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7 of the Hardest Parts of Chronic Illness

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There are many challenges that people with chronic illness face. Actually, almost everything can be a challenge, whether big or small. Whether it be finding a work situation that works for you or dealing with people around you, there are many challenging parts to dealing with a chronic illness.

1. Trying to find a way to make an income. This is one of our biggest struggles because we are not well enough to work and even when I find a job I might be able to do I don’t meet the qualifications due to my illness holding me back.

2. Paying for college. This goes hand in hand with making an income. I need an education to make an income but can’t work to put myself through college! It’s scary taking out a loan when you don’t know if you are going to be well enough to work to pay it back. What a vicious cycle!

3. The people who think you are being “lazy.” I’ve had too many people say things like, “So what do you do all day if you don’t work or got to school?” I know they aren’t meaning to be rude, but I take it personally. I am trying to get healthy enough so I can eventually work one day, that’s what I do all day.

4. Dating. There are a couple tricky things about dating. First, when and how to tell them about your chronic illness. Second, and my least favorite, is explaining why I don’t work or go to school. I absolutely dread this part!

5. Anxiety. I am constantly anxious when I am out and about thinking I am going to have an episode. It only makes it worse when you are with a group of people and you would have to ruin the days plans just because your illness is flaring up.

6. The assumption that I’m not stressed because I get to “relax” all day. I am unbelievably stressed about all the things stated above and so much more. I am stressed about how my next appointment will go. I am anxious and at times depressed. I do not live a relaxed lifestyle by any means just because I do not work or go to school.

7. Perhaps the hardest thing, for me at least, is hearing people say, “Well, why can she go out and do the things she wants to do but can’t go to school or work.” I have good days and bad days. On the good days, I can go out and do things and then spend the next few days recovering from that activity. When you hold a job your employer relies on you to show up for work and if I’m having a bad day I physically and mentally cannot be there. This is something I wish everyone would understand. Just because I have a chronic illness doesn’t mean I should miss out on having fun while I’m having a good day.

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Thinkstock photo by Hemera Technologies

Originally published: February 27, 2017
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