It's OK to Have Teary Days When You Live With Chronic Illness

It’s taken a long, long time to realize this. 34 years, in fact. But I’ve finally realized that when living with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS), chronic pain and mental illness… It is OK to have a day, or week, or month where all you do is cry.

I’m having a teary day today. Hormones are flying around, so I’m extra stretchy and loose. I feel like someone has suddenly removed the bolts from each of my joints. I had a massage on Tuesday, with one of the few therapists I trust with my body, and she told me my shoulder blades have slid round two inches from where she’d expect to find them. She confirmed what I already knew – my body is literally falling apart this week.

I am taking painkillers, but they barely even take the edge off. I’ve also recently acquired a rib that subluxes too. Quite frankly, even just my rib constantly popping is making my eyes water. Not always just with pain, but with emotion. I’m fairly sure most of my fellow hEDS family will know what I’m talking about – when you reach the stage where your body involuntarily cries.


Over the years, I’ve shoved this emotional pain away, with busying myself, eating it away and just plain trying to convince myself it’s not there. All of which, in the long-term, increases my pain in one way or another.

I am a positive person. Most people who know me think of me as a positive person. I greet my loved ones with smiles, even when I’m dying inside with pain (emotional or physical). But, quite frankly, the best way to deal with teary days is to let the tears come.

Cry, scream, wail if you have to. Grieve the new subluxing joint. Sob with frustration that this is not the life you wanted.

Depending on how long you’ve held the emotion in, when the tears start, it might be hard for them to stop. Especially if it’s been a week or so, I’d always recommend seeking some advice in case it becomes overwhelming. Talking therapy has done wonders for me. For example, it has taught me that the tears do stop, the feelings never last, that I can always try and find some positive in my teary days – I try to record this to help me on my next teary day. One of the most important things that therapy has taught me is that crying is not me being “negative” – teary days are not only OK, but often needed.

And then, when the tears are over? I re-adjust my crown (or my subluxed joint) and continue – continue to live a life I am proud of.

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

Thinkstock photo via Tawatdchai Muelae.

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

Related to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

woman falling in a field

When Gravity 'Brings Me Down' Due to My Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

A little over a year ago, I was struggling up the stairs at my twin sister’s place. Stairs are an obstacle I tend to avoid, and there are many days where it is simply impossible for me to climb them. With my dizziness and depth perception issues, it is hard for me to know where [...]
katy perry live stream therapy

The Part of Katy Perry's Therapy Session I Disagree With as Someone With Chronic Pain

I recently had the chance to view the live-streamed therapy session with Katy Perry. While I am not here to judge Ms. Perry in any way, I do feel there is something about the broadcast that needs to be addressed. As someone who lives with a chronic pain condition, I really didn’t like something that [...]
woman with long colorful hair

How Standing Strong With My Queerdom Has Helped Me Cope With EDS

“Honey, did your boyfriend tell you to get all those tattoos?” It took everything I had to remain calm and polite in the face of yet another incident of sexism, misogyny and misplaced heteronormativity. Clearly this former coworker making this ridiculous remark didn’t know me at all, but that’s no excuse. Instead of rattling off [...]
mandy harvey

When a Woman With My Chronic Illness Was Featured on 'America's Got Talent'

Last night “America’s Got Talent” shared with the nation an inspiring story of a young singer. A 29-year-old woman named Mandy Harvey took the stage and blew the judges away with her story and profound talent. Before she played her song, she explained to the judges that despite being deaf due to a connective tissue [...]