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The Emotional 'Cloud of Blah' That Accompanies Chronic Illness

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Sometimes feelings are distinguishable. They appear like an uninvited guest bombarding your emotional space. You are fully aware of their intrusion by how you feel, and by the sensations they bring into the body. Grief makes its presence known by a heaviness in my chest; my throat tightens when sadness visits. My whole body tenses up when anger comes; my stomach becomes a pit when anxiety shows. They are discernible, they are distinct.

emotions in the 'cloud of blah'

Other days, this palette of assorted feelings is mashed together into a “cloud of blah.” I can’t pinpoint exactly who’s there, or where one begins and another ends. Lines are blurred. It’s as if they’ve all pulled a seat up at the table and started talking at once. If you were to ask me how I felt, “I don’t know” would be my authentic response.

“The cloud of blah” feels as if I’m numb to the chatter. My body’s form of protective anesthesia from the noise. I notice the “blah” days coincide with the severity of my symptoms. My mind’s self-preservation switch to help me cope – a survival tactic of sorts.

painting by the author of the 'cloud of blah'


I’ve come to know “blah” days well. They’re a part of the chronic illness process – they’re also a part of life. They too need their moment on center stage. Like clouds, they too shall pass.

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Originally published: December 4, 2017
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