20 Things You Know To Be True When You Have A Chronic Illness

woman holding hands over face and hair

By Alisa Briguglio.

With all the anger and frustration around the world from everyone, a little laughter can go a long way. Especially in the life of someone with chronic illness and pain. Maybe our loved ones and doctors don’t realize that humor is possibly the best medicine for us… along with treatment, of course. Also, sometimes everyone around us do not realize how hurtful “normal” words or phrases can effect us. My point with this story is not only to shed light on chronic illness but to laugh a little, learn a little and maybe everyone else will see our side of it, too.

Now satellites up in the sky can see you naked anytime, and the anchorman on the TV screen will crack a smile at a tragedy. And I still don’t know just where we’re going to go. You’ve got to be free to understand and feel the little things. And is it just me who swears that life is just a simple melody?

If life has taught me anything, it’s that it’s all about the little things.

1.  “Well, it could be worse. You could have [insert ‘non-invisible’ disease here]…” Are you trying to cheer me up? Because that is not helpful.

2. I have an idea: The next time someone says “But you don’t look sick” or “You look fine to me,” hand them your medical bills.

3. If there is one good thing about chronic illness, it’s that you have awesome pajamas!

4. That awkward moment when you have your pill container in front of you, but your pills are either too big to fit in them or you have too many for each day’s slot.

5. When you’re not sure what’s more exhausting: The pain, hiding the pain or trying to explain the pain.

6. When the insurance form says, “Describe your overall heath.” Laugh uncontrollably.

7. Doctor asks: “Rate your pain on a scale of one to 10.” 257.

8. Can chronic illness Monopoly be a thing? Because I could sure use a “get out of flare card” right about now.

9. My secret talent is getting tired after rolling out of bed.

10. You know you’ve had a chronic illness for a long time when you’ve successfully mastered the ability to distinguish your medications in the dark.

11. When you have to cut a pill in half: Is today a big half day or a small half day?

12. Spoonies unite! But maybe like, tomorrow. If we’re up for it… and the weather is OK… and there are no stairs involved… and there’s accessible parking. On second thought, maybe we should just Skype… after a nap.

13. Doctor: “You need to treat the source of your anxiety, not the symptoms.” Me: “The ‘source’ is my disability. You know, the one you diagnosed.”

14. I am not an early bird or night owl. I am some sort of permanently exhausted pigeon.

15. You know what, I am “faking it.” I’m faking feeling good. I’m faking this smile. And most importantly, I’m faking that I believe [this doctor] is better “trained” than [that doctor].

16. Possible side effects: Weight loss or weight gain — whichever one you don’t want.

17. Who else thinks there should be awards for the little things like:

1. Got Out of Bed Ribbon
2. Put On Pants Certificate
3. Took a Shower Gold Medal

18. Chronic illness and pain will show you two things very clearly:

1. The amazing compassion of some people you hardly know at all.
2. And the disgusting, selfishness of some people you thought you knew very well.

19.  Always remember, there is no need to be ashamed of being in pain. You didn’t ask for it. It is not your fault. You’re doing the best that you can with what you currently have.

20. And lastly, to the family member/friend/doctor or anyone else who doubts your pain and illness:

Step in my shoes for a day. Step into my chronic pain shoes and walk the life I’m living. And if you get nearly as far as I’ve come, just maybe you will understand how strong I really am.


The Mighty

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