two friends walking outside at sunset

I see and hear a lot from those dealing with chronic illness about how it has affected relationships, more specifically friendships. My journey sounds similar.

Years ago, I remember my dad talking to me about having true friends, and if I could count them on one hand I should consider myself lucky. My friendships have ebbed and flowed over the years, getting close with some, and those same friendships fading slowly. Some friendships ended and I understood why, while others ended leaving me confused and heartbroken.


When I first began dealing with illness, I felt lost and confused. When friends realized I was going through something, they rallied around. Some offered comfort, some offered help, and others just reminded me they were there if needed. Something interesting happened after a while. When I wasn’t getting better, and it was becoming obvious this was going to be a bigger part of my life than I’d hoped, slowly but surely friendships slipped away.

In the beginning, I was frustrated. I couldn’t help what I was going through. I didn’t mean to bail on plans, or that I couldn’t “hang” late anymore. I wasn’t able to drink alcohol or eat at most restaurants. But I still wanted to see my friends. I’d begun to feel forgotten about. I realized though that I’d slowly also begun to isolate myself. How could I blame anyone for forgetting about me when I stopped reaching out too?

It’s a vicious cycle to get caught in. You want to do things, but are held back. You want to reach out, but are scared of rejection. You feel misunderstood by friends and family. You just want your damn life back.

If you’re lucky like me, you have some pretty awesome people that stuck around – ones who, while they might not “get it,” do their best to understand. They show patience and kindness. They do what they can to make you feel comfortable. Can’t eat normal foods? They ask what they can make for you. Can’t drink alcohol? They ask what you can drink. Have to reschedule last minute? They don’t stop calling because of it.

friends are medicine for a wounded heart, and vitamins for a hopeful soul

There’s also your online community – some of these people I’m lucky enough to call my friends. While we’ve never met in person, they have become an integral part of my life. We have an understanding of what we’re both going through. Advice is offered. Opinions are shared. You’re being cheered on by people you’ve never met harder than people you see every day. These friends of mine have kept me going on some of the darkest days. Having friends near and far keeps you wrapped up in love, even when you may not feel it.

So thank you to the people who have stuck by my side through the worst times – let me cry, held my hand, let me feel and reminded me how far I’ve come. And for continuously supporting me and pushing me to be the best parts of myself.

This post originally appeared on Hustle and Heart.

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Thinkstock photo via AntonioGuillem.


Suicidal thoughts can, at times, go hand in hand with chronic illness. Living in constant pain mentally and/or physically can be extremely difficult to endure long-term. Most chronic illnesses are there to stay, so unlike the grief you may feel from a short-term loss or trauma, it can be even more difficult to continue life as normal with chronic pain. There isn’t always a light at the end of the tunnel. Intrusive thoughts of ending one’s life can be even more present when other stressors (the kind that occur in everyone’s lives) are compiled on top of dealing with chronic illness. Individuals struggling with chronic illness may also avoid seeking help for their feelings, which can be a contributing factor for long-term struggling.


Let’s first discuss my opinion as to why individuals with chronic illness may avoid seeking help when they are having suicidal thoughts. I myself have several debilitating chronic health conditions. I belong to online support groups for those with the same conditions as myself. These online support groups serve as a way for individuals to get support from others in similar situations as themselves. Suicidal thoughts are discussed often. When I polled the members of one of my support groups in regards to this topic, I asked the question: Would they consider asking for help by calling a prevention hotline or admitting themselves into a hospital if they were to have suicidal feelings? 36 individuals selected that they would be unlikely to seek help from those options. 15 individuals selected unsure and nine individuals chose very likely to seek help. Individuals with chronic illness have also shared their feelings with me in regards to their hesitancy to ask for help. The most common reasons given were:

1. Feeling ashamed and guilty to admit they were having these feelings. Many individuals struggling with chronic illness have family and other commitments. Being chronically ill can already bring forward thoughts of feeling like a burden or disappointment. Individuals expressed feeling ashamed to have suicidal feelings when they had people in their lives whom they loved and did not want to hurt further.

2. Not feeling comfortable discussing their feelings with a stranger (and in many cases even discussing them with someone they are close to). Individuals with chronic illness are well aware of the feeling of being judged. Most chronic illnesses may appear invisible on the outside, which can bring forth feelings of judgment from others who do not understand the struggle they face internally. Avoiding judgment may be used as a safety net to avoid further hurt.

3. Worrying that discussing these feelings with a professional could have a negative impact on their future healthcare provisions. Examples individuals discussed with me were the potential of having insurance coverage affected, having pain management affected (medications taken away) and also having life insurance claims denied (for those few who were able to qualify. Life insurance policies are often denied for individuals with chronic illness).

4. Being on a watch in an unfamiliar place, such as a hospital. The thought of being placed on a suicidal watch in a hospital may be a scary thought for anyone. However, when you are chronically ill, being away from your place of comfort and even medications can cause great anxiety.

Now let’s discuss my thoughts on how the chronic illness community can be better supported on this topic.

1. The medical community should provide better options and advocacy for support. Doctors and other medical staff need to make mental health support a real part of the treatment plan for anyone struggling with chronic illness. Simply asking patients to fill out forms where they are asked if they are depressed (along with a dozen other questions) or even briefly saying to a patient during an appointment, “Do you ever feel depressed?” as a physician goes down a list of appointment check-offs is really not sufficient. The majority of the time, even though you may have individuals who are severely depressed, they may just answer “no.”

This is similar to the reason why when chronically ill individuals are asked how they’re feeling, they often answer with a short “fine” or “alright,” even though they may be feeling the complete opposite. When you struggle with chronic illness day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, you learn that many times people don’t really want to hear the negative. You may also have received advice that was hurtful, such as “other people have it worse,” “you don’t look sick,” “have you tried changing your diet,” etc. When you have chronic illness you learn to just smile and nod your head and say, “I’m fine,” even when you’re not. You learn to push through the pain both physically and mentally. You continue through life many times struggling in silence and isolation.

Also, if you have experienced the letdown of bravely sharing what you’re going through with others, only to have them respond by distancing themselves from you (something that is discussed frequently among the chronic illness community), you may start using the protective mechanism of avoiding talking about your situation. Doctors and medical staff should be involved and engaging with their patients in regards to not only their physical health but their mental well-being as well. For example, instead of asking a question off a pre-written form such as, “Are you depressed?,” try saying something like, “I imagine having chronic illness must be tough on you and I’m sure it can be challenging at times. How are you coping with everything?” Open the door to conversation which will encourage your patient to feel more comfortable and vulnerable when discussing their feelings with you.

Please take the time to talk to your patients and really make sure they are OK. If they are not OK, do not just brush it off. Help your patients find the resources and support they need. Reassure them they are not alone and you are there for them. Perhaps they may need some counseling or therapy services or support groups. There are tools out there that may help them deal with their feelings but they need to be able to access them. Many times patients don’t know where to go or they’re concerned they’re not going to be able to afford the services. As their physician, it is your job to help them with getting the support they need.

2. Family and friends can make a difference. In many situations where a person with chronic illness is having suicidal thoughts, it is not necessarily because of one reason. Although being in constant pain and discomfort is likely a huge contributor, I have noticed suicidal thoughts in those struggling with chronic illness become more severe when at least one of these other factors are present:

– The individual is feeling unsupported by family and/or friends

– The individual is struggling with financial issues due to their chronic illness

– The individual has experienced some sort of life stressor such as a death, divorce, move, etc.

Below are my suggestions for family and friends to support individuals struggling with chronic illness in regards to the topic of suicidal thoughts and hopelessness.

1. Let them know you are there for them. Discuss what other stress factors they have in their life that are contributing to their current feelings. When somebody is going through an already difficult time, added stressors can make their depression/suicidal thoughts even stronger. For example, if someone has a chronic illness they are already struggling with, having an added stress, such as a death in the family or loss of a job, can make things more overwhelming for them. You cannot take a chronic illness away from them but you may be able to reduce stress in their life in other ways. Talk to them and go over the contributing stress factors in their life and figure out how you may be able to assist or how you may be able to gather others to assist. Be aware that financial concerns may be a factor as well and it may be difficult for them to discuss it with you. It is not uncommon for individuals struggling with chronic illness to become unemployed due to their health condition. Even with a valid health condition, it can be difficult to receive long-term disability benefits and many individuals end up spending years in court before they can begin to receive benefits. Before you can claim disability (an inability to work), you must generally not be working in any significant capacity. For this reason, many individuals continue to try to work even though they are disabled because they feel they have no options, which can be very difficult.

2. Offer nonjudgmental support and avoid criticism. Please remember there is a lot of guilt and shame that goes along with feelings of suicidal thoughts and for that reason, many times people do not want to talk about it. If someone close to you is exhibiting signs and you are concerned about them, make sure you offer nonjudgmental support. Be there to listen to their feelings but try to avoid making judgments on their feelings or making comments such as “others have it worse,” “you’re being selfish,” etc. Avoid comments that may make them feel guilty about having these thoughts. Check in with them regularly and offer your company to them.

3. Help them find joy. As someone wise once pointed out to me, the opposite of pain is joy. Therefore, somebody who is experiencing a lot of pain (both physically and mentally) would likely be off-balance in that regard. Ask them which things bring them joy in their life or what brought them joy in the past. Encourage them to discuss these feelings with you. Try to help them figure out what gives them joy and how you can help bring more of it back into their life. This may be a matter of getting them out of the house or coming to visit them, sharing a hobby, etc.

4. Hugs. I know this last one sounds rather simplistic. However, at the end of the day, just knowing someone’s there who cares about what you’re going through, who wants to help you, who makes you feel like you still have a place on this earth… that is the most powerful medicine of all.

Please know if you are having these feelings, you are not alone. I know it may feel that way at times, but know others feel the same way as you at this very moment. My heart goes out to anyone struggling with the pain (both physical and mental) of chronic illness.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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

Thinkstock photo via uba-foto.

September has come, and for those of us in the southern hemisphere, the sunshine and reprieve from rain that comes with spring is very welcome news! While us spoonies who have circulation issues rejoice at no longer being constantly bitterly cold, and those of us with mobility issues are thankful for mild days without the rain that can complicate our efforts to venture outside, we must also remember to be cautious and preemptive in the new season.


Here is a list of tips I like to call the Spring Survival Guide (Spoonie to Spoonie):

– It’s tempting, but don’t completely shed the winter clothes. On the first day of spring, I made the decision to wear much lighter clothes, leaving a lot of my body uncovered. Even though the sun was bright and the temperature was mild, I was freezing cold and very much uncomfortable due to my poor circulation and temperature sensitivity.

Stick to a schedule similar to your activity in colder months. In spring, I often experience a relapse of my illness due to overexertion (which occurs often subconsciously). I’m tempted to use the extra hours of daylight to fit in short walks after my daily activities (going to class, medical appointments) but it’s incredibly easy to overdo it. So, if you’re looking to make some spring changes to activities, it’s important that you schedule these conservatively.

– In the spirit of the season, make a ‘”spring cleaning” goal. This could look like anything from a traditional clear-out of unwanted items to the tying of loose ends such as paperwork, personal projects, outstanding work tasks or even getting back in contact with old friends.

Re-immerse yourself in an old hobby or interest. Spring is considered a symbol of youth and of renewal, and it’s important for us spoonies to engage with the things that make us passionate and excited. The way we engage with old hobbies, especially in cases of hobbies you had before illness/disability, requires a new approach sometimes and can open up new avenues of exploration for us. My own example would be dancing: I once spent over 20 hours a week dancing and teaching dance, and for a while after getting sick I was resentful and upset towards the idea of re-engaging with dance in a way other than being a dancer. Now, after realizing there are more ways to engage with dance than as a dancer. I am able to enjoy watching dance performances and have formed a heightened appreciation for the music and choreography.

– Last but nowhere near least, continue to know your limits, respect your body and assertively manage your health. 

Enjoy spring, lovely people, and take care. May the spoon be with you!

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Thinkstock photo via XiXinXing.

As I woke up this morning, my brain once again continued its never-ending endeavor by traveling at light speed. I had so many thoughts, ideas and questions that seem to collide with each other too early in the morning. I’m trying something different with my blog page in the attempt to reach out and connect with as many individuals as I can with God’s help. I had a bit of a revelation last evening while the man I’m seeing and I were having dinner. Seems like an odd time for me to be thinking about information in regards to chronic illness, but I’m happy he and I were on the topic.


I’ve discussed in a past blog what it’s like to date while having a chronic illness. I personally have had some pretty bad outcomes when it comes to having to disclose information about some of the health issues I struggle with to the guy in question. I’ve noticed the biggest issue was, once again, their lack of desire to understand. These guys must have not had the experience or did not possess the maturity on being able to understand that chronic illness does not define you. Indeed, it sets things back and makes life more of a challenge depending on what the individual has to deal with on a daily basis, but the illness itself doesn’t make us who we are. The man I’m seeing now wanted to know what I have to deal with and how severe it may get, not because he was worried about how it might affect him and his life predominately, but because he was more concerned with understanding how these issues affect me.

Which brings me to the topic at hand. There are so many blogs out there that discuss how vital understanding is when it comes to a chronic illness. If someone doesn’t understand, it makes the maze that much more of an inconvenience for the person struggling with it because they not only have to go out of their way to deal with the symptoms of the illness, but they also have to try and deal with emotional trauma others may leave them with. We survivors are already traveling through this maze involuntarily, not knowing if or when we will find the path that leads us out, allowing us to experience a good/pain-free day. Most of the time we spend days, weeks or months repeatedly running into dead-ends, forcing us to retrace painful steps. The very last thing we need are more dead-ends added to such maze, decreasing our chances of finding the path leading out.

So, how can we utilize preventative measures in regards to the attempted construction of dead-ends in a seamlessly endless maze?

For starters, it’s best to really know who it is you wish to surround yourself with. How mature are these individuals? How receptive are they to news they may not have much knowledge about? Do they have an adaptive personality? Can they be trusted?

These are just a few select questions I try to consider when I am placed in a position where my health is brought up. I instructed that when it comes to dating, it’s best to be absolutely honest, but I also warned that if you feel as though this person will not react positively and maturely about the news of your chronic illness, it’s best to avoid the topic and/or the person altogether. The very last thing needed is another stressor added to the equation. This returns us to the importance of really getting to know a friend, a potential significant other or even family before such truths are revealed.

My biggest issue now is with family. I’ve known these people all my life, but the unfortunate reality is that with age comes change. People, in general, change over time: how they deal with stress, how they deal with unknown news, so on and so forth. In their youth, they may have been exceedingly immature and lacked the ability to properly respond to unpleasant news. Yet, in their middle to older years, they may have become very mature and able to respond sufficiently to distressing news. All of these changes in personality have to be observed over time in addition to how close you are with them. I’m not close with many of my family members, so I don’t waste time trying to describe what I have to go through on a daily basis. I’d be wasting my breath and energy with the attempt. Those who I am close with have shown me their maturity and how well they can adapt to things they may not have as much knowledge on. This is what I look for.

Secondly, ask yourself why they are asking about your illness. Are they curious for selfless reasons, or are they curious purely to be selfish?

So what do I mean by this? Let’s say you and this guy you’re interested in decide to go on a date. You don’t know him well, but you’re wanting to give it a try. Halfway through your date, you start to have a little bit of a flare-up and have to deal with it the best way you can without drawing an exceeding amount of attention. Your date notices anyway, and comes over to ask if you’re feeling well. You respond with honesty and say (let’s use the example of fibromyalgia) you are experiencing nerve pain and have to sit down for a little bit. He give you a weird look and asks what you mean by “nerve pain.”

Before answering, remember the tips I have discussed about reminding yourself to ask the above questions: how well do I know him? Yes, it’s important to be honest when dating, but you also have to keep in mind how comfortable you feel with disclosing that kind of personal information. Ask yourself: has he given off a good impression? If so, do I feel he will be mature about the news?

Let’s continue on with the date. You come to the realization that you’re not exactly comfortable yet and wish to get to know more about him first. Therefore, you politely explain that you’re not feeling well but are not entirely comfortable yet with going into detail. This will also be a test to see how he responds. Does he respect your decision? Or does he become defensive and distant? This will show his maturity level and whether he is selfish or selfless. If he respects your decision, then you’ll have more comfort knowing he is asking because he cares about you, instead of asking in the attempt to “save his own keister.”

Sometimes, we will make mistakes. We will entrust someone with information about our health when they are not mature enough to handle it or when they are not exactly trustworthy. It’s bound to happen. The important thing to remember is to learn from it and not make the same mistakes twice. It’s hard enough having to keep things we want to talk about bottled up inside of us, but it’ll be even harder having to deal with the repercussions if we are not careful.

The more time passes, the easier and less complex the maze will become. We also have to look for the signs that lead up to the exit, or to another brick wall.

This post has appeared on Strengthening the Muscle of Faith and Amanda’s blog.

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Thinkstock photo via precinbe.

We all want to feel and get better, but with chronic illness, it is never a straightforward road. In light of Suicide Prevention Week, I feel this is a topic that needs considering, as blips in our health really do affect our mood – naturally.

So how can we keep that positive mindset when we are being truly tested?

1. Address the blip.

What has caused the blip? Another infection? Not enough rest? Not eating enough? The wrong treatment for you?


Ignoring the blip will most likely cause further problems. Addressing the issue allows you the opportunity to solve, help or ask for help to improve the situation.

2. Talk.

Blips can really affect our mental health. All the work and treatments you are putting in and trying, yet your health isn’t improving as quickly as you had hoped or you feel as if you are going back. You may begin to bottle up your pain and blame yourself for the extra pain, only causing further problems. Picking up the phone and talking to someone can often be the best medicine. They can offer support, love and advice, which can really settle your mood.

3. Rest.

Blips aren’t just physically exhausting, but mentally exhausting, and that is why your mood may be so affected by them. Focus on doing things you enjoy but are “restful” activities – like mindful coloring, watching movies, sewing, reading, etc. This can help boost your mood and give yourself some chill “me” time.

4. Eat nutrient-rich foods.

We know full well how bad fast and processed food can be for our minds and bodies. So fill your body with nutrient-rich foods that fuel the mind and body correctly, giving you the best defense again infection and nasties trying to attack the body. Eating fresh, unprocessed foods will also help keep you from feeling sluggish, which can have a major influence on your mood.

5. Support.

Remind yourself of your support system and the amazing people around you. Whether this is meeting up for a catch-up, giving them a phone call or simply flicking through pictures to remind you what you are fighting for and how loved you are.

Never doubt your strength – nothing worth fighting for is ever easy! You have gotten this far; you can take on anything!

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Thinkstock photo via Grandfailure.

Life with chronic illness is so much more than just the physical symptoms. Fighting to make it through each day can take a huge toll on your mental and emotional health. It’s incredibly difficult to keep “powering through” some days when you know this illness will never go away. Feelings of depression, frustration and hopelessness are unfortunately all too common in the chronic illness community. (If you feel this way, know you are not alone.)

During National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10-16), it is especially important to not only raise awareness about how those with chronic illness are affected by suicidal thoughts, but to also celebrate the beautiful parts of life — the reasons people have to always keep fighting.

We asked our Mighty community to share what encourages them to keep going when living with chronic illness makes them feel hopeless. Their answers are beautiful, and we hope they give you hope, too.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

1. “Knowing the next ‘good day’ could be just around the bend. There are a ton of promising treatments coming down the line soon for a lot of chronic illnesses. Also knowing I’m not alone and have plenty of spoonies to sympathize with. And Netflix. Lots of Netflix.” – Katherine R.

2. “My doctor’s unwavering determination to find an answer, and then give me back the quality of life I didn’t even realize I had lost over the years. He fights for me when I don’t feel like I can fight for myself.” – Jill A.

3. “Burlesque dancing – it has been my reality escape for a few years now.” – Joanne B.

4. “My besties, my friends, my family, organizations I volunteer with and knowing there are others out there who are like me and we need help. I will keep up the fight because together we can all make a difference. I care [for] and support all who live with chronic pain.” – Judith F. I.

5. “My girls. They have so much compassion and understanding for such little people! When I feel my illnesses make me a bad mom they remind me of all the ways it’s made them better and me. It’s not easy, but they are my inspiration. They are my fight. They fuel my fire to get up and push through.” – Jessica U.

6. “Music. Don’t know where I would be without it.” – Phoebe D.

7. “My television shows. I have to know what happens next week. They keep me going when nothing else does.” – Liberty W.

8. “Jesus. Reading scripture. Praying. My God has all the hope I need that my life with diseases and pain is not without purpose, greater than I can comprehend.” – Kathryn A.

9. “My sheer stubbornness. I refuse to let my diseases beat me!” – Jessica R.

10. “I might have to wait a long time, but medical progress will come. I’m not even 30 years old yet and my conditions aren’t [terminal]. I’m going to be living with these for a long time and eventually medicine will find ways to help me or maybe even cure me. Could be sooner than I think.” – Jessica S.

11. “My overwhelming curiosity of the natural world.” – Hannah D.

12. “Sheer competitiveness. I refuse to let anything beat me, including my own body. Some days it might win a battle, but I will win the war.” – Morgan D.

13. “My husband. He’s the reason I smile, the good in my life when all I feel is pain… I keep going for the moments when I can make him smile. It’s the least I can do after all he does to support me physically, emotionally and financially. Even if the bad days far outnumber the good, those good moments with him are worth so much more.” – Kerry W.

14. “Keeping my promises to my rescued dogs and cats to give them a safe and loving home for the rest of their lives.” – Kemmeth R. W.

15. “What encourages me to keep fighting the hopelessness I am surrounded by day in and day out is becoming an Independent Beauty Consultant. It gets me excited for my future with the disease.” – Alane P.

16. “My son. Any time I feel like giving up, I know I have to keep fighting because he needs me. He literally saved my life.” – Jim T.

17. “Antidepressants. Just being honest. I have a great husband and great kid and yet it wasn’t enough to get me out of the hole of despair of being sick almost every day for over a year. It’s a lot to face and I refuse to be ashamed. I am proud of the person I can be with my antidepressants.” – Jacqueline B.

18. “My niece Shug. Since I started raising her there is nothing I won’t endure to see her smile every day. Every day is hell inside and I still wear a smile most of the day because she is with me. I don’t know how I got along for years without her. Giving up will never be a thought again.” – Brittany A.

19. “Everyone who ever says something negative about me and my chronic illnesses. I may not be able to do much, but I can prove them wrong, and that’s all the motivation I need to keep going.” – Bonnie P.

20. “My wife – she comes first in all things… Her happiness is my happiness.” – Johnathan M.

21. “Spiritual perspective – that I am being guided, I am not in control. Practicing mindfulness and self-compassion.” – Karen W. N.

22. “My chronic illness friends who draw hope and inspiration from me as well as my passion to advocate for others. I have a unique opportunity to reach various target audiences as a doctor and rare disease patient.” – Brandi S.

23. “[I hope] that one day I may get new lungs.” – Nat C.

24. “My passion for henna. I’m a henna artist who loves, loves doing henna and just learning about it all. The henna community is extremely supportive too.” – Aneeta K. N.

25. “The start of a new day always fills me with fresh hope – that and seemingly eternal optimism, no matter what! But when things have been really tough, we pack our bags and head away for a few days of nature and solitude, a reminder of how amazing the world is.” – Lisa K.

26. “My fur babies – they give me a reason to get up every day and I know they love me unconditionally no matter how I look, or if I have to cancel plans, they’re always there. And they just make me happy. They turn a crappy day into a good day.” – Janelle F.

27. “My crochet. It means so much to me, and working on long-term projects means I can always give myself something to focus on.” – Erika D. B.

28. “Knowing I will be going back to school soon.” – Jennifer T.

29. “I try to focus on the good days. I remember the days when I have felt pretty OK, or at least better, and try to remember my symptoms tend to ebb and flow, so though today, this week, this month, may have been awful, I will probably have an ebb in my symptoms soon and not feel this bad forever.” – Alicia T.

30. “Knowing there is purpose in my pain. This experience may help others in their fight. I fight for them, for all of us.” – Emily N.

31. ”’The best is yet to come.’ Life in general is what encourages me. There’s so much to see, experience and live for. I’ve been through hard times of despair, depression and feelings of hopelessness, only to come out on the other side smiling and laughing.” – Effie K.

32. “My writing. I write about chronically ill characters. It helps me strive to bring awareness and give hope to others.” – Morgan S. R.

33. “Not every day is bad; I look for the little things – like the joy I feel working with our leadership students. It’s small and minute, but so precious. Those moments are worth living for.” – Carolyn H.

34. “This chronic pain page on FB. It is my support group! I love them so dearly! Hugs.” – Judy A.

35. “I keep looking for a way to smile, even when I feel like crying. It can be a child laughing, an old couple holding hands or even a bird trying to catch a bug. Yes, I have days when it’s all too much but I have to just say to myself that tomorrow will be better and I have hope I will find a cure one day.” – Melissa W.

36. “My grandson. I want to watch him grow up. I cannot give up!” – Michelle N.

37. “Maybe it’s funny, but my cat. She needs me for playing, eating, etc. but when I can’t get up from my bed she lays next to me. Quietly. She just looks into my eyes and looks like she understands me and she can feels my pain. Her eyes looks like tells me: I understand you, no problem, it’s OK. Tomorrow will be there for cleaning, playing, washing dishes, etc.” – Brigó N.

38. “My creative pursuits. I’m a writer, photographer, artist. It’s my coping mechanism.” – Courtney S.

39. “I stop, take a breath and remember this is just one moment in one day. It’s not about tomorrow, the next day or the rest of my life. I focus on what I can do to make things better in that moment, accept what I can’t and just focus on getting through that one moment. And then the next…” – Lisa A.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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