Christmas – it’s often known as the ‘most wonderful time of the year’. It is also however, a stressful time of year, with all the preparations that need to be made – the presents, food, decorating the home and so on. Add living with a chronic illness to the mix and the stress is exponentially increased. The fatigue that often accompanies many different chronic conditions makes it very difficult to plan for Christmas, or even to feel the joyfulness of this time of year.
Whilst everyone is making lists of all the material goods that they wish to be under the tree come Christmas Day; we spoonies are wishing to be free of the debilitating symptoms that affect our whole life. Simply, we wish for a cure; a cure that will end the chronic illness in which we live, so we can live a normal life.
This year, however, whilst shopping with my carer for presents for my loved ones – parents, friends that have been there for me throughout the year, and of course my dog, made me very happy. It was then that I remembered the old adage ‘it is better to give than receive.’ And this is true, especially when living with a long-term chronic illness – Christmas allows us the opportunity to give back to those who are there for us everyday of the rest of the year. The presents we give, of course, do not have to be expensive, but they are simple small token of thanks for everything that they do for us.
Speaking to my close loved ones, they often speak of the helplessness they feel; they are not able to take away the hurt, upset and anguish that accompanies chronic illness, and as much as they wish they could cure me they obviously are not able to do so. However, instead they do what they can; they offer to help in the ways that make my life easier such as taking me to places that I need to go, be there for hospital appointments, do the little chores that I cannot do, as well as doing the little things that lifts my mood such as buying me chocolate or putting on my favourite film, and during holidays such as Christmas buying me little gifts to cheer me up as well giving me things that are practical.
Therefore, being able to give presents at this time of year, makes me very happy that I am able to do something, even if it is a small token of gratitude, and give back to those who give so much to help me throughout the entire year.
After all, isn’t giving to others encompasses the spirit of Christmas?