FOMO When You Have a Chronic Illness

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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