Yesterday was Christmas day 2009 - and I had a really bad day. I felt even worse than usual. I got sick every time my mom came in the room with me. (We think I was reacting to a herb she's been taking. Go figure.) I had a "Christmas dinner" of turkey and peas (mixed with a few tears). It didn't settle in my stomach very well.
I was reminded once again that for people with Environmental Illness, there are no holidays.
Most people look forward to the holidays as a break from their normal routine, time to be with family & friends, maybe doing special things like caroling, playing games, etc. Well, with E.I. there is no break from the 'normal routine' of being sick. This disease (like most diseases) never takes a day off. Being with family and friends is usually not an option unless they "de-fragrance" themselves radically (which isn't easy to do, let me tell you). And special activities take more energy than we, as E.I's usually have.
I'd like to say that after 5 years of this, I'm used to it and it doesn't bother me. But that wouldn't be true. I miss all the 'normal' Christmas activities, traditions, and fellowship. For some reason, the holidays are a like a slap in the face for someone with E.I. It's just another reminder that life as it used to be is gone, at least for now. If we're not careful, it's easy to start dreading holidays, simply becuase they remind of us all we've lost, all we miss.
Well, I imagine you're good and depressed for me now. =) I just wanted to share the reality of what it's like.
On the bright side, even during the difficult holidays, God's kindness is unfailing. (Ps. 18:50) In the middle of my very bad day yesterday, God sent me a Christmas text message from a friend, a cheering-up phone call from a friend with E.I., and a mom whose smile never ceases to brighten my day.
I think I'm learning that the secret to managing the holidays for those of us with E.I. (in addition to changing my expectations), is to focus on celebrating them in my heart, with or without all the wonderful things that usually accompany them.
If you know someone with E.I. remember that something as small as a text message, email or phone call, could make a big difference in helping them see God's kindness instead of focusing on all they're missing.
And may we all learn to be thankful every day that Jesus caame to earth as Immanuel - God WITH us!