Some days, my relationships seem like a string of transactions and scheduling. Chronic illness ramps up these less-than-sexy aspects of relationships. Being sick requires more planning, more appointments, and often less doing. So how can we maintain and celebrate the truth of our relationships (whether friendships, romantic, family, etc.) without letting illness dominate the routine and conversation?
1. Pitch in when you can
When illness flares, we tend to ask a lot of our relationships. In order for our needs to be met, we have to ask for things we wish we didn’t. Maybe we need help preparing meals or cleaning up. Things like walking a dog, doing laundry, and calling doctors can be very spoon-sapping, and may require assistance. It can cause guilt and strain, and fear that the other person resents us for being so needy. One way to smooth over those tougher days is to pitch in when you can! Recognize when you have extra spoons, and think of something nice you can do for someone who has helped you out. Offer to do the dishes or make dinner. Cover for someone at work. Obviously, stay within your limits — you don’t want to use too many spoons and end up crashing and needing help all over again! But if you show that you do want to help when able, even in small ways, it will help those around you be more eager to step in for you, and will ease your sense of guilt.