A person cancels plans on the phone in front of a huge calendar with fun activities crossed out all over it.

Disabled Summer

Summer is the season for going out and having fun. As children, summer break couldn't come fast enough. We just couldn't wait to hang out with friends. The possibilities were endless; we could go biking, swimming, to an amusement park, have sleepovers, go to parties, etc. Summer was synonymous with fun.

Summer is the season for going out

In the age of social media, summer is the season for going out and posting all the fun things you're doing. All your followers see your posts and can interact with them. While I am happy to see my family and friends enjoying themselves, it is really hard to see all the exciting things they are doing, that I can't.

Sometimes I wish I could go out and enjoy my summer too. It's really cool to see some of the things people are up to. Like going hiking, seeing waterfalls, finding interesting places in the city, etc. Being able to spend time with people I care about and see places and do things feels out of reach.

I feel sad when I can't do simple things

I know I am limited in what activities I can partake in because of my illnesses but I still feel sad when I can't go out and do simple things. Going to a restaurant and having a nice meal with my loved ones feels impossible sometimes. Or going for a walk by the water. Even having a picnic in a field.

It's hard to maintain relationships with people when you have a chronic illness, but the pressure to hang out in person is much higher during the summer. I end up canceling plans or rescheduling way more during the summer months. The people in my life are making the most of their summers and want to include me. While I appreciate this greatly, I feel like I disappoint them more during this time of year.

I have to plan around my pain

As a young person with ankylosing spondylitis and other chronic conditions, I am hoping I have some fun this summer. This will involve a lot of planning around my pain, timing when I take meds and rest, making sure I have my heating pad and mobility aids, and a backup plan if I can't do certain things. It also requires compassion, patience, and love from myself and my loved ones.

Like every year, summer will look different for us disabled folk, but it can still be loads of fun. I am excited to do some fun things but also looking forward to listening to my body and resting when I need to. While my fun looks different from others, I will try not to beat myself up over what I can't control.

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