Dear Chronic Illness – has anyone told you that Christmas is coming?

Dear Chronic Illness pin

Dear Chronic Illness,

Has anyone told you that Christmas is coming?

It is such a busy time of the year when everyone is supposed to be jolly, enjoying the madness of Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts and dressing for parties.  You probably don’t know, but food and drink play a huge role in the festivities – meals out with loved ones, chocolates and nuts, mince pies and egg nog, Christmas cake and plum pudding.  The television is overflowing with chefs telling us how to prepare for a magnificent feast timed to perfection.

Christmas dinner

Shop fronts and homes are transformed into a winter wonderland as decorations and lights sparkle.  The smell of a real Christmas tree invades the crevices of many a house, this one included.  The sights, sounds, tastes and smells of this time of year can be truly wonderful – glitter and glamour, carols and Michael Buble, cinnamon and nutmeg, mincemeat and mulled wine.

I want to enjoy it.  I want to take part and accept invitations to party.  I want to bake and give gifts to friends and family.  I want to feel joyful.

Christmas cake

You are my closest companion – with me 24/7, you know me better than anyone.  But the Christmas message doesn’t seemed to have reached you.

You hinder me and slow me down, meaning that I can no longer join in how I want to.  The invitations turned down at the last minute, the exhaustion after one trip to the shops, the increased difficulties dressing the tree and “decking the halls”.  The guilt at putting more on loved ones, being unable to host parties or bake up a storm.  The food once so tempting, now leaving only discomfort and tears.

You watch the weather and as the cold and damp creep in with the winter, you ramp up the chronic pain leaving my body struggling to leave bed, let alone leaving the house.  My hands fumble over Christmas wrapping, my back fails to keep me upright, dislocated joints reach a new level on the pain charts.

The expectation that Christmas should be “the most wonderful time of the year” is not the perfect mixer for brain fog and reactive depression.  Some days it is a toxic cocktail.

But as you are my constant companion, I must teach you about the festive season and in turn you must teach me how to live it with you cradling me.  I will try so hard to feel acceptance of you rather than resenting limitations that may be placed upon me.  When I feel you knocking at the door, I will learn to slow down, to say “no”, to pace myself.  My limitations will become my strength as I enjoy a slower, quieter but no less precious time with loved ones.

You cradle me

I know that you won’t be taking a holiday for the festive season.  I know that neither you nor I can guarantee how present you will be at the festivities from hour to hour, day to day.  But I do know that we must rub along side by side and cope in the best way that we can.  If an outing to a party is skipped or a visit to relatives proves too much, then so be it.  If it is impossible to throw off a low mood for festive cheer then so be it.

merry christmas greeting card
Photo by on

We will wake together each morning and go to bed together each night.  Just like every other day, we will take the holidays as they come……but perhaps now that you know Christmas is coming, you could loosen your cradling arms just a little and give me some slack?

Merry Christmas,

Claire x


25 thoughts on “Dear Chronic Illness – has anyone told you that Christmas is coming?

  1. This is so aptly written, and you’re so right, there’s no holiday or break from chronic illness and it’s not exactly predictable to make things a little easier on us either. My fingers are very much crossed that it loosens its hold on you over Christmas, caught up in cheesy festive songs and yummy food, so that you can enjoy it all as much as possible. You really have written this brilliantly, I will have to ask the same kindness of my own body this year, too.xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Claire………it so difficult because we never get a break, we never get to put it on a shelf and walk away for a bit and pick it up at the end of a day. No one can understand unless they live it and I am so sorry you are also living this life too. I wish you a pleasant holiday in the best way that you are able and that it will bring you smiles despite the circumstance.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Beautifully written Claire. I’m sharing on my forum and everywhere. Just so relatable to anyone with chronic illness. Whatever you manage to do over the Christmas period, I hope you have a very happy and peaceful time. Lots of love, Sam xx

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Chronic illness is horrible. I understand chronic illness 100% as my body has survived a semi-truck accident leaving me with an almost death experience and a physical disability and pain. I pray you find peace and relief soon. May God bless you! Merry Christmas

    Liked by 2 people

  5. josypheen

    I hope you do get at least a bit of a break. It is so tough at this time of year if everyone expects you to be merry, but you’re in pain. 😦

    I hope you have some fantastic Christmassy moments despite it all.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. Hi Claire, Chronic pain has decided to be my NBF since I have stopped taking all my painkillers ( to which I was addicted too) . With Christmas so near as you say she is showing no mercy. I do hope you will cope well , I just know you will. I really want to wish you and yours the very best for Christmas and a happy HEALTHY 2019 💜💜💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brilliant Claire and so relatable, I know exactly how you feel! I have the mega guilts for not making my first Christmas pudding in years, I know that my family won’t mind but I just feel frustrated that I can no longer find the energy for everything that I used to! Hoping that you have a fab holiday xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am only just catching up, but thank you for reading and I am only sorry others find it relatable….but it is comforting to know we’re not alone and others “get it”! Hope you survived Christmas and have had a good time with the family – Happy and healthy New Year xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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