10 'Supernatural' Quotes That Encourage Me on Tough Days With Chronic Illness
For many years, “Supernatural” has meant more to me than, well, most things. That may sound a bit ridiculous, since it’s just a TV show, but those of you who are also in the SPN fandom know it’s so much more than “just a show.” I could write novels detailing the impact the show, the characters, the cast and crew and the fandom have had on me; my life has been radically changed in more ways than I can name.
But one of the most important ways “Supernatural” has affected me has been the encouragement the show has given me during times I’ve struggled with illness. I have several chronic health conditions, including an autoimmune disease and migraine, and also face mental health challenges like depression and anxiety. Whether I’m lying on the couch dealing with too much pain and fatigue to move, or can’t get out of bed because depression is holding me back, “Supernatural” has always been there for me. No matter what symptoms or trials I’m facing, no matter where I am in the world, all I need to do is turn on an episode of the show, and I’m home.
I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes and moments from the show that I turn to on my darkest days. These words remind me to always keep fighting (#AKF), and that I’m strong enough to handle anything life throws my way. After all, if Sam, Dean and Cas can battle heaven, hell, angels, demons, monsters and 13 (now 14) seasons of Big Bads, surely I can handle that next injection, right?
Here are the 10 “Supernatural” quotes that encourage me on my toughest days:
Dean: “What if I said I didn’t want to die yet? That I wasn’t ready? The life I live, the work I do… I pretty much just figured that’s all there was to me. Tear around, jam the key in the ignition, and haul ass till I ran out of gas. I guess I just thought that sooner or later I’d go out the same way that I live. Pedal to the metal and that’d be it. But now, I don’t know. There’s things… people… feelings that I want to experience differently than I have before, or maybe even for the first time. I’m just starting to think that maybe there’s more to it all than I thought.”
– Season 10, Episode 16
When you live with chronic illness, you tend to be more acquainted with your mortality than most. Like Dean, most of the time I go along with my life, knowing my illness may eventually get worse or ultimately bring about complications that could result in my demise (though hopefully not for many, many decades!). However, there are times when I get really sick or experience a very scary symptom that suddenly shocks me and reminds me just how fragile life can be.
Although this can be scary, and my mental health definitely takes a hit, I also try to take these moments as learning opportunities. I remind myself that life is precious, and I should be living each day to the fullest, because there’s no guarantee about how much time we may have.
Frank: “Decide to be fine until the end of the week. Make yourself smile, because you’re alive and that’s your job. Then do it again the next week.”
– Season 7, Episode 11
Of all the great lines the main characters have said, this jewel from Frank Devereaux has stuck in my mind, verbatim, for years. In this scene, he’s giving Dean advice about how to simply get by after you’ve experienced something awful or traumatic. How will I survive this? is a question I’ve often found myself asking. How will I manage to get through the rest of my life dealing with a bunch of unpredictable and challenging health conditions? It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and make myself even sicker thinking about it like that. So, I think back to Frank, and decide I’m just going to do it, and everything will be OK. One week at a time.
Dean: “Must be rough… to believe in something so much and have it disappoint you like that.”
Layla: “I’m OK. Really. I guess if you’re gonna have faith, you can’t just have it when the miracles happen. You have to have it when they don’t.”
– Season 1, Episode 12
Hope and faith can be tricky things when you live with a chronic illness. In the big picture, I always hold onto hope that there will be new treatments will be made available to help me better manage my illnesses, and I have faith that one day, even if it’s not in my lifetime, there will be cures. But on a more day-to-day basis, I try to have faith in my doctors and in my medications and treatment regimens. I hold onto the hope that each day will be better. It can be hard to maintain this hope and this faith, especially when I’m in the middle of a flare-up, and nothing seems to be helping – but that’s when it’s most important for me to hold tight, and remember that hope and faith aren’t meant for only the good days.
Sarah: “There’s always a chance of getting hurt.”
Sam: “I’m not talking about a broken heart and a tub of Haagen Dazs. I’m talking about life and death.”
Sarah: “And tomorrow I could get hit by a bus. That’s what life is. Look, I know losing somebody you love – it’s terrible. You shut yourself off. Believe me, I know. But when you shut out pain, you shut out everything else too.”
– Season 1, Episode 19
When I’m in the midst of a pain flare, I would give just about anything to make it go away; sometimes I just wish I couldn’t feel anything at all. Even though these high levels of pain aren’t exactly “normal,” I personally find it comforting to remind myself that pain, like other sensations, is a part of being human. This doesn’t lessen my pain in any way of course, but I do stop trying to “fight” my pain and concentrate instead on how grateful I am to experience other sensations, like joy, or love.
Dean: “You know, who cares where happiness comes from? Look, we’re all a little weird, we’re all a little wacky – some more than others – but… if it works, it works.”
– Season 9, Episode 12
Happiness comes in a variety of shapes and forms, and it can sometimes take a bit of searching to find what floats your boat. For those of us with chronic illness, we not only have to look for things that make us happy – we have to find things that are within our limitations and abilities. I love to go on long hikes, but in reality, that’s more of a theoretical thing. I just physically can’t.
Sometimes, the things we find that end up making us happy are, as Dean says, maybe a little weird or a little wacky. I mean, hey, clearly I’ve got quite the obsession with a certain fictional TV show. But who cares? As long as it makes you happy, that’s what’s important.
Castiel: “Perhaps I’ve been down here with them for too long. There is seemingly nothing but chaos, not all bad comes from it. Art, hope, love, dreams.”
Hannah: “But those are human things.”
– Season 10, Episode 1
This quote is similar in some ways to #4. Although being a human inherently comes with chaos, as well as pain, grief, anger and sorrow, the flip side is that, like Cas says, it also comes with art, hope, love and dreams. Hannah, another angel, looks down upon all these things as “messy” and “lesser than” because they are human. And sure, maybe experiencing pain and grief and so many ups and downs is complicated and tough, but I believe there is so much beauty in the chaos, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dean: “Cas, we’re getting out of here. We’re going home.”
Castiel: “Dean, I can’t.”
Dean: “You can. Benny, tell him.”
Benny: “Purgatory has an escape hatch, but I got no idea if it’s angel-friendly.”
Dean: “We’ll figure it out… And if Leviathan want to take a shot at us, let ‘em. We ganked those bitches once before. We can do it again.”
– Season 8, Episode 2
If you’re not familiar with “Supernatural,” this quote about Purgatory and Leviathan probably seems to have absolutely nothing to do with health. And so it almost feels silly how vulnerable I feel sharing the impact this quote has had (and continues to have) on me.
Here, Dean is filled with such unbridled confidence that he, Benny and Cas can escape Purgatory no matter what obstacles land in their way. Benny and Cas are less than sure, but Dean just radiates confidence and a willingness to fight anything and everything to save himself and his friends. This quote, and Dean’s energy in this scene, is honestly what pushes me through on a lot of days when I want to give up. I’ve done this before. I can sure as hell do it again.
Dean: “Keep grinding. No matter how much it hurts, no matter how hard it gets, you gotta keep grinding. And that’s how we’re gonna win.”
– Season 11, Episode 15
I like this variation of the phrase “keep going” because life with chronic illness so often feels like a grind. Most days, it’s not fun or pleasant, and involves a lot of enduring symptoms, waiting for appointments, calling around to doctors and insurance companies, pacing, finding a routine that helps you best manage your condition(s)… it’s a slow, lifelong process. But no matter what, you keep on grinding.
Dean: “So, what’s, uh… what’s next? ‘Cause no fun, right? Look, before you say anything, I get it. No amount of fun is gonna help you get over what you gave up. You just… you need time, right?”
Sam: “Yeah. Thanks. And you’re right. Having fun won’t help me. It’ll help both of us. Shall we?”
– Season 8, Episode 11
In this scene, Sam and Dean dress up in full costume and participate in a LARP battle – including Dean inspiring his fellow warriors by reciting the speech from “Braveheart.” It’s a goofy scene, obviously meant to inspire laughs, but I think the reminder about having fun is so important.
On my darkest days when I’m battling horrible symptoms, it’s easy for me to get caught up in a downward spiral of depression, anger, self-pity and grief. There’s no way around it: being chronically ill sucks. But that doesn’t mean life is all bad. In fact, there’s still so much joy and love and laughter to be had, and I perhaps savor those even more because of my health conditions. This scene of Sam and Dean letting go for a little while and just doing something silly reminds me just how powerful a little fun and humor can be when you’re struggling.
“Carry on my wayward son / There’ll be peace when you are done / Lay your weary head to rest / Don’t you cry no more.”
– Lyrics by Kansas
Not technically a “quote” from the show, but as any fan knows, this lyric is as quintessentially “Supernatural” as it gets. Played during “The Road So Far” (or the recap) segment every season finale (except for season 1, of course, when it was played during the penultimate episode), it’s pretty much the theme song of the show. As the song plays, the recap looks back at how far the boys have come, how much evil they have fought and defeated and how many lives they have saved. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind, but it’s important to take time every so often to remember just how much you have accomplished.
The lyrics themselves, like many quotes throughout the show, reminder me to keep going, to keep fighting, to carry on, even when the going gets tough. They acknowledge that I’m “weary” from fighting for so long, but offer comfort by promising that one day I will find peace and rest. I don’t know what that will look like – but I choose not to give it too much concrete meaning, and simply hope that, however difficult today is, tomorrow will be better.
Lead photo via Supernatural Facebook page. Screenshots via Netflix.