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30 Fictional Characters People With Chronic Illness Relate To

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When life gets tough, turning to fiction can be a great source of comfort. Even if the characters in our favorite books, movies, TV shows or video games lead vastly different lives than we do, part of the magic is that we are often still able to relate to their struggles and learn from their experiences.

When it comes to living with chronic illness, however, it can not only be difficult to find characters who have the same condition as you, but whose struggle is accurately represented and whose identity is not entirely defined by the illness. That being said, a character doesn’t have to be fighting an identical battle for us to relate to their feelings of love or loss or hope or anger. Sometimes it’s in the smallest of moments – a flash of an expression or a fleeting emotion – when we feel that tug of connection, that sense of camaraderie, that validation of our feelings that lets us know we’re not alone.

To better understand how people relate to their favorite characters, we asked those in our Mighty community living with chronic illness to share which fictional characters they identify with. Let us know who you relate to in the comments below.

Here’s what the community shared with us:

1. Dr. Gregory House from “House”

dr. gregory house
via “House” Facebook page

“Hugh Laurie’s stunning character portrayal of Gregory House finally gave me someone to look up to. He wasn’t trying to tell you that the pain will get better if you just smile and nod, he got dark and real and spoke about the pain his character experienced in ways most people wouldn’t dare. It was his show that made me feel like everything was going to be fine eventually and that if he could be such an amazing doctor despite his pain, then I could still do so much with my life.”

2. Dory from “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory”

via “Finding Nemo” Facebook page

“My brain fog can get so intense that I’m literally missing periods of time in my memory, whether it be last week or two seconds ago. [Dory’s] struggles with her short-term memory loss and trying to keep up with her friends are super relatable to me at this point in my life, and the fact that she’s still a wonderful character who’s loved by her friends anyway makes me happy. Seeing a character like her go through the trials of living with an illness that make you feel ‘annoying’ and overall like you’re behind everyone else makes me feel less alone.”

3. Wade Wilson from “Deadpool”

via “Deadpool Movie” Facebook page

“He’s in chronic pain because of his cancer/mutation, which often leaves him without sleep or curled up crying at night. He tries to mask his pain with jokes, and he often does it so well that those around him don’t believe he feels any pain at all. And when he does get hurt, which is often, it’s just sort of par for the course since he’s already constantly in intense pain. Despite all that, he still tries to have fun and be true to himself. He tries to live life to the best of his ability, good or bad.”

4. The Halliwell sisters from “Charmed”

sisters from charmed
via “Charmed” Facebook page

“We put on a show for the outside world. But only those closest to us see the daily battles we fight. We each have different demons or symptoms that we battle daily, just like the sisters.”

5. Seven of Nine from “Star Trek: Voyager”

seven of nine
via “Star Trek: Voyager” Facebook page

“She is taken from a collective consciousness she was raised in and forced to live as a human. I relate because I grew up without being terribly sick and as a young adult have to re-learn how to live my life with limitations, the way Seven did. She gives me a lot of strength while I rediscover how to human.”

6. Raven Reyes from “The 100”

raven reyes
via “The 100” Facebook page

“She was shot in the back and lost feeling in her leg from the knee down, but from the knee up and into her back is constant pain. She is a strong woman, a fighter and a chronic pain champ.”

7. Amelia Bedelia from the “Amelia Bedelia” series

amelia bedelia
via “Amelia Bedelia” Facebook page

“My once sharp mind and physical agility have taken a backseat to clumsiness and brain fog!”

8. Zane Truesdale from “Yu-Gi-Oh GX”

zane truesdale
via Wikia Fandom

“He’s a strong duelist who basically fights through a serious health problem and has come through the darkness in his life. He’s loyal, intelligent and never gives up, even if he knows the next one could be the last.”

9. Regan MacNeil from “The Exorcist”

regan macneil
via “The Exorcist” Facebook page

“My fibromyalgia is like a demon inside my body, constantly wanting to cause me pain. If my back happens to be not hurting today, then it’s my knees. If not them, then I get knocked on my butt with a migraine. It’s always something.”

10. Ariel from “The Little Mermaid”

via “The Little Mermaid” Facebook page

“She wants so badly to be a part of a world that’s different than the world she’s in. A world where she can walk, jump, run, etc… In my case a life of a healthy person I wish I could have.”

11. Benjamin Button from “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

benjamin button
via “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” Facebook page

“Being only 22 and 18 when I was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (I now also have fibromyalgia), I always felt like I was at the opposite end of life. So I’ve decided to do a Benjamin Button and age backwards. I may feel 80-something now when I am only 20-something, but when I am 80 I plan to relive my youth.”

12. Cosima Niehaus from “Orphan Black”

cosima niehaus
via “Orphan Black” Facebook page

“I loved her attitude towards knowing she was dying and just dealing with it in her own way. And she’s a scientist like me, so she knows exactly how the body works and what’s really going on inside her body.”

13. Dr. Spencer Reid from “Criminal Minds”

spencer reid
via “Criminal Minds” Facebook page

“He lives his life as best as he can, each day at a time, despite his migraines. He has a supportive team to fall back on who he knows has his back and they don’t judge him. We all need people like he has.”

14. Sally from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

via “The Nightmare Before Christmas” Facebook page

“Her limbs detach themselves and she has to put herself back together. Hypermobility syndrome can often feel like that to me. Plus she’s super sweet and caring and is always trying to do the right thing and look after her friends.”

15. Frodo Baggins from “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy

frodo baggins
via “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy” Facebook page

“I often feel like I am carrying the weight of the ‘one ring.’ The ring is constantly draining him, sometimes making him upset, defensive or physically fragile. It feels heavy, it sometimes feels like he will never be rid of it. My chronic illness can be so all-consuming it can make me feel like it’s my ‘one ring’ to bear. I often wear a replica of the one ring when I am hiding my pain in public. It’s my way of reminding myself to fight it, and to do my best to not let it take me over, just like Frodo did.”

16. Buffy Summers from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

buffy the vampire slayer
via “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” Facebook page

“Buffy has been a huge inspiration to me. She fights these demons, and gets put in situations where she couldn’t possibly win, but through the help of her friends, she is able to prevail over evil. She is a true fighter and I could only hope that I fight this disease with as much grace and determination as she fights her demons.”

17. The Black Knight from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

black knight
Screenshot via Monty Python YouTube channel

“With Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, I’m in constant pain and more often than not dealing with a dislocation which requires me to wear a sling, use a cane or have tape holding my joints in place. I work in a physical therapy office and at least 10 times a day am asked by our patients what is wrong with me on that particular day. I constantly have to put on a brave face and smile through my pain, acting like it’s not a huge struggle just to get through my shift. So I often say, ‘Just a flesh wound!’ and ‘I’m invincible!’ Just as the Black Knight does in battle as he loses his limbs and continues fighting.”

18. Luna Lovegood from the “Harry Potter” series

luna lovegood
via “Harry Potter” Facebook page

“She’s different, and no one quite understands her, but she’s beautiful and unique and sees things others don’t. With my illnesses, at my age, people don’t get why I use a wheelchair sometimes or why I need to stay home some days, but I’m making the best of what life I do have and see the opportunities I get as amazing rather than taking them for granted.”

19. Yuna from “Final Fantasy X”

via “Final Fantasy X/X-2” Facebook page

“She’s soft spoken, and has great emotional pain. But she’s also strong. She knows after her duty is fulfilled she will die. And maybe that’s the most relatable part. Chronic pain constantly reminds you of your own mortality… I’m fully aware of mine, and so is Yuna. She knows sacrifices must be made, and no matter how much she wants something for or in her life, she can’t have it. She has a duty to fulfill. Being sick, I can’t have what I want in life either.”

20. Princess Aurora from “Sleeping Beauty”

sleeping beauty
via “Sleeping Beauty” Facebook page

“I may not sleep for days, and then I can’t wake up for days. It’s awful, and I feel anything but beautiful, but the sleeping part fits so well.”

21. Steve Rogers from “Captain America: The First Avenger”

steve rogers/captain america
via “Captain America” Facebook page

“Pre-Captain America, he was a man deemed unfit and unhealthy, attached to a long list of illnesses, but would give anything to be normal. He was willing to do anything, even undergo injections with harmful chemicals in a trial, just to be normal. He wanted to serve his country so badly, he’d give anything for it. I would give anything for my old life back, even if it meant an eternity of protecting the world.”

22. Claire Bennett from “Cake”

jennifer aniston in cake
via “Cake” Facebook page

“I related with every single scene. It was shocking to see an actress so well known for her beauty to look so awful in that movie, but pain also stole my beauty, my youth, my hair, my life. I have experienced everything like that character did, right down to having to sit in agony and schmooze with doctors just to get medication. Physical therapists who just don’t get it. Support groups who just made things worse. A husband that didn’t understand or help. Even going so far as traveling to Mexico for alternative treatments (in the movie she goes for medication she needs but can’t get).”

23. Tyrion Lannister from “Game of Thrones”

tyrion lannister
via “Game of Thrones” Facebook page

“He’s rejected by his own family for being physically different. He’s very aware at all times and in all situations the hand he was dealt and what cards he has to play in a society that literally deems him monstrous. And oh, how he plays those hands to his advantage. He struggles as well with how he sees himself and with feeling worthy of love due to what he sees as his physical limitations. He raises himself up in the world nonetheless through pure tenacity and wit. He beats men in battle despite his opponents towering over him. He’s fictional, yes, but nonetheless he has qualities I admire and look to apply to my own life. It takes a mountain of wisdom to navigate being chronically ill. I relate to Tyrion battling men double his size because that’s what it feels like for me to fight social security and insurance companies for my disability benefits. That’s what it feels like for me to battle the ignorance of both loved ones and strangers who can’t seem to get it through their heads that I am in fact seriously ill and permanently disabled.”

24. Queen Elsa from “Frozen”

via “Frozen” Facebook page

“She tries so hard to hide her pain and protect everyone from seeing that because she fears they won’t understand. ‘Don’t let them know… Well now they know!’ I can relate to that fear sometimes – all you can do is let it go!”

25. Dr. Stephen Strange from “Doctor Strange”

doctor strange
via “Doctor Strange” Facebook page

“A car accident disfigured him, forced him to quit his job and led him on a different path in life that forced him to change the way he saw the world. A car accident injured me, forced me to quit my job and led me on a different path in life that has definitely changed the way I see the world.”

26. Alice Howland from “Still Alice”

alice howland
via “Still Alice” Facebook page

“The brain fog and visual distortion is so accurate. I watched her machinations to avoid appearing as if anything was wrong and it is my brain tumor life.”

27. The Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz”

tin man
via “The Wizard of Oz” Facebook page

“I have rheumatoid arthritis and when my joints are stiff and I can’t move properly I always wish I had his magic oil can to make myself go back to normal for a while!”

28. Hazel Grace Lancaster from “The Fault in Our Stars”

hazel grace lancaster
via “The Fault in Our Stars” Facebook page

“I really relate to Hazel. As she says, I feel like my illness makes me a grenade, and that when it gets bad I explode, affecting everyone around me who loves me. It makes me want to keep people at a distance so I don’t hurt them.”

29. Eeyore from “Winnie the Pooh”

via “Eeyore” Facebook page

“Gloomy, depressed, but still loved by his friends. Does his best to go out and keep up with the group, but they often have to leave him behind because he can’t keep up. Still has the odd happy moment.”

30. The Princess from “The Princess and the Pea”

princess and the pea
via uvlek on Thinkstock Images

“That’s how I feel in bed every night!”

Originally published: July 31, 2017
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