To the Person With a Chronic Illness Who Feels Like You Don’t Measure Up

I know it feels like no one thinks about you, the quiet person in the corner who just looks a little tired. No one notices how hard you try or how much effort you put into pretending you’re OK.

Sometimes it feels like they only notice you when you make a mistake or when your vulnerability shows. They might notice when you just can’t keep up anymore or when you seem to be constantly letting them down. Then they treat you like you’re a failure, but I know better. I know you are doing the best you can. Every day you get up and do all that your body will let you do, and that is enough.

Shelley Smith.2

It’s hard to value yourself when you constantly feel like you don’t measure up. That’s why when you feel discouraged or feel like you can’t ever do anything right, you need to celebrate the small victories. Remember that the little things are important and worth paying attention to. Here are four things you should never forget:

1. No one else may recognize your victories, but you deserve to reward yourself. Take a moment to remind yourself how awesome you are. Enjoy your happiness; you deserve it.

2. Remember that even a small win can show you the progress you have made and will provide you with encouragement to keep fighting.

3. If you feel discouraged, make a list of all the things you did that day that were hard for you to accomplish. You will notice you’re accomplishing more than you think.

4. Focus on what you have done right, not what you have done wrong. Every day is a new battle when you have a chronic illness, so don’t get down on yourself if things don’t go the way you planned.

When you feel discouraged, don’t ever forget you’re brave. That doesn’t mean you’re fearless; it means that every day you wake up and fight pain that would send a healthy person running to emergency room. It means you continually fight for better medical treatment. It means you manage to find joy and light despite your suffering. It means you care about other people’s pain, despite the fact that you can barely deal with your own.

It means your illness has made you a more loving and compassionate person. It means you face down your fears every single day. It means that even though your dreams have changed, you still dream. It means your illness may have broken you, but you put the pieces back together and made yourself better. It means you are amazing.

Follow this journey on Chronic Mom.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability and/or disease. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

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