This weekend was good, but hectic as my family from all over the Country came in to see my sister graduate from Sacred Heart Academy High School, the same high school that I graduated from five years ago! Graduation day was both emotional and stressful for my sister and I, but we got through it and the ceremony was beautiful. What I learned over the last few days is in this picture below:
This is not my own picture. However, my sister received a book for her graduation called Fight On with beautiful quotes inside, and this was one of them. This quote can describe my entire weekend through monday (graduation day). Our house seemed to shrink three sizes when our family from out of town came in to stay with us. It was a great opportunity to see everyone and gather together, which is something that we do not do often. However, I did learn some things about myself through this experience, as well.
you are allowed to say no…really? YES! You are! It was difficult for me to keep up with everyone because of my illness. In fact, it was impossible for me to keep up with what everyone else was doing. I learned that I really have to pace myself and pick and choose the activities that I want and need to do. I had to figure out when it was appropriate to say “no” to certain activities to conserve my energy. If I did everything that my family did the day of my sister’s graduation, I would not have been able to ATTEND the graduation. But because I learned to say “no”, I had enough strength to attend the most important event.
you are allowed to let go…Over the past couple of days, I realized that I didnt have to be “anxiety free”, and I did not have to hold in my anxiety and my feelings. I tend to be a very private person, but my family is so caring and wonderful and they WANT to help me. I realized that it is okay to show vulnerability, especially around the people who love and care about you.
you are allowed to protect yourself…Yes, it is fine to be vulnerable and share your feelings with others. That being said, it is also okay to ‘protect yourself and your feelings’ when you are feeling overstimulated. There were times over the weekend where I just needed a break; I needed to get away because there was so much going on all around me and I felt overwhelmed. My room is a safe place for me, so it is okay to go to your safe place and take breaks from chaos when needed. Some people need to do that to recharge, and I am one of those people. There is nothing wrong with taking some time for yourself to protect yourself from certain situations which make you tired, uncomfortable, or emotional.
you are allowed to enjoy yourself…This is one of the most important lessons that I learned over the last four days. Was I able to keep up with everyone else and do all of the things that my family was doing? No…but that doesnt mean that I am useless, worthless, less important, and not as deserving. Even though I am limited due to my illnesses, that does not mean that I am not allowed to enjoy myself whenever I have the opportunity. I went out twice while my family was here: the first time we went to see Pitch Perfect 2, and the second was for my sister’s graduation. I remember being so worried and concerned about using my walker in public and in front of my family. I worried about how I looked, how inconvenient it might be, and the list could go on and on. Looking back on it now, I should not have let myself worry so much about my walker. In the end, the movie was hilarious and the graduation was lovely. I can enjoy myself with or without my limitations-they do not have to define me and they do not have the power to say whether or not I can have a good time.
you are allowed to put yourself first…really? But this gathering wasn’t about me, it was about my sister! Well, that is okay. Just because this reunion was not about me does not mean that I should not listen to my body and do what it is telling me to do. If I hadn’t taken naps and stayed home from certain events that my family went to I would not have even been able to attend the most important event of them all: My sister’s graduation. There were times where I HAD to put myself first, because if I didn’t my body would collapse or I would get over tired. We can only do so much, and now I am learning that I have to be smart about what I allow myself to do.
So my point is this: say no if you really want to, let go if you really need to, protect yourself when it is necessary, enjoy yourself whenever you can, and put yourself first.
Have a wonderful day lovelies and stay strong < 3