woman in a mobility scooter at the zoo next to woman with an oxygen tube in her nose at the airport

“Spoonie,” a term often used within the chronic illness community, refers to someone who has limited energy reserves because of their condition. This comes from Christine Miserandino’s “spoon theory,” which many find helpful for explaining what it feels like to live with chronic illness.

However, it is often still difficult for others to truly understand the experience unless they have been chronically ill themselves. There are many harmful stigmas and misconceptions surrounding lifelong illness – for instance, many aren’t believed because they don’t “look sick” or are accused of faking because they were seen outside on a “good” day. These accusations can easily dissuade people from talking about their illness or posting on social media out of fear of judgment or a lack of understanding.

The reality is, if a spoonie posts something about their health journey, they’re probably just trying to be honest about their life or even hoping to raise awareness of their illness – not “seeking attention.” And if they post something non-health-related, it in no way detracts from the very real struggles they face daily.

Bottom line: We should all be able to post whichever photos we want to share without fears of the repurcussions. So, we asked spoonies in our Mighty community to share photos they wanted to post on Facebook, but didn’t. All the spoonies in these photos demonstrate what it looks like to be a warrior.

Here’s what the community shared with us:

1. “I have to wear a mask because I don’t have an immune system as well as I am very allergic to smells. The guy sitting next to me on the plane told the flight attendant he wanted to switch seats because he ‘didn’t want to die from whatever I was carrying. I wanted to post this on Facebook and Snapchat to show I can still look great even though I’m sick. But I decided not to. No one ever asks why you’re wearing a mask. They just assume the worst and don’t think about your feelings in the process. I choose to rock my mask.” – Elizabeth D.

woman wearing a face mask on a plane

2. “This is one of my holiday pics. I don’t post them because I am scared I will be accused of faking my illnesses. I have stopped to rest and catch my breath. I have EGPA vasculitis, heart damage and my lungs are failing.
It’s so horrible that I cannot just try to enjoy the days where I’m not at my worst as they are few and far between.” – Stacey T.

woman in a sun dress and sunglasses on vacation at the beach

3. “I was in the hospital for the fourth time that month for pain from endometriosis. I’d had so many IVs and blood draws that I was out of good veins. After four people attempted to insert an IV in six different locations, a nurse said the vein in my neck looked perfect and untouched. As you can see, I was not thrilled about having an IV in my throat.” – Shanée A.

woman lying in a hospital bed

4. “While this looks peaceful, I was in the middle of a really bad vertigo episode (I have Meniere’s disease) and could barely walk to the bathroom without falling over. My cats constantly hang out on the foot of my bed when I’m not feeling well.” – Brandi V.

cats sitting on the end of the bed

5. “In this picture I’m battling nerves that feel like static, a low-grade fever, horrible spasms and terrible exhaustion from my fibromyalgia. I hadn’t moved from my bed in hours and I honestly just couldn’t get the pain to go away. So I wrapped in my favorite blanket and held onto my comfort stuffed animal just to try to feel better. I’m now on day three of this round of flare. People don’t see the pain I go through. They only see an 18-year-old who lays in bed all day… if only they knew why.” – Connor D.

man lying in bed with his blanket and stuffed animal

6. “Here is my Foley catheter that I’ve had in for a month and counting. I took this picture to document my life with chronic Lyme disease. I would love to share it to my public Facebook page ‘Fight Lyme for Life’ because it shows the reality of Lyme disease, but since it’s literally pee in a bag, I thought it was too personal. We all go to the bathroom, but I thought I would definitely regret putting that up, even though it’s just real life and educating others about how this disease affects me and others.” – Cassidy S.

urine in a bag from foley catheter

7. “This photo [is] of me wearing my oxygen at the airport. I struggle with long distances and the oxygen helps! I was told it was ’embarrassing’ by someone and so not to post it. I have to admit that hurt a lot. I wanted to post it to show it’s not just the elderly who use oxygen. But those comments made me change my mind. I wish I’d posted it though!” – Yasmin M.

woman wearing oxygen at the airport

8. “This is a pic from right now actually. I’m in the hospital from once a month (on a really good month) to five times on a bad one, each time for about five days, sometimes less and sometimes more. For every time people know I’m here, there’s five other times they don’t. I wonder what would happen if people knew everything. I wish I could share everything so maybe they’d understand a bit more and be able to give me the support I need. Unfortunately this situation is very isolating and lonely and the more I try to share what I feel and need, the more it just pushes people away.” – Ye’ela B.

woman lying in a hospital bed

9. “My first infusion of the medication that will hopefully put me in remission. I was terrified sitting in the cancer center with a bunch of strangers and feeling nauseous and in pain from my Crohn’s.” – Amy C.

woman in the infusion center

10. “[My] flatmate asked, ‘Were you out last night?’ I just laughed and replied, ‘Ran out of spoons trying get up to the flat.’ They replied, ‘But it’s only two steps…’ You can imagine the rest.” – Andrew R.

man with scratches and bruises on his face

11. “The realities of chronic illness! I get severe bloating after eating. My GI said he suspects a motility disorder and generally diagnosed functional dyspepsia while waiting for results of various testing, including an endoscopy, colonoscopy, and probably a gastric emptying study. The most likely candidate is gastroparesis. I also have a whole line-up of chronic illnesses including Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.” – Jadzia D. R.

woman's stomach bloating after a meal

12. “My daily med regime when I’m at my peak crappiness.” – Raquel N.

medications and pill bottles

13. “Going to the Brookfield zoo while having a flare-up. [I was] nauseated and dizzy but managed a few hours… I stopped posting on social media about my issues. No one believes someone who looks great on the outside but [feels like they’re] slowly dying on the inside… like, what is a chronic illness supposed to look like?” – Isabel Z.

woman in a mobility scooter at the zoo

14. “Getting ready for my 14th or 15th surgery probably when they had to rush me to take out my appendix and necrotic right ovary that lupus was destroying. This was after they had to take my uterus out for the very same reason along with terrible fibroids and uterine cysts. I’m not a person who likes to feel vulnerable and I didn’t post it because I didn’t want to show that side of me to the world.” – Joyll C.

woman wearing hair net and oxygen tube in the hospital

15. “Doctors don’t know why I’m in pain every single day [and] I have migraines every single day. The pic is me waiting for more than eight hours. I had aphasia and didn’t [get] solved, so I had to be hospitalized for observation. My boyfriend came to the rescue after work.” – Athaliah L.

woman wearing glasses and frowning in a selfie with a guy

16. “This is a photo with the left side being the fifth day of a nine/10 migraine and the right being a ‘good’ day where my pain was about a six. In the first photo I hadn’t been able to brush my hair for a week, I couldn’t see, my face was blotchy and my eyes were swollen and painful. I wanted to share to show that in both photos I am sick. If I look sick or not, it doesn’t change the fact that every day is an uphill struggle. My chronic illness is invisible but it still exists. I never ended up sharing it because I was afraid of being judged.” – Jess C.

photo of a woman with migraine next to photo of woman on a 'good' day

17. “Just driving trying to get away… I turn red, hot and sweaty like if I’m working out.” – Kelly D. E.

woman driving in her car

18. “I was in the ER with no magnesium and low potassium and my heart was erratic. I also was suffering a fungal infection and was very sick. I took the pic because I was worried it would be my last one.” – Naima W.

woman in the ER with pads stuck to her chest

19. “This one only took five tries in five different locations on my hands and arms. Sigh.” – Graves N.

man with an IV in his arm

20. “Because I’m fighting for disability, I know every move is being watched. So even though this took every ounce of strength and energy, and ruined my fingers, wrists, knees and shoulders, I desperately wanted to feel for a brief moment like my old self. So I did it. And I paid for it. But if I post this publicly, I run the risk of people (and the federal government) claiming that because I posted this one picture of me using everything I have just to feel in control again, I am somehow able to work full-time.” – Charis H.

woman climbing on ropes at the beach

21. “Lying on the bathroom floor because the walk from my bed to go have a shower was too painful and exhausting. People only see the happy, good side but that doesn’t mean our chronic pain isn’t real.” – Jasmine B.

woman lying down on the ground

22. “Shoot, I post mine, anyway! Here’s me having to sit down for a break after a shower made me feel like I would pass out. Posted it. We need to stop letting others make us feel ashamed of our illness and share our lives, regardless. Healthy people do it all the time. This is our reality. We live it every day, but we hide it from our friends and family. We go around saying, ‘the people close to me don’t understand’ but then we’re posting our best faces on Facebook all the time and not sharing the majority of what we actually go through. It’s no wonder they don’t understand!” – Vanessa B.

woman sitting down after taking a shower

23. “The picture seems like I’m having fun and having a laugh, yet if I didn’t laugh, I [would] cry. I cried many tears that day. Trying to get a nurse to understand what relapsing polychondritis is and trying to explain over and over to many of them the isolation of a rare disease. Sometimes I just had to laugh because I just couldn’t face the reality of being hooked up to an IV every two weeks for possibly the rest of my life. Yet to the outsider I look like any other 30-year-old.” – Bernie P. H.

woman making a silly face at her monitor in the hospital

24. “Waking up exhausted. Trying to decide if expending any energy on my hair is worth it.” – Nicola D. J.

woman in t-shirt with unbrushed hair

25. “I was having so much fun for once. But my meds have caused me to gain a lot of weight.” – Carlie C.

woman posing in front of angel wings graffiti

26. “Puffy, tired and flushed from chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme. Went out for breakfast with hubby anyway.” – Karen W. N.

woman dressed up to go out to brunch with her husband

27. “Hair falling out after treatments, face and neck completely blistered and burning, face swollen from steroids. This is home, when the makeup comes off.” – Spoonie Strength

woman with scarf around her head

RELATED VIDEOS


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!

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

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.

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

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!

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

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.


I have some chronic illnesses that doctors haven’t figured out yet. I’m extremely exhausted all the time, I have muscle weakness and lot of pain, especially in my legs. The cane I was using wasn’t working well enough and I had to use motorized carts anytime I went out to a store.

A few weeks ago I got a four-wheel walker and it’s changed my life. I can walk a lot more, be more independent! It’s great!! Instead of my mom having to help me get up or help support me as I walk, I can use my walker. I can go outside more, and am more likely to be able to fix myself a snack. It’s awesome!

woman sitting on her four-wheel walker

I may only be 21, but this walker has made a huge difference in my life. I’m able to be a little more independent which makes a huge difference.

If you have any struggles similar to mine or even different than mine and think a mobility aid (cane, walker, etc.) may help you, go for it. Your age doesn’t matter because age is just a number anyways. If you’re younger like me, that doesn’t make you any less worthy. It could have the possibility to change your life and that’s so much more important than others thinking you’re “weird” or give you weird looks.

This post originally appeared on Spoonie Life.

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

Real People. Real Stories.

8,000
CONTRIBUTORS
150 Million
READERS

We face disability, disease and mental illness together.