The Mighty community with chronic illness shares what they mean when they say “I’m tired.”

Read the full version of 17 Things People With Chronic Illness Mean When They Say ‘I’m Tired’.

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What People With Chronic Illness Mean When They Say ‘I’m Tired’

“Most people who are healthy don’t understand that ‘I’m tired’ is a very shortened phrase for us.”

“I don’t want to stop helping you, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to crumble if I do one more thing.”

“Just sitting in a chair is exhausting.”

“When I say ‘I’m tired’ it means I don’t want to talk about it right now.”

“Most of the time it actually means, ‘I know you mean well, but please give me some space. I’d like to be alone.’

“I’m mentally exhausted from having to keep it together on the surface at work, when what I really want to do is scream out loud with the pain.

“It’s usually my go-to response for pain, exhaustion, anxiety, everything.

“When I say I’m tired I mean I can’t keep smiling and acting as if nothing was happening.

“When I say I am tired, it means wherever I am could make a good place to lay down and hopefully sleep.

“I’m out of spoons. Of juice. Of battery.


Having a chronic illness can leave you with free time where you aren’t able to go out and be active, but you still want to challenge your brain. Perhaps it’s a high-pain day and you want to distract yourself, or maybe you’re stuck waiting at a doctor’s appointment. On those days, you probably find yourself reaching for your smartphone for entertainment. Luckily, games you can play on your phone have come a long way since Nokia’s old classic, Snake (ahh, the good old days…).

Not all games are created equal for people with chronic illnesses, as some can be tough to follow on brain fog days or be too loud and bright if you deal with sensory issues. So we asked our chronic illness community which smartphone games they like to play. If you’re looking for a game that will keep you entertained (or even teach you a new skill) without adding more stress to your body, check out their recommendations.

Just so you know, we’ve selected these links to make shopping easier for you. We do not receive any funds from purchases or downloads you make.

1. Fun Hospital — Tycoon

screenshot of fun hospital tycoon game

On Fun Hospital, you can build your own hospital from the ground up. Create a medical team, design treatment rooms, care for patients, and even create or join a union — basically, this is one hospital you’re in complete control of.

“For those who remember the good old Theme Hospital, it is similar and absolutely awesome. It also has a guild system so connecting with other people is easy. Plus a lot of players seem to be chronically ill or work in the medical field,” Sia Seifert said.

Download Fun Hospital — Tycoon for free from Google Play.

2. Clash of Clans

clash of clans

Join a clan (or start your own), fight other clans and defend your village using spells, cannons, walls and more. Since you have to play in a “clan,” the game can be a great way to connect with friends or make new ones.

“I have two different accounts so I can play any time of day, even if my other clansmen aren’t online!” Michelle Boehrs said.

Download Clash of Clans for free from Google Play and iTunes.

3. Disney Tsum Tsum

disney tsum tsum game on phone

Tsum tsums are cute, round versions of Disney characters, and in the tsum tsum game, players can collect tsum tsums and earn points when you get three or more of the same kind. Janine Trala said she prefers this game when brain fog prevents her from playing in-depth puzzle and strategy games.

“The simple Disney games make me feel like I won something and also is something my daughter and I can share!” Trala said. “We compare what emojis or tsum tsum characters we have won with each other. Just one more thing to have in common with her since I can’t do a lot of the physical games.”

Download Disney Tsum Tsum for free from Google Play and iTunes.

4. Duolingo

duolingo app screenshot

If you want to learn a new skill while feeling like you’re playing on your phone, check out Duolingo. Choose from more than 20 languages and play games that teach you vocabulary, grammar, speaking and listening.

“It makes learning a new language fun. The memory aspect helps continue to heal my brain from a concussion,” Jezzika Dee explained.

Download Duolingo for free from MicrosoftGoogle Play and iTunes.

5. Fishdom

fishdom screen shot

“I love aquariums and can’t keep up with them as much as I use to, so this fills the void,” Jessica Clark explained. “It’s like the other match/break shapes games but you win coins to buy fish and decorations for the tanks that you unlock. I love it!”

Download Fishdom for free from Google Play and iTunes.

6. Farmville 2: Country Escape

farmville screen

Even if you’ve never worked on a farm a day in your life, you can become an expert farmer in FarmVille. Harvest crops, bake goodies, raise animals and join a co-op to interact with other farmers.

“I’ve been playing since it’s debut and have even met chronic illness warriors through playing that I’m still Facebook friends with years later,” Bin Thomas said. “When I’m in a ton of pain there’s nothing like a low key distraction to get you through. Also helps to have something to do when brain fog makes it impossible to read.”

Download Farmville 2: Country Escape for free from Google Play and iTunes.

7. Zen Koi

zen koi on phone

This peaceful game allows your koi to chase and eat other fish, breed and create patterned offspring and ultimately transform into dragons.

“It’s such a simple premise but when your koi turns into a dragon it gives a real sense of achievement. And the music is soothing so my anxieties and stress just melt away,” Blythe Varney said.

Download Zen Koi for free from Google Play and iTunes.

8. Covet Fashion

cpvet fashion game screen

In Covet Fashion, you can “shop” for clothes from real brands, create outfits, enter style challenges and vote on other players’ looks. Brittany M. Jones said she loves this game because it allows her to style outfits she wouldn’t be able to wear due to her illness.

“It also allows me to feel like I am going on a shopping spree without leaving my home or spending any money,” Jones added.

Download Covet Fashion for free from Google Play and iTunes.

9. Word Cookies

word cookies screen shot

Word Cookies is essentially a word search, and is a great pick for those looking for a game that builds your vocabulary and puzzle-solving skills.

“It helps my brain stay as sharp as possible and it’s fun and passes the time,” said Deborah McDermitt Castro.

Download Word Cookies for free from Google Play and iTunes.

10. Carcassonne

carcassonne board

Carcassonne is a real board game similar to Settlers of Catan, in which players place tiles featuring parts of a French landscape on the board, connecting features like roads and grasslands. Players then place a meeple on the board, which scores points. iTunes offers a version for your smartphone, no unwieldy board required.

“It’s a simple enough game that I can manage it on my fibro fog days, but challenging enough to be fun all the time,” Kate Winter Davis said.

Download Carcassonne for $9.99 from iTunes.

11. Pinterest

pinterest boards

Pinterest isn’t a game per se, but you can easily get lost in pinning clothes, DIY projects, health advice, memes and more.

“From funny jokes to thought provoking articles and yummy recipes to try on my good days it’s my must-have app,” explained Jessica Urban.

Download Pinterest for free from Google Play and iTunes.

12. Candy Crush Soda Saga

candy crush screen

An oldie but a goodie — match candies to create three in a row or matches of four to create new candies. Jenny Milburn said she likes playing Candy Crush when she’s in a flare because it’s something fun to focus on that isn’t over-stimulating.

“I can turn the volume and brightness all the way down and pop some bottles,” Milburn said.

Download Candy Crush for free from MicrosoftGoogle Play and iTunes.

13. Restaurant Dash with Gordon Ramsay

restaurant dash with gordon ramsay screen shot

If you love to cook but aren’t able to spend as much time in the kitchen as you’d like, chef Gordon Ramsay’s game may be a fun alternative. Visit different kitchens around the world, compete in cooking challenges and battle other players.

“I love cooking alongside Gordon Ramsay,” said Rocio Saavedra.

Download Restaurant Dash with Gordon Ramsay for free from Google Play and iTunes.

14. Egg, Inc.

egg inc screen

Yes, there is an entire game devoted to hatching and selling eggs. It’s laid-back and doesn’t require lots of advanced strategy.

“It’s calming, requires no brain power, has a lovely little jingle, and is super cute!” said Shauna Corr.

Download Egg, Inc. for free from Google Play and iTunes.

15. Wheel of Fortune

wheel of fortune

The classic TV game show is now able to be played on your phone. Spin the wheel, guess letters and solve the puzzle.

“I don’t feel like I’m mindlessly staring at my phone but it’s not that hard,” Sami Higgens said.

Download Wheel of Fortune for free from Google Play and iTunes.

Have a game you love to play? Let us know in the comments below. 

For 13 years I have been under the care of a psychiatrist, and more recently, a cardiologist. I’ve been going to the same dentist’s office for even longer. So it is safe to say that when I find someone I like, I’m loyal for life. They are all some of the best in the business, and I’m extremely grateful for that. My health is complex and requires constant changes and adjustments to medication to keep me going. My doctors are very smart and wise beyond their many years of practice. But it isn’t the great medical care they provide that has been the true gift they have given me, it is the way they see me – as a person, not a condition – that has truly changed my life.


Psychiatry was always something I thought was for other people. I didn’t think I needed it, or deserved it. It seemed like mental health was for other people. But I was 17 years old when I finally had to admit my depression and anxiety were destroying my life, and I finally sought medical help. What happened was both expected and surprising – he put me on medication. That might be expected to most, but I didn’t realize my condition warranted medication, so it was a surprise to me. I thought I was OK. And as far as I knew, that was more than acceptable.

After months of trial and error, I began to see a light I hadn’t been able to see for a very long time. My psychiatrist was always a phone call away, and he always greeted me with genuine interest in how I was doing – in life, in general. He never asked if I was OK, because OK was not good enough for him. I was a human being and, in his eyes, I deserved more than just living a life of acceptably surviving. That wasn’t good enough for him. And when he finally left his practice after 10 years with me, I was heartbroken thinking I was losing the only good doctor in existence. So he referred me to someone who found it equally unacceptable that I might be just OK. My current psychiatrist believes I deserve to feel the best I possibly can, and he doesn’t give up when times get tough – which they most certainly have over the last few years. He has never given up on me, even when I gave up on myself. For that, I am eternally grateful.

When I unexpectedly collapsed at work, the reality that I had a heart problem added a new layer to my already skeptical view of medicine. I thought I had the only good doctors on the planet. But there was one left, hiding out in the cardiology wing of the local hospital. Instead of dismissing my racing heart as “anxiety,” he asked questions about it. Soon he realized I had made a lot of changes to my life to accommodate this all-in-my-head racing heart of mine, and he started running tests. He didn’t accept the easy answer. He didn’t blame my mental health and leave it at that. He saw someone whose life was being affected by something, and he made it his mission to get to the bottom of it.

More medication trial and error meant he was getting emails from me (or panicked phone calls on occasion) about whether or not to increase the dosage, and about side effects, and anything else that came into my brain. But he was unbothered. He viewed it as part of making me well, and giving me my life back. He called to check on me after starting me on new medication. It was a phone call I wasn’t expecting, but he wanted to see how I was doing. For 20 minutes he listened, he asked questions, he cared. He doesn’t assume I’m being dramatic, or needy. He assumes if there is a problem, I am there for him to fix it. He treats me like a sister, with care and concern and a healthy dose of sarcastic wit. He never views me through the lens of being “mentally ill,” and it has meant more than he knows.

Doctors don’t just treat “patients.” We are people. Real people, with real problems, who need real solutions. But above all, we are human. We have insecurities, we get tired, we lose hope. Illness brings with it fear – but not just fears about one’s health. It brings with it fears about the doctors we are putting our lives in front of and asking for help. It’s not easy, for the patient or the doctor. But more medical professionals would do well to follow the example of the few who still view their patients as people – looking for help, for answers, but most of all, for care. Genuine care, beyond the medical textbooks and pharmaceutical samples. Care as a person, not just a name and a condition.

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Thinkstock photo via Ocskaymark.

For those who don’t follow my Facebook page, I live in Texas on the gulf coast and we were just hit by a hurricane. It made landfall hundreds of miles away, but it caused a lot of rain and I do mean a lot. My town was on the national news for receiving the most rain in the shortest amount of time, 50 inches in three days. That’s how much rain we get in an entire year, so as you can imagine, there was significant flooding. Our neighborhood was one of the few that stayed dry (though it got pretty close) so I thought staying up all night three nights in a row was the worst I was going to experience. There are a few things I didn’t think about.

Not Having Access to Medication

I had a doctor appointment scheduled during the flood event, but since the roads were under 12 feet of water I obviously didn’t make it. The office was closed so I was unable to get a prescription called in. I ran out of my most important medication and had no options for getting more. Not only was the doctor’s office closed, there were no pharmacies open either.

This is a huge problem that occurs after a natural disaster that no one talks about. Many people were in worse circumstances than I was. I’m a paranoid person so the minute the water started rising I packed an emergency bag with all my medication in it, but I was lucky because the water rose over several hours. Many of the homes flooded so fast that people were barely able to get out alive, much less with their prescription medication. Now they’re in a shelter going without because there just aren’t enough doctors to keep up with all the medical emergencies.

The Stress Takes a Huge Toll on Your Body

a street flooded after a hurricane

This was our street after the water went down. As I mentioned we had some stressful nights when the water kept rising and rising. The first night we were awake all night because the water got about two-thirds up our driveway (that doesn’t sound that high, but we are built up above the street. It was probably five or six feet of water). There were also multiple tornado warnings so we spent a lot of time huddled in the bathroom. We were on social media at 2:00 a.m. seeing our friends flood in real time. It was awful.

The second night we slept a little bit, but the third night the water came up again. My husband and I slept in shifts so we could keep an eye on the water. It was brutal on my body because I was so stressed I couldn’t relax, not to mention the sleep deprivation. I can’t remember the last time I was in so much pain.

Not Having Access to Medical Supplies

Maybe this is naive of me, but I did not realize that I wouldn’t be getting mail for weeks (as of right now, a week after the storm, there is no date set for when we’ll get mail again). I buy all my medical supplies on Amazon, and now I have no access to them. I ran out of the pads for my TENS device as well as electrodes for my Quell device. For now I’m trying to stretch my last pair of pads far beyond how they should be stretched. If I could do things over again, the minute I heard about a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico I would order all my supplies, whether I needed them or not. Because now I have no medication and my pain devices are useless. Don’t be like me, think ahead.

You Feel Helpless When It Comes Time for Recovery

cleaning up after a hurricane

This is what flood clean-up looks like. Only picture this pile in front of every house on the street. After surviving a 1,000 year flood event without a scratch, I felt guilty. So many people around us lost absolutely everything. I wanted to go out and help, but as always my body wouldn’t let me do as much as I wanted to. I was able to help clean out two flooded houses as well as do laundry for people who were flooded, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to be out there every day helping, but I couldn’t. I hate feeling helpless on any regular day, but this was far from regular. I do not want to sit around while people are struggling, but I have to.

I hope I never have to go through this again and I certainly hope that none of my readers have to experience something like this. In case you do though, keep some of these things in mind. Learn from my mistakes!

This post originally appeared on Chronic Mom.

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Thinkstock photo via Citysqwirl.

Oh! It’s so hard to stay upbeat. It’s so hard being positive when your chronic illness really sucks! Day in and day out, some good days, some days not good at all.

Occasionally, I lose the plot. Then I get down and frustrated. It think it happens to everyone who lives with chronic illness. After my most recent visit to the hospital for an overnight stay, I thought I might just try to find some humor wherever I can!


Now hospital visits usually happen without any planning. We are living in a tiny home so I don’t have lots of storage space. So I don’t have a pre-packed hospital bag in readiness. But I am now going to prepare a list to make it a bit easier for my husband. My brain is usually in “high brain fog” state when I get admitted, so my communication skills sometimes go a bit awry.

My husband empties out my swimming bag and puts in what I need for the hospital. This last time, I found some interesting things still in my bag when I was packing up to come home: my goggles, my swimming cap, my nose clamp thing… Luckily, my pull buoy wasn’t still tucked in the bottom of the bag. But, I did find my supply of almonds that live in my bag to eat after a long swim.

Here are some of the things I have discovered are essentials to include. They needed to be added to the usual toiletries, PJs, slippers, dressing gown, iPad, phone, book, charger etc. I also need:

1. My fluorescent swimming ear plug putty. Hospitals are so noisy and the snoring of roommates can rapidly destroy your equanimity.

When I was placed into a mixed ward I would have found these useful for blocking out the gas noises from my male roommates, and the sound of the urine bottles being filled up in the middle of the night.

2. Flip-flops. The last two hospital stays have been interesting in the shared bathrooms. I want my waterproof flip-flops for protection.

3. Fruit, mandarins, some tiny tomatoes and some nuts. There’s often not food I can eat. So I am now going to take a packed lunch with an ice pack.

5. A pick-up extender arm. I can never reach the cabinet or all the things I need from my bed. I am not always in a “get-out-of-bed-able” state.

6. A sleep mask! Curtains don’t always close, lights in hallways are always on… The less I see at night, the better! I am going to make a new pair with a set of big cat eyes on the outer surface in glow-in-the-dark fabric!

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

Thinkstock photo via DAJ.

Author Toni Bernhard shares six common things people believe about having a chronic illness that aren’t true.

Read the full version of 6 Common Misconceptions About People With Chronic Illnesses.

Read the full transcript:

6 Common Misconceptions About People With Chronic Illnesses

Misconception #1: The way a person looks reflects how he or she is feeling physically.

The truth is… there I am, “looking great,” while my body is pulsating with flu-like symptoms.

Misconception #2: If people’s mental state makes them feel worse physically, than their chronic illness cannot possibly be physically based.

The next time you feel under stress — can you feel that your muscles have tightened?

A person’s mental state can easily exacerbate the physical symptoms of chronic illness.

Misconception #3: “Radical rest” will assure that the chronically ill will feel better than if they didn’t rest.

Resting may increase the odds that I’ll be less sick than usual on the day of the event, but it’s no guarantee.

Misconception #4: If chronically ill people are enjoying themselves, they must feel OK.

People who are chronically ill have learned to put up with the symptoms of illness.

Misconception #5: Stress reduction techniques are a cure for chronic pain and illness.

Stress reduction techniques can be effective symptom relief, but they are not a cure.

Misconception #6: Being home all day is a dream lifestyle.

Is being home all day feeling sick and in pain a dream lifestyle? I think not.

I hope that, someday soon, we can say these are six uncommon misconceptions.

Written By Toni Bernhard

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