When you live with a chronic illness, parties and socialising can be a challenge. Small talk, alcohol and standing up are all things that you will have to contend with. In recent years, I’ve avoided social situations, especially around the Christmas/ New Year period where people tend to drink excessively. I had to give up alcohol a few years ago due to my POTS. I wasn’t a big drinker to begin with and I do not miss it because why would I want to consume something that would make me even more dizzy than I already am?
Here a a few tips to help you navigate the festive season and NYE parties:
1 How to answer the dreaded ‘so what do you do?‘ question
If you’re at a party where you don’t know a lot of people, chances are that you’ll be asked the standard small talk question of ‘what do you do?‘ Of course, this is an easy question for a normal person to answer, but if you spend your days throwing up or waiting for the next doctor’s appointment it is not something that you want to discuss at a party. My polite response was always ‘I’m taking some time off right now‘ and then I would discuss some of the charity work that I do or my favourite hobby. If you’re brave, then you could always answer honestly. Unfortunately, in my experience, this can often make people uncomfortable, especially if you’ve just met them.
2 Managing people’s expectations around alcohol
People expect you to drink when you’re at a party and will often try and press a drink into your hand, even if you don’t want one. It’s your choice if you want to drink alcohol or not. There are many reasons why a person may not be drinking at a party. Not everyone who doesn’t drink has a medical condition. They could be driving later, they may not like alcohol or could even be a recovering alcoholic. If a person is pressuring you into drinking, then they probably aren’t someone that you want to be around anyway.
3 How to quash the standing around fear
Parties often have a lot of standing around. If that’s not something that you normally do, then don’t compromise your health for the sake of other people. Find a chair or use your mobility aid. If you’re unsure of the format of the event, contact the host beforehand to find out and let them know of your health requirements.
4 Don’t turn into a pumpkin
If staying out late isn’t your thing and you’re usually in bed by 8 pm, be like Cinderella and leave the party early. There’s no need to break from your usual routine during the festive season, especially if one party could leave you bedridden for a few days.
Parties are supposed to be fun and are a good way to meet new people. Contact the host beforehand to let them know of your dietary/ health requirements. They will want you to have a good time as well. If you don’t want to discuss your illness with a stranger, then you don’t have to.
What are you tips for enjoying parties as a Spoonie?
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