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16 Clever Ways People Describe Their Chronic Conditions

Most people with chronic conditions spend a lot of time explaining. And when you find yourself doing this often, it can be fun now and then to get a little creative with the explanation.

We asked our readers who live with chronic conditions to share the lighthearted, humorous, snarky or creative ways they’ve explained their conditions.

This is what they had to say:

1. “When asked how I’ve been, I often reply, ‘Oh, I’ve had my ups and downs’ — I have bipolar disorder and type 1 diabetes, so this covers both my moods and my blood sugar levels.” — Tammy Fulton O’Hara

2. “For my blindness [I say I have] ‘nothing in the right (eye) and a small [toilet paper] roll tube in the left.’ I have a visual field of 5-10 percent.” — Jemma Brown

3. “I have spastic cerebral palsy. I’m always shakin’, not stirred.” — Dottie Tanabe

4. “I have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and when I get up from sitting or walking my joints pop. If someone hears it or looks at me, I just give them a smile and say, ‘Snap, crackle, pop. Rice Crispies.’ Makes us both giggle and makes things lighthearted.” — Arianna Lea Nyswonger

5. “I have ulcerative colitis. When people shy away from talking about stomach issues I always say, ‘Please, no worries or judgment here. Pooping is my life now.’” — Heather Hecht

6. Adrenal Insufficiency. Steroids make me a human peep. Brain fog means I could plan my own surprise party.” — Cynthia Rhodes Alberson

7. “My kids call my fibromyalgiaMorgan Freeman disease,’ and tell me I must be awesome if I share it with ‘the man who narrated penguins into existence.’” — Melanie Klei

8. “I have complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and I always say, ‘my nerves just don’t know how to be nerves.’” — Nora Wagner

9. “I’m a type 1 diabetic, and I wear an insulin pump. I like to explain how I wear my pancreas on my hip and sometimes forget it in the bathroom.” — Alicia Matz

10. “I have myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and describe it as like being a phone battery. Healthy people wake up at 100 percent, fully charged. I wake up at 10 percent if I’m lucky, and have to function on that little energy. I also describe it as feeling permanently hungover except you haven’t had the fun the night before; a hangover is something many can relate to!” — Hay Green

11. “I tell people our bodies are like cars and I got a lemon.” — Amanda Keehn

12. “I have severe inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). I did not beat up my younger sister when she called me a ‘salad shooter.’ (We’re both above the age of 43. Maturity is for grown-ups.)” — Melanie Parrott


13. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy… I figured if I’m going to have something it might has well be big. Say this 10 times fast.” — Stacy Arnold Westrick

14. Asthma. Arthritis. Bipolar disorder. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Carbamoyl phosphate synthetase (CPS). Diabetes. Fibromyalgia. Insomnia. My mood swings are up and down like Tigger on a pogo stick.” — Sam Edwards

15. “I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome; I still do gymnastics when I can. Some of the folks at the gym just didn’t get it, so I said I can do the splits easily but I can’t get up off the floor afterwards.” — JBOT – Adaptive Disability Lifestyle Facebook page

16. “I have a pacemaker. I tell people I’m battery operated.” — Derek Canas


What’s your favorite lighthearted or creative way of describing your chronic illness? Let us know in the comments below!