What Happens When I Try to Be "Normal"
Those of us with chronic illnesses know we have a different type of “normal” than people without them. But what happens when we try to do the things we were once able to do? As a 24-year-old, I struggle a lot with trying to be a “normal” young adult.
Celebrations or holidays
When I’m writing this, my birthday has just passed and I wanted to do more than what I did last year for my birthday, which was nothing. I decided to invite some friends to all you can eat sushi on Friday and celebrate with my family on Saturday.
Much to my surprise (it shouldn’t have been a surprise at all), Saturday night rolled around and I was exhausted. I went out for sushi Friday, had dinner with my family Saturday, and invited a friend over to play some board games in the evening. I was the most tired I had been in a while, and it was bad. After we ate dinner I could feel the fatigue coming like a big storm.
I went against all of my advice and better judgment and I continued, though. I played video games, board games, and even had wine. The storm really hit. Why don’t I listen to myself?!
It’s Sunday. I woke up this morning feeling like I was hit by a bus. No, not a hangover. My body ached and my eyes hurt because of how fatigued I was. The morning stiffness also took a good while to wear off today.
I’ve spent the entire day relaxing. I took an Epsom salt bath, relaxed both in bed AND on the couch while watching TV, and journaled a little bit. If I wasn’t in so much pain I would have napped, but I couldn’t. (Painsomnia, am I right?)
I did everything in my power to not do ANYTHING today. I wanted to do yoga but I knew that it would be too much for me. Tomorrow is a new day and I’ll try it then. But only if I’m ready.
It’s important to listen to our bodies when we overdo it. It’ll make the recovery time a lot quicker if we can just take a day to relax and do whatever the body says we should do.
Why I continue to do this
You might be wondering why I keep doing this if I know the outcome is so bad. Sometimes I ask myself the same question, so don’t feel bad.
I continue to make plans and try to do things that every other 24-year-old can do because I just miss doing what I used to do. I miss being able to go out for a night and not come home feeling the entire weight of my body and then crashing.
Especially for events like my birthday, I really wanted to just enjoy it like I used to, even with the consequences I’ve felt all weekend. In some ways, it was worth it. In others, not so much.
Does reading AxSpA patient stories help you in your journey?