“I got your Facebook invitation the other day. You know, the event invitation you shared with me an a lot of other friends. The party/show/gathering sounds like so much fun, and I am so excited and want to support your birthday/engagement/rite of passage with you. It meant a lot to me when you texted/called/told me in person that you especially wanted me there, that it wouldn’t be the same without me.
“I took those words to heart.
“Here’s the thing, _______. I deal with a couple of chronic health conditions, psoriatic arthritis and migraine disease. Generally speaking, my symptoms are under control and I manage my health pretty well. You know I work a lot of hours at my business, and on the side I do some writing and editing gigs. My work keeps me pretty busy, but I don’t want it take over my waking hours. To the best of my ability (which hasn’t been too tremendous lately), I try to make time for my family—that includes my parents, my sister, my partner, and even my cat. I also try to balance social time with dear friends (like you!) with much-needed quiet/alone time with myself.
“To compare it to a simple juggling act would be doing myself a disservice. It’s more like a juggling act performed on a tightrope where the tightrope walker has one eye blindfolded and is also balancing a basket of fruit on her head or something. If any one piece of this ridiculous puzzle is thrown off, the whole act falls apart. The fruit tumbles off the performer’s head, the girl falls off the rope, and all the balls being juggled tumble to the ground. It’s nearly impossible for just one thing to go off-kilter without the entire operation crumbling to a halt.
“When I sleep well, eat and exercise regularly, avoid triggers, take care of my stress levels, and pay attention to my body’s cues, I can maintain this circus act pretty well. It’s when unexpected factors emerge (say, a huge storm complete with drops in barometric pressure) or I expose myself to triggers (staying up way too late, eating food that I can’t tolerate, ignoring my body when it tells me to take a break, and the like) that I end up sick.
“I really care about you, and I want so much to be at your get-together. But you should know that my chance of NOT attending almost always outweigh the chance of attending. If I end up not going, it has nothing to do with how much I like you or want to be there—it has everything to do with needing to maintain balance in my life in order to be as healthy as possible. That said, I’ll do everything I can to be there on your special night, and I want to be there no matter what.
“Despite my health, you are dear to me, and I hope you know that’s true.
With love, ________”