say no on occasion but please give me the opportunity to say yes to that one moment I can get together with you.  I truly don’t want to miss it!  See Shona’s letter about Getting Ready for Church.

Please give me the opportunity to say YES! #holidayblues #chronicpain #thisisfibro Click To Tweet

And please, don’t tell me NOT to bring anything to your house. 

I don’t want to feel like there’s something special or so frail about me that I can’t pick up a bottle of wine or make cupcakes.  It may take me a few days to get to it, but I CAN do it!  And if I must buy the cupcakes, well, it won’t be the end of the world.  There are many things that I am no longer capable of doing but still so much that I can do, using the coping tools I have learned, and I ask that you let me decide what I can and can’t do.  Just ask me. I have had to learn to be brutally honest with not only others but myself.  “No” has been the hardest thing to learn, but I would like to be the one to decide what is too much for me. 

Grieving my Losses

I’m reflecting on last Thanksgiving.  I made it!  And it was so good to see everyone.  I felt so bad that everyone went through so much trouble to make me comfortable, but I ended up having to leave early.  At home, I have so many tools to ease my pain and make me comfortable. And for me, when I am feeling ill or in pain, there truly is no place like home.  It has no reflection on you or your home.  It’s often difficult to handle the holidays.

Precious Memories

I don’t know about you, but even if I only get to spend an hour with you, the memories that were made in that hour are very precious to me.  I spend a lot of time alone, so I make an extra effort to get to these get-togethers.  We have been doing them for so many years and some of our loved ones have gone onto a better place and we remember and celebrate them during the holidays while we are all together.  There’s mom’s biscuits or your mother’s stuffing recipe. 

These are moments that are so precious to me.  I don’t want to miss them, and you can bet that if I do, it’s because I lost the battle, temporarily, with this body of mine.  I think about when the kids were little, and I would run out after work to do some secret “Santa” shopping before I got home.  I could be going for hours hopping from store to store and still get home and make dinner.  Now I do most of my shopping online and meals are often, take-out.  See Mandy’s Pain Comes for the Holidays

Making the Holidays Less Stressful

I hope that having some of the information I’ve shared with you will help us all handle the holidays.  I appreciate you for taking the time to read my letter and for trying to understand what is often difficult for me to understand myself.  What I do understand is that even though our visit may be short, and the efforts I had to take to get to you can be quite painful, if I can make it, I’ll be there. 

While my body has changed drastically, the core of who I am and how I love has not.  #holidaystress #chronicallyill Click To Tweet

Thanks for the Love

I care about all of you and I thank you so much for your compassion and understanding as we handle the holidays together.  While those looking in at my life from the outside may see a broken woman, I see me as I’ve always been, just with a broken body.  And I am thankful and truly blessed to have the love and support that you all have shown to me. 

Happy Holidays!

With Love,

Deb

ATTENTION FIBRO WARRIORS: Would you be interested in writing a “Letter to Friends”? Click here for details; then contact Mandy.

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9 thoughts on “How Chronic Pain Warriors Handle the Holidays

  1. Bettie G says:

    Thank you for expressing what so many of us feel who deal with chronic illness. This sentence echoes in my oen heart so deeply: “I don’t know about you, but even if I only get to spend an hour with you, the memories that were made in that hour are very precious to me.” Amen. I am so grateful for every moment we are able to share with loved ones.

    • Debra Lyons says:

      Thank you. Our loved ones sometimes do not realize how important those moments are for us or to what extent we most go in order to experience it. 💕

    • Debra Lyons says:

      Sometimes it’s so hard for us to express our needs to our loved ones. Feel free to share this with your family and friends. Hugs and much love!

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