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Please Don't Be 'Sorry' When I Struggle With My Chronic Illnesses

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I have a long list of chronic illnesses, but whenever I talk about the type of pain day I am having, or how I feel like an 80-year-old instead of a almost 20-year old – I always seem to get the same immediate response, “I’m sorry.”

I’ve learned and taught myself to feel like I’m a victim of my pain, in the sense that it requires this response. It’s hard. Some days I want to cry or say how hard this is to live the way I do, but I never want anyone to say, “I’m sorry for you,” “I’m sorry to her that,” “I’m sorry you have to live like this,” or “I’m sorry you struggle.”

Thank you for empathizing, it does matter to me and I do appreciate knowing people care – but don’t be “sorry.” Tell me how proud you are that I’m not letting it stop me, knowing my struggles. Tell me you are there to help me get through it, because you know I can. Tell me that we both know it’s perfectly fine to do nothing all day – that you don’t pity me.

I don’t need more sadness or low feelings when I provide plenty of that for myself during the harsh times of my brain fog or clumsy movements from the pain. What I need the most during these moments is encouragement and positivity – even if we both know things are hard to see or that they hurt to witness. It’s OK to experience those feelings as my family, because I tend to feel them for myself. But don’t only response to my struggles with just, “I’m sorry.”I am more than just this struggle, than my pain, and there is more to me than these hardships.

Getty Image by Wavebreakmedia

Originally published: March 2, 2018
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