10 Ways 'Game of Thrones' Gets Me Through the Hard Days of Chronic Illness


kathy on the iron throne As anyone with chronic or mental illness knows, many days can be tough to get through. It’s nice to have a show like “Game of Thrones” to look forward to. It keeps us company and makes us feel like our lives are simple in comparison to characters like Theon Greyjoy.

The show is full of brutality, sickness, struggle, honor and moments of humor. Just like life. Just like a day with Lyme disease, anxiety and/or other chronic illnesses.

It’s my favorite series, and when it’s on I’m so caught up in it that I forget my worries and afflictions. It’s a welcome respite and much-needed distraction. It ironically calms and soothes me, as I’m transported to a different world. A world of others’ pain and anguish, heartbreak and triumphs — a world far away from my own.

Here are 10 ways “Game of Thrones” gets me through the hard days:

1. It gives me hope for a brighter future. If the remaining members of the Stark family can get through all the horror they’ve been through, so can I. They have grown stronger, braver and smarter from their experiences. They have endured. I can’t wait to see them prevail, just as I hope I will eventually.

2. After a day of headaches, screaming kids and watching “Caillou” or “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” I can really appreciate the Watchers on the Wall with some bowl o’brown and ale in hand. Oh Toodles!

3. Like Arya Stark, I can compile my own vengeful list. Instead of Joffrey and The Mountain, I have Cancer, Hunger, Apathy, Lyme Disease, Anxiety, Interstitial Cystitis, Pre-Menstrual Dysmorphic Disorder, Fibromyalgia, Asthma and Food Allergies on mine. I hope all things on my list will be killed off soon.

4. If I’m having an especially hard day and acting a little bitchy, I can say to my husband, “This is nothing compared to Cersei, I feel no shame!”

5. When my illness seems insurmountable, I think of Jon Snow and Ygritte climbing The Wall. If they can do it, I can get over my figurative wall too. I do know something!

6. The show reminds me that sometimes you have to take a detour and get off the King’s Road. It may be scary, but it is well worth it to try new things and new paths to recovery. Steer clear of The Red Woman though.

7. It illustrates how a Maester is nice to have around, as are doctors/therapists who really care. They help dull my pain, heal my wounds and provide the wildfire to destroy the Blackwater of my illness and my soul.

8. It emphasizes the importance of having friends like Samwell Tarly and family you can count on like the Starks. They provide a shoulder to cry on, a nice pat on the back and a shield to guard you from harm.

9. I can watch the show over and over thanks to my DVR, and I can get through a tough year knowing a new, exciting season is coming, just like Winter.

10. When someone asks me how I’m feeling, and I don’t feel like lying or giving them a long explanation of my illnesses, I can just say “Hodor!”

I’m grateful for my family, my doctors and George R.R. Martin. Thanks to them I can make it through Hardhome and find some warmth in the South, while I continue my quest to find some peace and happiness in the realm.

I hope all of you do the same. I hope all of you prevail.

Happiness is Coming, and like The Tyrells, may we continue to Grow Strong.

If not, we can always send in the dragons!

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a scene or line from a movie, show, or song that’s stuck with you through your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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