The Pep Talk I Give Myself When My Illness Makes Me Feel Angry


Living with a chronic illness is hard, scary, and sometimes even isolating. Sometimes, the burden of illness leaves our bodies hurting, our hearts a little broken, and the rest of us angry.

It’s OK to feel angry. Living with an illness is hard, and unfair.

Sometimes I need a pep talk. This is what I tell myself:

Feel the anger – never suppress it, but never, ever harbor it. Do not give it a home. It will live in you like a fire — it will burn through you. It will torch all the goodness inside of you. It will leave you with an emptiness that is unavoidable. It will deplete you of your strength and mask your heart with a heavy blackness.

You do not want to be bitter. Bitterness is the worst kind of sickness.

There is peace inside you, somewhere. You just have to find it. And I know that right now you feel too tired to dig for it; but don’t you remember how sweet laughter is? Don’t you remember how warm the sun feels?

There is another life your bitterness is allowing you to avoid. It is distracting you — pulling you away from blue skies and quiet Sundays.

I understand that the mornings are painful, but you are breathing; and more importantly, you are breathing on your own. Don’t ever, for one second, disregard this notion and its value.

Do not allow the chaos of the present moment trick you into thinking it is permanent. It will pass. The dust will settle, but it will cover you. It will disguise you in a color you don’t remember being before. But the rain will soon come down, as it always does, and wash you clean. And you will be new, you will be stronger.

This life has been difficult, but it has forced you to become who you are. All of your suffering has taught you the irrefutable value of kindness and compassion. Now you hold in your heart a delicate understanding of pain. This is a strength. This gives you soul. It dictates the rhythm of your heartbeat.

You know all too well that the heart is the first muscle bitterness corrupts. It will seep in and change you. Your heart won’t sing the same song anymore.

Love yourself through the pain. Trust the struggle. Trust that the rain will come and wash you clean. Feel the anger — but don’t you dare give it a home.

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