7 of the Hardest Parts of Chronic Illness


There are many challenges that people with chronic illness face. Actually, almost everything can be a challenge, whether big or small. Whether it be finding a work situation that works for you or dealing with people around you, there are many challenging parts to dealing with a chronic illness.

1. Trying to find a way to make an income. This is one of our biggest struggles because we are not well enough to work and even when I find a job I might be able to do I don’t meet the qualifications due to my illness holding me back.

2. Paying for college. This goes hand in hand with making an income. I need an education to make an income but can’t work to put myself through college! It’s scary taking out a loan when you don’t know if you are going to be well enough to work to pay it back. What a vicious cycle!

3. The people who think you are being “lazy.” I’ve had too many people say things like, “So what do you do all day if you don’t work or got to school?” I know they aren’t meaning to be rude, but I take it personally. I am trying to get healthy enough so I can eventually work one day, that’s what I do all day.

4. Dating. There are a couple tricky things about dating. First, when and how to tell them about your chronic illness. Second, and my least favorite, is explaining why I don’t work or go to school. I absolutely dread this part!

5. Anxiety. I am constantly anxious when I am out and about thinking I am going to have an episode. It only makes it worse when you are with a group of people and you would have to ruin the days plans just because your illness is flaring up.

6. The assumption that I’m not stressed because I get to “relax” all day. I am unbelievably stressed about all the things stated above and so much more. I am stressed about how my next appointment will go. I am anxious and at times depressed. I do not live a relaxed lifestyle by any means just because I do not work or go to school.

7. Perhaps the hardest thing, for me at least, is hearing people say, “Well, why can she go out and do the things she wants to do but can’t go to school or work.” I have good days and bad days. On the good days, I can go out and do things and then spend the next few days recovering from that activity. When you hold a job your employer relies on you to show up for work and if I’m having a bad day I physically and mentally cannot be there. This is something I wish everyone would understand. Just because I have a chronic illness doesn’t mean I should miss out on having fun while I’m having a good day.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by Hemera Technologies


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Chronic Illness

Why I Relate to the Broadway Show 'Dear Evan Hansen' as a Spoonie

Recently I came across a new Broadway show. When I say came across, I really mean that I stalked the cast album release date and know every fact about the show, but that’s beside the point. This show, “Dear Evan Hansen,” which is written about teens struggling with anxiety, depression and ultimately one dying by suicide, is an unbelievably [...]
man sitting on a park bench and thinking

9 Harmful Behaviors to Avoid If Your Loved One Is Chronically Ill

Anyone who lives with a chronic health condition knows how frustrating it can be to deal with family and friends who either just don’t understand or flat out don’t care. Yes, it’s true that most people won’t understand something until they go through it themselves. This isn’t really an excuse for overt selfishness and total [...]
woman sitting on the floor and writing a letter

To My Future Partner: Thank You For Seeing Past My Illnesses

Sometimes it’s hard to believe there’s “someone out there” for someone who is chronically ill. Sometimes we reach low points and don’t think it’ll ever happen. Sometimes we can’t fathom someone staying after we drop a line that causes reactions akin to a bomb: “I’m sick and I’m never getting better.” Other times, we remember [...]
Couple sitting on dock in lake

What Is My Husband Thinking as He Looks at His Chronically Ill Wife?

What is he thinking? As I walk down that aisle to say “I do,” what is he thinking? As he deploys for the first time, what is he thinking? As he looks at our firstborn son, what is he thinking? As he says goodbye to his pregnant wife as he deploys again, what is he [...]