When you’re chronically ill, it can be hard to keep up a ‘normal persons’ social life, no matter what age you are. From being 18 I struggled with my social life, and I do believe that trying to run with it when I couldn’t even walk, made my illnesses a lot worse and a lot more of a burden to get myself out of. So this post is going to be targeted at having a chronic illness and balancing a social life as best as possible.
Now I don’t know what other countries are like for alcohol, but I’m from the UK and as soon as you turn 18 you’re legally allowed to do everything an adult can, which includes drinking alcohol. This usually times very well with 17 year olds prepping for University, by the time they get there, they’ll be of the legal drinking age and the idea of ‘Freshers week’ in the UK is to get drunk and make friends, basically. So naturally like everyone else, I did this, and because I had no idea of my limitations at that point, I kept up with everyone else, and wondered if everyone else actually felt like I did the day after socialising and drinking. Even going to the Freshers Fair’s worn me down, and I put it down to me not having a good alcohol tolerance, and presumed thats why I felt so bad the days after.
But within 2 months of living in halls, I picked up every illness and infection known to man, yet everyone else seemed to shake theirs off within a week or so, mine was continuous. This is a prime example of me running myself into the ground before I even knew what was happening with my body.
Now I know, I look back at those moments and shake me head, because I know I could handle them better now. But it would still be a struggle. Just from research the first thing I found out is a lot of people who suffer with PoTs, also have alcohol intolerance. So that is one thing I moderate or cut out completely during social situations, as I can guarantee that will do a lot more harm than good, and seriously dehydrate yourself.
The next is multi-vitamins. I never used to bother with multi-vitamins until 12 months ago, and i can tell the difference completely. In the winter, especially if you’re chronically ill and are going to be at an event, or out with friends, the best thing to take per day are multi-vitamins and cod-liver oil tablets for your joints (if they’re an issue.. which I’m guessing they are for MOST of us, right??) You can even get them on prescription if you can’t afford to pay. Along with your daily medication, these need to be added to your list. I am so happy my doctor suggested them now and I wouldn’t go a day without taking them.
Another that gives me more comfort than anything is my spoons bracelet purchased from Spoonie Survival Kits on Etsy. This is just something I use as a good luck charm, something I can look at when I’m out and about and realise what it is i’m fighting everyday and I know I’m worth the fight. I also show it to friends and people I’m out with, and it creates a good conversation about how I manage and it gives them an insight in what I deal with and how they can help me. The spoonie survival kits they make are also a great pick me up. I’ve only ever purchased one, that was last month, and they come with so many nice goodies perfect for someone who has a chronic illness.
While on the subject of friends, the best thing anyone can do is to surround themselves with people who actually care and understand. The worst thing anyone with a chronic illness can do is be out with someone who makes them feel like an ‘invalid’ or like it isn’t as bad as what it is. You need to surround yourself with people who will go home with you when you say you need to go, or at least walk you to your car. I don’t think I’d be able to go to social events if it wasn’t for the friends I have that understand and don’t make me feel like I have to make an excuse for my health that day. They’re also the ones who know what to do if i’m in severe pain or pass out.
These are just a few little things I find help my social life whilst suffering with a chronic illness. Are there any things I missed off?
Thank you for reading.