With Lupus, I'm forced to take care of myself. I have to stop and say no to others once in a while. As much as it hurts, I have to be firm with people or I'm not going to survive this. Because taking on my own responsibilities and this illness combined with helping others is just too overwhelming. Overdoing it with a chronic illness can be fatal.
But there's much more to it than that.
You see, before I found out I had Lupus, I was doing too much, even for a healthy person. So, even if I was completely healthy, all the stress I was bringing on myself wasn't good for me.
I was taking on too many of other people's problems. I was trying to be everything to everyone. It wasn't just bad for me, either. It was bad for the people that I was helping.
You see, something else Lupus has taught me about life is that struggles are just as important as triumphs. Likely more so. They build strength and character like nothing else can. Therefore, being “good” to people by solving their problems for them isn't really all that admirable.
So that Lupus stop sign isn't just important for me to obey. It's also good for everyone around me. Leaving them to solve their own problems may seem cruel, but it's actually just the opposite. Lupus isn't a death sentence, but it will likely shorten my time with them. That means they need to learn to handle their own problems without my help now, before they have no choice in the matter.
Lupus is a stop sign, but it's a helpful one. For everyone. Not just me.