Chronic Illness, Uncategorized, Writing

FOMO When You Have a Chronic Illness


Today I am missing yet another thing.

That thing is an outdoor bridal shower with swimming, food, yoga, and just hanging out in the sun. All things that I love.

I RSVP’d a month ago with the expectation that, by this time, I’d be well enough to go. Just yesterday I thought, “you know, I’m feeling pretty good today. I’m sure I’ll be able to go tomorrow.”

Of course, when you’ve got a chronic illness and you’re feeling good, it’s easy to get excited and do a little too much. That’s what I did yesterday.

Oh, optimism.

Image source

So now, on this sunny warm July day, I’m tired and achey and I’ve had to make the dreaded cancellation-of-plans. Cancelling on someone usually sucks, but when it becomes a more regular part of your life, the compounded effect is extra depressing. It’s like FOMO on steroids.

“But couldn’t I just push it a bit today?” I wonder.

Yes, I could. Would I enjoy myself? Probably a little bit. Would I pay for it in even more fatigue, brain fog, pain, and sickness for a week or more? Yup. And I’ve got to save up those “pushing it” days for those really, really unmissable events (e.g. getting married, visiting someone in the hospital).

Me when I’m at a party but feeling sick. Image source

So, I’m having a stay-in day. I’m trying to cheer myself up a bit by doing any little low-energy thing I can that feels productive and planning to watch a guilty pleasure movie by myself later.

You know probably know the drill: I’m looking for the silver lining. Turning lemons into lemonade. Appreciating what I have.

But, making the most of  things doesn’t mean I have to love the downgraded alternative. At least not immediately.

I will be a little grumpy. I will be a little sad. I will cry for a couple of minutes while doing my awkward morning stretches, before dragging myself into the shower even though I’m not leaving the house today.

I will think about all the other things I’ve missed. My best friend’s wedding. Birthday parties. More weddings. Weekend trips.

Image source

I won’t make a chipper and exhaustive list of “things to do when you’re feeling crappy.” I won’t claim that this is a blessing in disguise. Not right now.

I will do what I know I need to do. I may even enjoy myself at times, and I’ll let that happen. I won’t let my disappointment prevent me from unexpected happiness.

Then, maybe next time, I’ll get to go out and do the thing.

Good reads and resources:

Just Say No: Learning to Minimize the Emotional Toll of FOMO — Chronicality

The Isolating Loneliness of Chronic Pain & Invisible Illness — Princess in the Tower

Missing Out and Chronic Illness — Autoimmune Gal

It’s Okay to Be Sad in the Summer  — ChronicBabe


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