July 14th is Bastille Day. It also happens to be my birthday.
I love all things French so I quite like sharing my birthday with such an important national day of celebration and remembrance for France.
It is the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille and the start of the French Revolution.
So What Is A Bastillion?
A bastillion is a fortress. The Bastille was a fortress used by French kings to imprison subjects who didn’t agree with them politically. It represented a place of oppression and captivity.
Bastille Day represents breaking free from such oppression.
As I think about living with chronic illness, we can so easily feel like we are in prison. The restrictions placed on us physically can become a fortress, a bastillion.
Special occasions or events can escalate the feeling of being a prisoner in our own bodies, our own homes.
I could allow my own physical bastillion to spoil my birthday, or I could take a leaf out of the French book and take decisive action.
Breaking Free From The Bastille
Anyone with severe disabilities and chronic disease could easily be excused from trying to celebrate a birthday.
Any activity, outside of a well oiled routine, takes so much out of us. So much planning is required to achieve anything out of the ordinary.
Of course even the best planned strategies can turn pear shaped. A disease flare can destroy all hope of being able to move, let alone celebrate.
These are not excuses, they are realities.
However, these realities can cause us to be constantly trapped in our very own chronic illness bastillion. If we are not careful we will just stop trying to make anything special.
No one wants to be in prison. Certainly not a chronic illness sufferer. Life is hard enough as it is.
Seeking the joy in life, no matter how simple, is absolutely crucial if we want to maintain some level and sense of well being.
So how can we break free from our chronic illness Bastillion, especially when we want to celebrate a birthday?
Leading A Birthday Revolution
Let’s start with a few basic facts:
♡ A Birthday is just once a year;
♡ It’s important…you were born and your life is worth celebrating;
♡ It can be a simple occasion, it can even be a quiet day;
♡ You can set the agenda….It’s your day after all.
So what happens if you are just too unwell on the day?
Quite likely that will happen so here’s how I approach my birthday:
♡ I have a birthday month. Once July 1st hits, I take the opportunity to do special things as able. They range from cofffe and cake out with my husband or a day out in the country if possible. Morning or afternoon tea with special friends (on a day other than my actual birthday).
(This year COVID-19 has impacted our lives greatly, and added an extra layer of celebration challenges for a chronic illness sufferer, who is already living with major restrictions on a daily basis.)
♡ I buy a few little birthday gifts online throughout the month. Little treats that bring joy but don’t burst the budget. As they arrive in the mail, each parcel offers some birthday pleasure and excitement.
♡ I limit medical appointments. I want to focus on life and nice things. If I’m not critically ill, I can deal with health issues next month. It’s like having a holiday and it’s a wonderful birthday gift.
♡ I don’t plan anything specific for my actual birthday. My husband always has presents, a birthday cake and often a surprise, like pretty balloons to spoil me. There are lovely phone calls, texts and messages from family and friends to also make the day feel extra special.
♡ No plans on the day makes it so much more relaxing. The stress of worrying about disappointing others because you have to cancel plans, is just completely removed. You feel so free. Nothing bastillion or prison like about the day at all.
♡ If you happen to wake up on your actual birthday and find you are having a good day…you can make the most of it. Adhock plans can be so much fun. Just make sure you have a rest day planned the next day and probably the day after. With careful planning you can really push the boundaries on your birthday if you feel you can and want to.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20 v 4 NIV
Hopes For A Happy Birthday
Given our diseases work hard at making us prisoners in our own bodies, it’s vitally important we don’t add to those prison bars. Setting unrealistic goals and making definite plans for the day, will likely end in disappointment and tears. It’s supposed to be a happy day. We need to do our best to make it that. We owe it to ourselves, not anyone else.
Breaking free from a birthday bastillion will definitely have a better chance of resulting in a “Happy Birthday”.
Being brave to do things differently, on terms that work for you……that’s the revolution required.
It takes a change of mindset and if you are used to big birthday celebrations, letting others know well in advance how you need and intend to spend your special day, is vitally important. The earlier loved ones know your new way of celebrating, the better opportunity they have to get their heads around the change to your previous way of celebrating.
I might just indulge in a croissant today, as a nod to my love of all things French, and as a symbol of my resolve to break free from a birthday bastillion.
Please excuse me as I log off for a while, to spend time with my husband and celebrate my birthday, simply and specially, in French style 🎂🎉🍾
WEGO Health Award Announcement
Firstly I want to thank those who nominated me for three #WEGOHealthAwards for 2020. I am so honoured and grateful as this is an amazing opportunity to raise awareness of my Facebook Support Forum, Medical Musings with Friends , and reach out to more people in need of genuine care and support.
So, now I’m nominated my goal is to become a finalist, particularly in the Best in Show: Community Award category.
The link below will allow you to click “Endorse” my nominations, which is the way the voting system works in the WEGO Health Awards.
You will see you can Endorse me for one, two, or three categories. Once you click the Endorse button it takes you to another screen where you choose which award nomination you are endorsing:
- Best in Show: Community
- Best in Show: Blog
- Health Care Collaborator
Thank you so much for your support, not just of me but for my forum and for helping me spread the word about Medical Musings with Friends.
If I can reach more people in need, as a result of these nominations, I will be absolutely delighted.
Sam xx 💞💞
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women