For the right kind of person, lupus naps won’t be an inconvenience

How I appreciate a partner who accepts all of me, my illness included

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by Kristiana Page |

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It’s Sunday. Today consisted of getting up just before midday, eating leftover soup, watching “The Big Bang Theory,” and baking an apple cake and banana bread. After I wandered upstairs midafternoon, my partner, Felix, asked what I wanted to do. My answer wasn’t an indicator of what I wanted to do, but what I needed to do: nap.

At that moment, he reminded me exactly why I love him. He didn’t so much as bat an eyelid at my response. He made no remarks, no complaints, and no eye-rolls. Instead, he settled in to make himself comfortable, and then with my head on his shoulder, we drifted off to sleep.

This scene isn’t uncommon for me, especially lately. In the past month, I quit my full-time job to pursue something new. Changing careers has made a world of difference to my mental health. But while I’m visibly and undeniably happier, the change in routine has wreaked havoc on my energy levels, which already are taxed by my lupus.

I know it won’t be like this forever. But at least for the short term, a midafternoon kip (a nap for us in Australia) to combat fatigue is more often than not going to be in the cards.

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Since the start of our relationship, I’ve spent many a Sunday afternoon sleeping beside Felix. Sometimes he uses the time to catch up on games, and sometimes he naps with me. But my sleep is never a hindrance to him; he never frames it as a negative. It’s just like any other part of our routine, like watching movies, playing video games, or cooking. My napping is just another thing, another color of building block, that makes up our life together.

Throughout my journey, I’ve learned a few things. One of them is that someone is either capable of loving you or they aren’t. In my experience, you can’t teach someone to love you the exact way that you need. It’s all about their attitude. And in Felix’s case, his attitude is everything.

He’s never made me feel like my life with lupus is an inconvenience. Nothing is ever too much for him to handle or too hard for him to process. It’s simply a part of loving me. When I present him with something new about my health, he approaches the unknown with inquiry and genuine curiosity. There’s never any fear. His main concern is me.

His love has made me reevaluate my life quite heavily. After my diagnosis, I looked at my future and could only imagine the burden I’d be to anyone who chose to love me. I’d never considered that the right kind of person would never worry about such things.

Felix is unlike anyone I’ve met before. He’s my best friend, my greatest supporter, and the love of my life. I’m more certain of that than I’ve been of anything else. Morning after morning, I wake up, open my eyes, and look at him, only to have the same epiphany: “Wow. This is my life!”

I didn’t “fall” in love with him; the past tense doesn’t feel accurate. It’s been well over a year now, and I’ve yet to feel like I’ve completed the fall. I’m still falling in love with him. Every day he not only gives me new reasons to love him, but new reasons to love myself — every part of myself. I’m blessed to know someone who knows me so wholly.

That’s not to say that our relationship is perfect, but we do love each other genuinely and consciously — which, to my mind, is much more wonderful than perfect.

There’s nothing quite like being accepted exactly for who you are, with all your limitations and flaws. It’s a special feeling to sheepishly present the most difficult parts of yourself to someone and have them love you more. Beyond acceptance and love, that’s belonging — and it’s what we all long for.

Life is short, and love takes work. Find someone who wants to do their share of the heavy lifting no matter how complex, difficult, or messy the situation. To the right person, to someone like Felix, a nap will never seem like a waste of time or an inconvenience.

Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.