25 Secrets of People With Chronic Illnesses
Nearly 133 million Americans have some sort of chronic illness, and that number is expected to reach 157 million by 2020, according to data on the Invisible Illness Week website.
From exhaustion to migraines to fatigue, many chronic illness symptoms aren’t visible to the naked eye, which makes them even more difficult to diagnose — and understand.
With a growing number of people affected by chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia, arthritis, Lyme disease, Crohn’s disease and diabetes and more, it’s important to both raise awareness and let others know how to respond to the needs of individuals living with these conditions.
1. “Some days you can function, some you can’t.” —Amber Wandmaker
2. “I’m not lazy. I’m in pain, exhausted and quite possibly depressed because I feel useless and cannot make others understand what I go through on a daily basis.” —Jodie Farber Brubacher
3. “It’s not in my head.” —Christine Olson Smith
4. “When I’m pushing through… I’m really pushing myself too hard.” —Debra Declue
5. “Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not real.” —Rhonda Miller-Solomon
6. “Accepting the fact that I will never get better is what has allowed me to live my life and continue to work towards my goals without waiting to ‘get better.’” —Joan Elizabeth
7. “A good day for people with chronic pain… is often just ‘less of a bad day.’” —Ann Webb Bradford
8. “Being immune compromised/suppressed isn’t a game; it’s dangerous. When I say I can’t get sick, I’m not being paranoid; I’m being careful. Life’s no good when you’re dead!” —Arianna Nyswonger
9. “I’ve become an expert on hiding my pain from everyone.” —Beth Cox Harrell
10. “Chronic illness often comes in multiple versions; treating one can mean making another one worse.” —Zoann Murphy
11. “I can’t remember what ‘well’ feels like.” —Sandra Williams
12. “Good can change to bad in a matter of minutes. There are good days and bad days, but there are also good hours and bad hours, good minutes and bad minutes. Chronic illness does not see or understand time.” —Deanna Guarino-Embry
13. “There’s no such thing as ‘too young;’ we can’t just show out bodies ID and tell the illness to come back in 10-20 years!” —Jen Andrew
14. “It doesn’t get better. It is this way. Every day. Forever. If you’re in my life, please don’t ask me if I’m feeling ‘better’ today.” —Wendy Rose
15. “We shouldn’t be treated like drug addicts or hypochondriacs and denied the care we truly need.” —Amy Brandborg
16. “I live a double life. What you see when I am at work: someone who is well put together, always dependable, smiling, will always tell you she is doing fine. My reality: I’m a mess, in so much pain, my smiles are forced, sometimes I have to find a quiet place to cry. But it’s much easier for me to fake it because coworkers don’t want to hear my truth day after day.” —Amber Weller
17. “A ‘good attitude’ doesn’t take away pain or improve mobility. I am still human and I will have days when I just can’t drum up that ‘good attitude.’” —Vicki Gomes Petilli
18. “I didn’t do this to myself. I didn’t not pray hard enough or believe hard enough. I didn’t not eat well enough or not exercise enough.” —Barb Silvestro
19. “It hurts to be forgotten because we have said no to so many events, parties, family gatherings, shopping trips, etc. I want them to still ask just so I know they are still thinking of me.” —Victoria Sinclair
20. “There is no magic cure. I don’t want to be sick, but this is my reality. I can’t wish it away or cleanse it away or take supplements because your sister’s boyfriend’s mother did.” —Christina Marroquin-Mauricio
21. “People don’t choose to feel horrible every day and lose the person they used to be.” –Caitlin Hoechst
22. “What I can do one day I might not be able to do the next.” —Becky Rider
23. “I’m not making it up. If I wanted to fake an illness, I would choose something that people would believe!” —Faith Merryn
24. “My downtime doesn’t mean I’m depressed or isolating. It’s a time for me to heal and recharge.” —Kate Wilhelmi
25. “My illness does not define me, my dreams or who I am!” —Judy Fox Berryan
What’s one truth about chronic illness you wish others understood? Let us know in the comments below. And be sure to visit our new Facebook page, Chronic Illness on The Mighty.
All images via ThinkStock