9 Positive Aspects of Living With Chronic Illness

The list of things that can go wrong when you have any disability is beyond long. Here are 10 positives that can come from our struggling. After spending my entire childhood and adulthood in and out the hospital, I’ve learned a few bits of wisdom at a young age.

1. Stillness. I’ve learned to be still in all sorts of situations. What’s important is that I’ve learned to stop and observe my surroundings. I’ve learned to observe people, and I learned to talk to myself. I don’t always need input, I just enjoy the quite within.

2. I tend to not dwell on time. While it is easy to focus on time lost due to chronic health issues, I’ve also learned to not focus too far ahead, and not to dwell too deeply in the past. I’ve learned to appreciate small moments of joy, a smile or kindness from a stranger.

3. I learned to laugh. Of course laugh, but most importantly at myself. Knowing that life is short and fragile, I don’t always take myself so seriously.

4. Social norms fly out the window. After being poked and prodded, naked and helpless, I tend not to care about social faux pas. Messed up eyeliner? So what. I’ve realize I am far from perfect, and have no expectations for others to be perfect either.

5. Empathy. Because I have been through the ringer a time or two, I am able to relate to others’ struggling in ways some may not. I’ve learned to understand others’ pain, because I too have pain.

6. Disabled parking. OK, I said it. It’s a super nice feature.

7. Adventurous in nature. While the world of health care may weigh me down, I tend to want to try new things. I know all too well that the next day may be too hard to get out of bed. Now, the ability to be adventurous may be something entirely different.

8. The will to live is strong within me. While I may feel like everything is a battle, even the simplest of tasks, my will to live is out of this world. I may be a three-legged turtle with one eye, but I’ll be damned if I don’t want to live. That is why I make sure to take care of myself, advocate and maintain all my visits and surgeries.

9. Friends in odd places. Because I spend a lot of time with the doctors, hospitals, home health, ERs and support groups, I tend to make friends in the weirdest of situations. It may be depressing that an ER knows me on a first name basis, but it’s also super comforting to have an alley when things are at their worst.

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

Photo via paperteacup on Getty Images

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

Related to Chronic Illness

three fuzzy hot water bottle covers and stuffed sloth

19 Cute Comfort Items You'll Want on Days You're Stuck in Bed

Living with chronic pain, fatigue and discomfort from illness or a disability means making yourself a comfortable spot on the couch or in bed isn’t just a fun thing to do when you’re home on a cold day — it’s often a necessity. When you’re in a flare or in a lot of pain you [...]

How We Handled My Major Surgeries to Help My Kids Cope

I had my leg amputated in 2014. During that time, I was in the hospital for a total of six weeks. My son was only 2, so he doesn’t remember it, but my daughter was 4 and remembers it like it was yesterday. It amazes me all the details she can remember. I will never [...]
woman cuddling with her husband on the couch in front of the fireplace

To the Amazing Husband Behind This Chronically Ill Wife

Behind every great man is a great woman, or so the saying goes. Let’s flip that on its head a little. Behind this chronically ill wife is an amazing husband. A husband who has become a full-time carer. A husband who has gone beyond the call of duty. A husband who has become my legs, [...]
kumail nanjiani's photos of hospital badge and phone number

Kumail Nanjiani Tweets About Watching Wife Emily Gordon Fight Undiagnosed Illness

In the time between first feeling symptoms and getting a diagnosis, there’s a range of emotions that might come up — for not only the person who is sick, but their loved ones as well. Watching someone you love battle an illness, without a diagnosis or any idea of what will happen next, can be [...]