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Even If Being Ill Means You Only Did the Bare Minimum Today, You Are Strong

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I do my best every day to hide my pain and exhaustion. Most days I’m successful, but on days like today I can’t even manage to make my smile look genuine. When you have a chronic illness, you don’t get to choose your good days, and there’s no telling how many hours of “good” you’ll get before it all comes crashing down.

On days like today you wake up from a full night’s rest, but feel like you haven’t rested at all. You fall asleep standing up in the shower, a body part you’ve never had pain in before will suddenly hurt like hell, you’re shivering in 90 degree weather and it feels like you have weights strapped to your body.

On days like today, you do the bare minimum. Your hair is dirty, but your shoulders hurt too bad to wash it. Your have dark circles and a puffy face, but you don’t have the energy to put on any makeup. You throw on your comfiest jeans, shirt and shoes so you don’t have to worry about your body hurting from uncomfortable clothing. Then you look in the mirror and don’t even recognize yourself, and you hope people don’t think you’ve let yourself go, because you did try your best to put yourself together.

Even after all of this, you have to look at yourself again and realize how much strength you have. You got out of bed this morning. You managed to shower. You made it to work. You did your chores. You really have strength when you have a chronic illness. Even if you don’t look like you care about yourself, you do, because people who care about themselves get through their day no matter how hard it is.

You go to bed more exhausted than when you got out of bed, but you still accomplished something today, and that is what makes you strong. You faced the day with a smile on your face (genuine or not), and that is what makes you brave. Your illness gives you the drive to fight for your life day in and day out. You are amazing.

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Thinkstock photo via  monkeybusinessimages.

Originally published: July 7, 2017
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