Putting my health first
As its Invisible Disability Awareness Week I thought that I would have a few days talking about topics that I didn’t think of before being diagnosed with an invisible illness. I thought I’d start off very broadly talking about how I put my own health first before anything.
I realised in college when I had to drop out that maybe it was time to descale and put myself first as my health was not great. It took some getting used to, I found that I’d still agree to plans that I wasn’t 100% happy about doing, for example going along somewhere to help someone do something when I wasn’t feeling great, really added to the strain on my body.
I found that I had to become selfish which was the first step in helping myself. I had to learn to say no, no to taking on new projects, no to helping people with things and no to fun things for a while. Putting my health first meant I was and am isolated a lot of the time but I do find that an online presence really does help combat that feeling. I find the communities on instagram and twitter of other spoonies really does help me feel so much less alone. I always tried to limit my time on social media as I felt seeing other people’s lives as able-bodied people really filled me with envy so I simply decluttered my following list. I unfollowed every person who didn’t make me feel happy or who’s posts bored me and I found that that really helped me get sucked into the full “social media black hole” a lot less. I wanted to come off of social media completely but I realised that interacting with people in the same or similar circumstances as me really did uplift me and if I couldn’t go out and socialise, I may as well do it online.
The next thing I had to teach myself was to accept help. I have always been so independent from even my days as a toddler so it was hard to unlearn my very DIY behaviour. Learning that the people around me are there to help and support me really did benefit me for the better but I still to this day find it hard to ask for help even though I know it’s there. A lot of the time I want to test the waters and see if I can do something before asking for help but a lot of the time that’s not a great idea. Do as I say and not as I do and all that.
The last point I’d like to talk about is investing in comforts or mobility aids. I invested in a few things other the last few months that have made things like mobility, sleep and pain so much better. I understand investing in all of these things would rack up a large bill but what I done was invest in one each month to make things a little easier on my bank balance. The first thing I got was a mattress topper, this transformed my mattress which was already great, to sleeping on a cloud. I got mine in Argos and you can find it here (link is included in word here). Next up was an electric blanket, I got mine in August which at the end of Summer felt a bit silly but it really has helped so much for days where I can’t get any heat in me or days where my muscles and bones are sore. You can find one similar to the one I got here (link is included in word here). I found that buying things like blankets and throws really uplifted my feelings towards my room, as I’m always in it I really started to hate it, so buying a few warm throws really helped to make it more of a cosy room and less like a cave. Shower stools and sticks are great investments too, I got mine from my occupational therapist so they were on the NHS but walkingsticks.co.uk have some actually rather beautiful walking sticks. Shower stools can be bought yet again in trusty Argos here (link is included in word here) they’re fantastic for preserving energy or helping you get washed when standing is not an option.
To sum things up it’s all about listening to your body and making your biggest priority yourself to ultimately make things a bit better for you. I hope this post helped at least one person.