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To the Person Feeling Isolated With Your Chronic Illness: You Are Not Alone

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When you realize the life you once knew is lost, all your hopes and dreams are shattered and everything you worked so hard to achieve has slipped through your fingers — you are not alone.

When you want to give up because each day is filled with such excruciating pain that there isn’t room for anything else and you realize not only is this not living but it’s also not surviving. It’s just suffering, and you can’t imagine continuing this existence for a lifetime — you are not alone.

When you want to scream because doctors are dismissive and disinterested in your symptoms, even though it’s their job and you’re paying them a lot of money to help manage your chronic illness — you are not alone.

When you stop opening your mail because your medical bills have piled so high that you are afraid to even look at how much further you’ve fallen into debt — you are not alone.

When getting out of bed is just not an option, and despite knowing you didn’t have a choice in the situation, shame and guilt shares your bed the rest of the day — you are not alone.


When you had to cancel plans with friends or family, again, and you know it’s the right choice for your body but you feel guilty for cancelling, worried they won’t understand or believe you, worried they’ll stop inviting you out, worried you inadvertently hurt them, ashamed for not overcoming your body once again, desperate for a time when you never had to cancel, and lonely knowing you are home feeling rotten when, if life were different, you could be out with loved ones — you are not alone.When you do brave going out with your loved ones but your body quits on you part way through, putting you in an embarrassing situation while you struggle to get back home, eventually grateful to have made it but completely humiliated — you are not alone.

When you realize the limitations and stresses your chronic illness has brought to your life have created the constant companions of fear, anxiety and depression — you are not alone.

When strangers and loved ones speak thoughtless and ignorant words about your illness (often without even realizing it) that cut right to your core — you are not alone.

When your friends and family don’t understand or sometimes don’t even believe your illness and turn their backs or walk out of your life and leave you heartbroken — you are not alone.

When even those who stay, who really love you, who really want to help and try hard to understand your situation, cannot grasp what you’re feeling (unfortunately unless you have lived chronic illness it’s impossible to understand), and you’re left feeling isolated and lonely in spite of all their efforts — you are not alone.

You are not alone because I am right here, along with countless others struggling through the same trials that accompany chronic illness. We want to share our experiences and as a community, our support, so no one has to suffer alone. Look no further because as of right now — you are not alone.

What about you? What is your story and how would you help someone else with chronic illness?

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s the hardest thing you deal with as someone with a chronic illness, and how do you face this? What advice and words of support would you offer someone facing the same thing? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: May 17, 2016
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