4 Things I Learned While Growing Up With Multiple Chronic Illnesses

When you hear some people talk about the transition phase for when they become diagnosed with a chronic illness, they talk about how hard it is getting used to their new self. I could not imagine living a “normal” life, then suddenly that comes to a screeching halt. My experience is not that, for I truly do not remember a time without any of my illnesses and I am just in my early 20s.

Here are a few things I have learned from growing up and now as an adult living with multiple chronic illnesses:

1. You do not owe anyone an explanation for the version of your life they look in on. With having a chronic illness that is invisible, there will be times that people will question some aspect of your life. From things like, “Why are you going out with friends? I thought you were sick.” To, “Should you really be doing that?” Or my personal favorite, “Are you not better yet?” These people are on the outside looking in, and do not know the full picture. You do not have to explain the full picture to them either.

2. You have to make peace with your body. Granted, that is easier said than done as when you live with chronic illness because your body seems broken. Do not criticize it for having a flare, getting sick, etc. Learn to praise the little victories, and the strengths. Celebrate that you were able to get out of bed.

3. You learn to truly appreciate the good days. Now that every day is not a good day, one learns to utilize the good days as much as possible. You now cherish those days that can be spent with friends or family, doing activities for yourself, having a glimpse at normal life again. These are days that are looked forward to even though if you over exert yourself, as you know it the back of your mind the next couple days will be spent paying for it.

4. You see the world with more compassion. As someone fighting invisible illnesses, there are times when people will not show much compassion to you because they can not “see” you are sick. This can be very frustrating, so make it priority to remember that everyone is fighting some kind of battle. You do not know if the people you interact with on a daily basis are fighting an invisible illness as well. Just because you can not see it, does not mean it is not there.

Do not forget, we are all warriors.

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