The idea of celebrations can be daunting as a spoonie, trying to make plans that you’ll be able to cope with and then building up the energy to be able to do this coping in the weeks prior to the celebration, not to mention having to cross everything and hope that your body will be in the mood to cooperate at that time. It’s stressful, unpredictable and difficult to plan an event that others will love, whilst knowing that it’ll not be overwhelming to you and your extra sensitive senses, nobody wants to be in sensory overload in the middle of their birthday party! So, how do you plan to celebrate things like birthdays when your body rebels against everything you do? That is what I’m here to help you with.
Ten days ago, April 21st, I celebrated my 21st birthday. An event that I had been thinking about for months, trying to come up with a way to celebrate that I would enjoy, but also wouldn’t put me in bed for months after. After lots of discussion and many mind changes, I finally came up with a plan that worked for everyone and although it would be tiring, wouldn’t make me really sick or be able to hospitalise me. As this took many months and lots of frustration, I thought I’d give some advice to others who need to plan something to suit a spoonie.
- Spread plans out. I decided to separate my actual birthday, family celebrations and friend celebrations, instead of having one huge party. My actual birthday was quiet, yet wonderful. I spent time with Jack, my parents, my best friend and then was able to go to bed at 6pm as I was exhausted. I then had until 6pm the following night to build myself up for a small, quiet ice cream party with my family and family friends. It was wonderful! I was then able to have an entire week to recover before celebrating with friends over food and drinks the following Saturday. I was able to enjoy each part of my celebrations and although I have spent a lot of time in bed or resting following this, they haven’t entirely destroyed my already broken body!
- Let someone else take on the planning stress. This is a huge thing to do to avoid being exhausted before you even get to the event. I was very lucky to not even have to ask for someone to do this for me, apart from choosing a date, time, place and who I wanted to invite, I didn’t have to get involved in any party planning. My mum organised the venue, decorations and cake for my first party, allowing me to just turn up, eat lots of ice cream and cake, and then my wonderful friend Irene-Ann took on the organising of the next one. She handled the booking, ordering of the cake and collecting of the cake, again allowing me to just focus on being well enough to turn up and enjoy myself. This is something I am incredibly grateful for.
- Keep things small. Just because it’s a celebration doesn’t mean it has to be an elaborate event, simple and small is way more practical and enjoyable. Being able to do three little things made everything a lot more manageable for my torture chamber.
- Give yourself time to recover. The biggest part of planning anything for me is to plan plenty of free time in the weeks after an event. It’s inevitable that whatever plans you do manage to make will affect your body a lot when the fun is over. Allow yourself time to recover fully, the celebration will definitely be worth the resting, meds taking and extra sleeping you may have to deal with after.
I successfully navigated my 21st birthday by choosing to celebrate with family and family friends and my friends, separately, something I would definitely suggest doing if you want to avoid totally overwhelming yourself and allow yourself to enjoy each moment of the occasion.
What tips have you got for managing to make the most of an occasion without facing the wrath of payback from your body?
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