The Part of Chronic Illness No One Talks About

When you have a chronic illness or an invisible illness, it can be a lot to bear. One would think it’s just the illness itself and that’s it, but no. There is a lot more to it and not many people talk about it.

Maybe no one mentions it out of fear, or embarrassment, but the truth is, struggling with a chronic illness is a lonely battle. Yes, lonely. You can have a million friends, family, your spouse, everyone trying to support you, but if they aren’t going through it too, then they don’t really understand.

When you try to reach out when you want to talk or when you are in pain or when you simply need someone, you may feel like an inconvenience to others. Everyone else is living their lives and you don’t want to bother them with your same boring story of pain and struggle, no matter how many times they say, “It’s OK, you can call me anytime.”

You may feel like you sound like a broken record with the same story and the same complaints. Therefore, you may feel lonely because you end up not bothering anyone with your complaints. Your chronic illnesses aren’t going anywhere. They are here to stay. In your mind, you worry that eventually your support team will get tired of hearing about how sick you are or how you feel.

It seems at first they always ask you how you feel, then they suddenly stop. They ask you how your doctor appointments went, but then they suddenly stop. If you have procedures done every so often they ask how they are going and then they suddenly stop. So in your mind, you may feel like they are getting tired and bothered of hearing about your illness.

So it can make you uncomfortable talking about it and it can make you a little reserved because you don’t know if they are asking just to ask or because they truly care. So it can make you feel lonely because they just don’t get it. First of all, because some of them are invisible illnesses and they can’t see it, so they can’t really understand what it is exactly you are going through. And second, it can be difficult to get your family, friends, sometimes even your spouse to understand or even be there for you. When you make the brave step and reach out for support and get the cold shoulder, it can make you feel more alone. It is tough for others to understand unless they are going through the same thing.

We try our hardest to explain exactly what it is we are going through, but sometimes we can’t. And to those who actually check up on us and go to appointments and take us to those procedures and surgery dates and check-ups and make sure we take our meds and check up on our mental states, thank you.

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

Photo via Everste on Getty Images

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

Related to Chronic Illness

girl sitting back to back with snowman and text that says ask the mighty

My Family Makes Rude Comments About My Illness During the Holidays. What Should I Do?

In Ask The Mighty, we’re taking questions from Mighty readers and posing them to our chronic illness community. Have a problem you’d like the community’s help with? Email your question to [email protected], and we may select it for a future Mighty advice column. With the holiday season in full swing, you might be spending time [...]
cosmetic bag, folding cane seat and power inverter

17 Products That Can Make Traveling Easier With an Illness or Disability

When you live with a chronic illness or disability, traveling can be challenging. Between packing your medication and medical equipment, managing pain, symptoms or mobility issues, and planning for emergencies that too often come with an unpredictable health condition, the stress and effort can feel overwhelming. Whether you’re visiting family, friends, or an out-of-state specialist, [...]
A woman comforting her friend.

6 Things I Need You to Know About Supporting Me With My Illness

Sometimes struggling with a chronic illness can feel pretty isolating. No matter how much care and love you get from those around you, it can be difficult for a healthy person to understand what it’s like to live with ongoing ill health. So here is my open letter, an attempt to bridge the gap – [...]
Blurred and defocused christmas colorful lights abstract background

The Hope Christmas Lights Bring Me Despite My Chronic Illness

I sit here in my apartment working on homework as finals are quickly approaching, but I take a moment and look at the Christmas lights I recently put up with my roommate. All I can think of is hope and stillness as I look around. Why can’t it be Christmas all year around? As soon as [...]