One thing I know I am not alone with is having the ability to say No to something despite desperately wanting to do whatever it is but knowing you just shouldn’t because it will have a detrimental effect on your breathing.
One part of me finds it easy to say No. But its only easy to say No when you really don’t feel great. When all you want to do is curl up and sleep or watch TV or read a book because your chest aches, and you are exhausted beyond imagination. Its very easy to say No then.
But when you feel pretty good how do you rationalise things and know what to say No to. How do you know what is worth not saying No to and when its just not worth it. It is the times when you are sitting in your living room feeling fairly good- but this feeling is because you are sitting and you are not exerting yourself, or pushing through barriers which may cause you issues with breathing or pain.
I guess I thought about this post when I was having a trip down memory lane and came across photos where I used to act before I would think. I would have fun, I would push my body and deal with the consequences after. I didnt think about the angst I probably put people through, I was not wanting my health stop me from doing things and really I didnt want to miss out on what I thought was important events which I now look back on and realise they really were not that important and were things that were not essential to my health and well being.
This was a time in my life where I didnt say No ever. I am not sure how much I thought about making decisions. I think I always said yes! I had fun doing things but would life be different now if I had the maturity to say No??
Im not sure life would be different physically. My asthma I don’t think would be any different or my health any better if I had said No. But looking back at the photos I do wish I had been able to say No as I can see myself as not very well, thin and tired looking despite trying my hardest to just be a student. I was so worried I would be missing out on something. Thinking now Im not sure what I thought I would miss out on- maybe fun and games and no doubt a killer hangover something which I can now say No to.
Maturity has taught me it is ok to say No. Your friends won’t leave you behind. The true friends will include you in things even when you don’t feel great. They will understand how you are feeling and won’t press you to do things. I think I was so worried about missing out in the past that I just forced myself to do things. Now I know that missing out on somethings is worth it in the long run as you can do the things that are really important and the occasions you really don’t want to miss- such as weddings or events such a lacrosse things etc.
It is a balancing act and does take strength to acknowledge that you can’t do everything. There are somethings that are really important. To me work is important, being involved in AUKCAR is important to me, being involved in Scotland Lacrosse is important to me too which is why I have decided to give up somethings which I thought were really important but are not in the scheme of things. I am not going to be doing club lacrosse this year as I have been part of the club for the last 5 years but I do hope I will still be stringing sticks as this is something I love doing and something I can do no matter how I am feeling!!! I am also prioritising AUKCAR over other bits and pieces.
I know there will be times where I won’t be able to say No but if I can rationalise why I can’t say No and if the risks are worth it then maybe it is ok to say Yes.
Here are some of the photos which prompted me to write this post!
This was playing football for my old university. I think I had just fouled someone but after this match I ended up in hospital with my asthma.
A night out at University. Just having fun and being a student. Trying to forget about all my worries!
My 21st birthday or near it. The effects of steroids starting to show but it was good times!
Good times will always have happy memories and I am sure there will be more good times to follow but I hope they won’t have the consequences that some of these times had. One day asthma maybe better understood and there may even be a cure. Until then making choices will be part of life and weighing up how you feel but always remembering it is ok to say No. I now ask myself is it better to miss out on something that may only be a few hours of good time or risk having a good time and then lose weeks due to being in hospital and then time off work etc when you end up missing more things than you would have if you just said No in the first place.
Its a tough one and one that everyone who has a chronic medical condition will face. Do you say yes or do you say no. Remember its ok to say no and think of yourself.