Lupus effects our relationships with different areas of our life. Each relationship requires energy. Despite the requirement for energy, which we may perceive not to have, positive relationships reenergize. And contrary to popular belief, we have control over these relationships.
Our Relationship with Our Self
It’s essential to develop a relationship with our self. Lupus creates an opportunity to learn about our physical, mental, and spiritual self – a skill many never develop. It forces us to know our bodies – limitations, perceptions, and what helps and hurts. We are continually working to establish this skill, however, we all have it. I assume we have all discussed our health with professionals, friends, or family. The same skills – reflection and communication, for example, are needed to get to know our mental and spiritual self. We have the tools to evaluate our mental and spiritual limitations, boundaries, and perceptions, and what they mean. This is the foundation for positive relationships with others.
Our Relationships with Family, Friends, Colleagues and Acquaintances
A friend once asked why I cancelled plans due to fatigue but spent time with a less intimate friend the day before. I responded – “every day is different” – though it didn’t sit well. The truth was that I used sparse energy with someone who didn’t provide anything back. It has been humbling to determine what and who reenergizes me. Who is worth my energy? Who provides energy for a happier and healthier life? What situations and reactions take precious energy and which provide positive reassurance and support? Though we cope with relationships differently, I ask that we consider the consequences of negative energy on our health and well-being. Positive relationships can be like the “energy pill” we’ve been asking for. Would you miss that prescription if prescribed by your doctor?
Our Relationships with Our Community
Navigating our communities with Lupus is exhausting. Many communities are not set up for those with health issues. Strong relationships with ourselves and others can help us navigate our community. Strong personal relationships empower us to become advocates and, when lacking tools to problem solve, provide support to point us in the right direction. I encourage you to utilize the strengths of your relationship with yourself and others to make the most of experiences as a member of a community. Those who have been successful in this, experience enlightenment they may not have experienced without their diagnosis.
By Liz Morasso, Licensed Clinical Social Worker