The holiday gatherings turned into a source of misery, a reminder of a distant life that a Lyme sufferer can’t no longer enjoy.
Battling Lyme, chronic fatigue, depression, pain and so on, leaves one drained, with no desire whatsoever to attend a social gathering.
Though it doesn’t mean that things have to stay this way or there is nothing that you can’t do about it. That being said, here are twelve tips on how you can make your friend(s) or family member(s) overcome the pain of isolation at holiday time:
- Run errands. Ask if they need any help with his Christmas shopping list. You can either volunteer to take them around or to do the shopping for them. Keep in mind that texting is a less invasive way of communication. Rest assured that your text message is being seen, even if you do not get an instant reply. Take it from a Lymie, it always feels good and it brightens my day to see my friends care about me and how I feel.
- Offer to prepare a meal. Prior to cooking, ensure you are aware of the dietary restrictions. There are plenty of healthy recipes online for Lyme. Also delivering it in person once or twice a week, gives you a chance to chat face to face and brighten their day. It does not have to be a long visit.
- Volunteer to babysit the kids (if it is the case) for a few hours or take the pets out for a walk. That would offer your friend(s) or loved one(s) a chance to rest or do something for themselves. They would definitely appreciate your offer.
- Offer house cleaning services. Offer your services for their Xmas house cleaning or doing /folding the laundry. What it might look like a simple house chore to you, requires a huge amount of effort from a Lymie. Attending to household duties can be exhausting when you are fighting chronic fatigue, pain, etc.
- Invite them over for Xmas. Holidays are tough and stressful period for anyone who suffers from a chronic illness. You certainly don’t want your friend(s) to feel alone and depressed on Xmas. Generally Lyme sufferers tend to isolate themselves from the world. They feel left out because they can’t relate to the normality of others.
- Accommodate for a special nutritional plan or diet. In most of the cases, Lymies follow a strict diet which does not include any of the dishes you are regularly planning to serve for Xmas. Your friend will certainly appreciate your efforts of preparing some delicious food according to their diet for them. Note that it takes a lot of effort and self-discipline to see others stuffing themselves with all the forbidden goodies, while they are on a very strict diet.
- Serve sugar-free beverages and sweets. When you are doing your groceries, buy some green tea, natural juices, non-alcoholic drinks, bottled water because they won’t be having alcohol. Also get some dairy sugar-free ice cream for the Xmas evening feast. Try making a new gluten-free dessert using Stevia!
- Provide a resting space. Ensure you have a resting area available, in case they feel overwhelmed or exhausted. Standing, sitting too long or even a long conversation can knock them down for the entire day or even longer. Remember that people with chronic illness have limited energy.
- Act normal in their presence. Do not be overly polite or try too hard to make them feel better. Don’t avoid topics related to Lyme, as if you are walking on eggshells. They don’t need pity. That type of attitude might get them annoyed.
- Educate your guests. Let your guests know in advance that your Lymie friend(s) will be present and ensure they will not bombard them with questions about Lyme, or mention a comment such as “ You look fine, you don’t look sick!”.
- Prepare some take away casseroles for them because they won’t be feeling like cooking. You will save them the pain of spending time cooking in the kitchen.
- Be direct about the Xmas gift. Ask bluntly what they need and don’t take no for an answer. Leave politeness and shyness aside. Most of the Lymies speak their mind because they are literally too tired to play games. The gift can be anything, from vitamins, supplements, whatever thats need. It will be more appreciated than another trinket or something that won’t bring any direct benefit. When fighting chronic fatigue, a Lymie doesn’t have a lot of energy left. Address the gift issue directly and go for it!