No More Sorrys: Living Unapologetically with Lupus
Are you tired of apologizing for things that are completely out of your control? Well, you're not alone! On this lupus journey, I have spent way too much time saying sorry. I've apologized for being too tired to go out. Even said sorry for having to cancel plans due to a flare-up. The worst one I apologized for was for just existing with this annoying disease. But I've had enough! No more saying sorry for me. I had to take back my power and stop apologizing for having lupus.
So, grab your favorite lupus-friendly snack (mine is definitely not kale chips) and let's get into it!
Living with lupus
Living with lupus can be challenging physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, I know many of us with lupus feel guilty or ashamed of it. This leads to us wanting to apologize for having lupus to others. However, it is essential to remove guilt, shame, and apologies for being sick. Let's explore why it is important not to apologize to others for having lupus.
No more apologizing
Firstly, I had to learn quickly that lupus is not my fault. It is a chronic illness that I did not choose to have. I cannot control my immune system attacking my body. I know I didn't cause lupus by my actions or lifestyle choices. Therefore, I had to realize there was no reason to apologize for being sick. Apologizing implies that I have done something wrong or that I am at fault for my condition. We all know that is not the case!
Have you ever apologized for having lupus?
Furthermore, apologizing for having lupus perpetuated a harmful mindset in me. I always felt like I was acknowledging that I did something wrong. That I caused lupus harm to myself or others. By apologizing for my illness, I kind of began to imply that my lupus was harmful to others. For me, feelings of guilt and shame inundated me. But, I have found those emotions were not productive or healthy emotions to hold onto.
Moreover, my apologizing has led to misunderstandings about lupus. Many people still don’t understand what lupus is. They have no clue as to how it affects us daily. By apologizing, I was reinforcing the misconception that lupus is something that can be controlled or changed. Or that it is something that isn't serious. I’ve found this led to others blaming me for my illness. They then expected me to "just get over it." It has been so much easier to educate others about lupus instead of apologizing for it.
Prioritizing my health
Finally, I realized how important it was to prioritize my own health and well-being over other people's perceptions. In my apologies, I was really putting others' feelings before my own. Oftentimes feeling pressure to hide my symptoms. To downplay the impact of lupus on my life to avoid making others uncomfortable. However, this led to me neglecting my health. it forced me to push myself way too hard. This made my symptoms even worse. After self-review, I knew how crucial it is to prioritize self-care and communicate needs to others instead of apologizing.
Shifting my mindset
So, how did I shift my mindset and stop apologizing for having lupus? Here are some tips that I have learned that have helped me:
- I educated myself about lupus. The more I understood about my condition and how lupus affected me, the better equipped I was to explain it to others and advocate for myself.
- I looked for support from others with lupus. Talking to others who are going through similar experiences was incredibly empowering and validating.
- I practiced self-compassion and grace. It was important for me to remember that my illness was not my fault, and I deserved to prioritize my health and well-being.
- I communicated my needs to others. Instead of apologizing, I became assertive about what I needed and how others could support me.
- I began to educate others about lupus. I began to use my experiences to raise awareness and educate others about what it means to live with lupus.
Trade apologies for assertiveness
Instead of apologizing for having lupus, I have learned to be assertive about my needs. I began to ask for a break at work and requesting accommodations. Sometimes it was as simple as saying no to plans that didn't work for me. When I communicated my needs clearly and confidently it was an amazing feeling. Doing this helped to ensure that I was taking care of myself and avoiding unnecessary stress and flare-ups.
In conclusion, it is important to remove guilt, shame, and apologies for being sick. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that is not our fault, and we don’t need to feel like we need to apologize for it. By shifting our mindset and prioritizing self-care, we can empower ourselves and educate others about what it means to live with lupus.
So, I scream, let's ditch the apologies and embrace grace, self-care, and communication. After all, we're warriors battling a chronic illness, and we deserve to live our lupus lives on our terms. I choose to focus on what I can control, prioritize my health and well-being, and educate others about what it means to live with lupus. And who knows, maybe one day we'll even get a t-shirt that says, "I have lupus, and I'm not sorry about it!" We may even be able to let everyone know I am not saying sorry anymore because I'm living unapologetically with lupus.
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