When Chronic Illness Is Like a Thief in the Night


Fear. Loss of any illusion of control. Succeeding at seeing the beauty in life, the majority of the time, except for times like these.

Times when chronic illness is a thief. An unpredictable burglar. One who steals things you didn’t even think to hide. Who breaks down doors and punches through your walls. So what you’re left with is uncertainty. Anxiety. Fear. What’s next? How bad will the damage be next time? When will it happen? Because you know it will happen. You just never know when and you never know if it’s going to turn your whole world upside down.

 

But you can’t, you won’t, constantly live in fear, so you do your best to patch up the holes in the walls. You try to put the doors back on the broken hinges as best you can. They will never be quite the same. Will never work quite right. You’ll either need brand new ones, if possible, or you’ll have to make do with what you have left.

You continue on. Taking it one day at a time. You do pretty well, but every time you hear a loud noise, your gut clenches. You wonder if it’s going to happen again. What was that noise? Is it danger? Or just a random noise in the night? You wait. Heart beating faster and faster. Mind racing. Trying to figure out what you’ll do if the burglar has come back. Desperately hoping they won’t damage anything that is structural and essential to the integrity of your house.

You have very little control and the burglar makes sure to remind you of that every now and then. Without control, what remains is hope. Hope that the burglar will someday leave you alone or at least start to only commit petty crimes. You have to find your strength. And sometimes, especially right after you’ve been robbed, it’s a very hard thing to do.

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

Thinkstock photo via moodboard.


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


Related to Chronic Illness

blue watercolor painting of a woman

The Frustration of Dealing With the Ignorance Surrounding Chronic Illness

“You don’t look sick.” “Don’t exaggerate your symptoms.” “It’s not like you have cancer, dude. Chill.” “Is your disease contagious?” “You should go see a doctor.” These are a few of the annoying yet typical phrases many ignorant people make about chronic illness. If you don’t say to people you are terminally ill, they don’t [...]
a woman talking to and comforting her friend

The Importance of Being Honest With Your Loved Ones About How You Feel

Having studied Anthropology for years, something has always stuck with me: “Humans are social creatures.” This always made me laugh as someone with social anxiety who prefers having her nose in a book to being in a club or on a team. I choose to be on my own. I am in my personality fiercely independent. I [...]
black and white painting of a woman smiling

Talking About My Illness Does Not Mean It Defines Me

Candidly sharing thoughts and feelings about the realities of living with chronic illness and chronic pain does not equate to forming an entire identity around the illness. I think there’s this strange idea some have, that if someone is speaking openly, honestly, about the impact of chronic illness on their life, it must mean the person is defining [...]
large maze

Navigating the Maze of Chronic Illness

Having a chronic immune/inflammatory illness is like being in a maze that you never asked to enter. That’s the best analogy I can come up with to explain the journey. You know going in that it’s not going to be easy. There is no clear, straightforward path from symptom to diagnosis to cure: it’s a lot [...]