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50 'Chronic Illness Confessions' as We Transition Out of Quarantine

A few weeks ago I put a “quarantine confessions” question box in my Instagram stories, and I was blown away by the vulnerability and authenticity shared with me in the responses. It’s this willingness to be so honest, open and fearless that makes our community incredibly special (on @mindfulmigraine, come say hi!).

I hope as you scroll through this list you feel a little bit less alone. I have been navigating so many feelings around the transition from “strict quarantine” or “shelter-in-place” to the lifting of these stay-at-home orders. As this process has been nearing, I’ve struggled to hold space for the mixed emotions of relief and hope for the economy, sadness about the deep ramifications and grief this global health crisis from the coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused, and my own personal emotions around the transition back towards “normal” life.

For me, quarantine has been full of paradoxical feelings. As tragic as the reason behind these measures has been, there is no denying that in many ways, it has eased some of the pressure that exists navigating living with chronic illness — partially lifting omnipresent stress of being homebound due to my health and feeling like I am missing out on life or letting others down.

It has also highlighted the massive discrepancy between what “healthy home all day” and “sick home all day” looks like. Noticing how different these two situations are has prompted me to soften my feelings about the mountain of pain and the myriad of varying symptoms I navigate on a daily basis.

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel about transitioning out of quarantine. I hope that in sharing this list of “confessions” from chronic illness warriors, you will be reminded that somewhere in the world, there is probably someone else feeling whatever is coming up for you in their own heart too.

A banner promoting The Mighty's new Spoonie Life Hacks group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Make life with chronic illness a little bit easier. Join the Spoonie Life Hacks group to get tips from other spoonies for tackling everyday tasks — and share your own hacks! Click to join.

So, drop the guilt, scroll down and give yourself a permission slip to feel however you need to feel. Everything is allowed here. This is a confusing, unprecedented time — and the only thing you “should” be doing is being extra kind to yourself as you do your best to navigate it.

Tell me how you feel about the quarantine lifting?

  1. “I’m worried about how down I’ll feel when everyone else goes back to normal.”
  2. “Wishing my partner could always work from home.”
  3. “I’m worried that the ways in which things have become more accessible will end — phone appointments, zoom hangouts, larger number of online courses at my college…”
  4. “I feel so much better physically being forced to be at home all the time. My body needs this.”
  5. “I’m scared of how lonely I will be when my family returns to work.”
  6. “I’m afraid of feeling guilty when people start wanting to plan get togethers and I still can’t because of my health.”
  7. “I don’t feel ready for the loneliness.”
  8. “It’s been so confusing emotionally; nothing’s changed but everything’s changed.”
  9. “Nervous because when my job re-opens, I might need to stand my ground to protect my health and not go in.”
  10. “I’m dreading the transition of getting used to spending so much time alone in my house again after having my partner’s company during the day.”
  11. “I’m scared that it is going to make me mad to see everyone else go back to normal and still feel so stuck. It makes me feel like I want to give up.”
  12. “I’m going to miss work break hugs and lunch time walks with my partner.”
  13. “I’m not excited for the FOMO to return.”
  14. “I’ve felt so much more ‘normal’ during quarantine — I know I’ll feel alone again when it changes.”
  15. “I’m worried to go back to work after work from home. I rely on public transportation and it’s already a struggle with POTS.”
  16. “I will totally feel guilty saying ‘no’ to social events again. Shame will come back with it too…”
  17. “I don’t want to go back to long, empty days at home managing my symptoms alone.”
  18. “I feel guilty, but quarantine has been a relief for me in so many ways.”
  19. “Quarantine has eased stress and my chronic migraine symptoms so much that I don’t want it to end.”
  20. “It’s hard knowing that my quarantine will not end when it does for my friends.”
  21. “I’m so worried for my parents to go back to work; I don’t want them sick since they are old.”
  22. “I don’t want to feel like the ‘only one’ homebound again.”
  23. “I’m scared that others’ carelessness will make me have to stay home longer.”
  24. “After isolation it will be much more difficult to avoid many of the triggers that are easy to avoid at the moment.”
  25. “I’m going to miss having my hubby at home when he goes back to the office.”
  26. “I already feel left out imagining how everyone will be celebrating doing ‘normal’ things and my world will stay the same.”
  27. “I don’t want to go back to having to handle my symptoms all by myself, every day, alone in my house.”
  28. “It’s been hard to listen to my friends complain about having to give things up because of quarantine that my health has forced me to give up for years.”
  29. “I am worried about increased exposure to the virus with my compromised immune system when quarantine lifts.”
  30. “I wish that I had a ‘normal’ outside of the house that I was looking forward to returning to.”
  31. “Quarantine has made school so much easier. I’ve been so much more engaged with my work. Worried about the future.”
  32. “I’ve finally felt not left out when everyone else has had to be home. I know when it changes I’ll feel sad again.”
  33. “Even life in quarantine feels like too much on so many days. I don’t feel up to handling ‘real life’ again.”
  34. “I don’t want to go back to feeling pressure to socialize when I am not physically up for it.”
  35. “I don’t feel like it’s too different from my usual life, but my son isn’t in school which has been harder for me!”
  36. “I’m going to miss the open space in my life that FOMO had previously taken up.”
  37. “This has been so much easier for my migraines than regular life — and I don’t want to go back…”
  38. “I’m scared my friends and family won’t understand the protective measures I need to take for my health once the rules start to change.”
  39. “I’m nervous about going back to hospitals and clinics to make up for all of the appointments I’ve missed during this time.”
  40. “I feel guilty when most days I can go out but my chronically ill daughter can’t always join me.”
  41. “This quarantine makes me feel, for once, like I’m not missing out on life.”
  42. “I’m not ready for my husband to leave again. I don’t want to return to my job. I feel guilty for wanting to stay home more.”
  43. “It’s been nice to not have to apologize for all the things I can’t do because of my chronic illness.”
  44. “Quarantine made me feel less alone with my illness and brought comfort to the feeling of always missing out on stuff.”
  45. “I honestly don’t miss the constant family get togethers that I feel expected to attend.”
  46. “I’ve been going to work nannying during the pandemic and have had increased migraines. I was told the other day that I’ve now used all of my ‘sick days’ for the year… It is such a struggle.”
  47. “I’ve gotten used to everyone being home more often and I’m worried for when they all go.”
  48. “I’m going to miss resting without feeling any guilt that there is somewhere else I should be.”
  49. “I need emergency surgery for a new autoimmune diagnosis and I am so ill, scared and lonely.”
  50. “I’m going to miss that the rest of the world finally slowed down to my speed during quarantine.”

Image via contributor