This is not super-eloquent/elegant, but whatever, tumblr is a place where I let myself think out loud in a drafty way and don’t worry so much about ~~~craft~~~ as it were:
I have an old friend (we’ve been friends for roughly a decade, and we also lived together for 4 years) who is also chronically ill and broke. We are both people who sometimes have trouble feeding ourselves consistently when we are sick/tired/exhausted. This is unfortunately pretty common for people with fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue: You’re exhausted or in a brain fog or in hella pain or on Day 8 of a flu that never ends, and you forget to eat, and then forgetting to eat means more exhaustion/brain fog, and then it all kinda does a stupid dangerous dance, and then hours later you realize you’ve had, like, half a sandwich or a taco or some yogurt or a banana over a 12-24 hour span. Also, for me, as someone with an eating disorder history (and esp. as someone with a history of restrictive eating disorders), this can get really gnarly really fast. :/
So. Something that me & my friend like to do together when we both have the energy/health is to cook big meals and then share them. I mean BIG meals, enough to fill up both of our freezers. He has a car and a big kitchen, and I have an EBT card and tupperware. We go shopping together (I usually take care of the groceries since he doesn’t have EBT, but he is broke, and he is also doing the driving and providing the kitchen). And then we go back to his place, and cook up pots and pots of delicious things, and divide it all up. Then we both have easy, nutritious food in our freezers for the days that we’re too sick/pained/exhausted to cook.
Now, don’t get me wrong — I fucking L.O.V.E. to cook when I have the spoons for it, and I esp. love to cook for/with ALL of my friends. But: It feels particularly special and important to have this ritual around food, caring for myself, and caring for other people with another chronically ill person.
Because the hardest thing for me about living with a chronic illness, hands down, is how deeply fucking isolating and lonely it can get. When I am in a bad fibro flare, it is not uncommon for me to go for days (sometimes weeks) on end without seeing people, stuck in a tiny studio apartment with nothing but my phone and the internet for company. That can make a person’s (okay, I Statements: it makes my) Crazytown get hella activated hella fucking fast.
Point being, it means a lot to get to connect around chronic illness with another person, in a way that feels good and positive and supportive and constructive. It feels good to have a way to contribute to helping each other out.
Sometimes, when you are sick and struggling, and your friend is sick and struggling, it can be hard to know what to do. It can be hard to know how to help when your resources are limited. It can be hard to remember how to be your best & kindest self.
And this cooking that I do with my friend is one of the ways that I am my best & kindest self, and one of the ways that he is his best & kindest self, even when we are both sick. It is a reminder that I have support and that I can be support, even when I am not doing so hot. I can look in my freezer on a bad pain day and remember when we cooked that last batch of mostaccioli, and it helps me remember that I’m not as alone as I might think I am. And that when I’m feeling better, there’s more cooking to be done.