alt=a woman naps on a couch surrounded by shopping bags and photos of friends

How I Balance My Social Life With AxSpA

It’s no secret that AS has changed my life forever. Five years ago I was a completely different human. I was able to work, go out places, and see people often. I don’t know how I did it.

Nowadays things look a little different. I’m unable to work outside of the house, and I only go out and see people when my pain and fatigue allow me to.

I want to share how I balance my newer life – my life with AxSpA.

Dating with ankylosing spondylitis

As a young adult, dating is a huge part of my life. I’m on the dating apps and talking to people, but I have to navigate the dating world a little differently. It takes a lot of energy to go out and meet people!

What I’ve been doing for a few years now is only meeting people in real life that I’ve talked to a lot. Whether that be on the phone, Facetime, or just texting for a week or two, I won’t waste my energy going out meeting people who I’m not sure I’ll mesh with.

I make sure that I at least get along with them a little bit first, to make going out on a date worth the energy. That kind of sounds bad, but that’s how I operate when it comes to dating!

Seeing friends

When it comes to seeing friends, it’s a little different. I obviously want to see my friends often! I try to balance seeing friends about once a week or so. I think it’s really important for my mental health to be able to see people other than my parents.

Whether seeing my friends means having them come over and hang out in a low-key setting, or going out for dinner or a short shopping trip, it always helps to see them. I just make sure to spend the few days leading up to seeing a friend relaxing and taking care of myself - because seeing people - even if they’re friends - can be tiring!

A big symptom of my AS is fatigue, so I spend a lot of time resting.

Rest is so important!

I always try to tell myself that rest is productive. I have a sign in my room that says it just to remind me often. In our culture, rest is seen as being lazy, and that’s simply not true. Especially for those of us with chronic illnesses. Rest is extremely important and should never be seen as being lazy! We need it desperately!

In order to balance being social, I need to be able to rest in the days leading up to the event, and the one or two days after. I need to be taking it easy in order to save my energy and help my overall fatigue levels.

I’ll spend a lot of time in bed and make sure I’m taking naps. I don’t want to overdo it and be unable to see people - because seeing people is so important for my mental health!

How do you balance your social life with your AxSpA?

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