The Mighty Logo

What My Friends Need to Understand When I Talk to Them About My Illness

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I’m up until 5 a.m. every night and I don’t know why. My heart is racing to the point of exhaustion, but yet not enough of exhaustion to sleep. I’ve had anxiety but this feels different. Ever since my medicine changed it’s just a whole shift in my personality. I calmed my anxiety… it wasn’t perfect, but I was coping. But this medication has reverted me back to my old ways. I don’t know if it’s side effects of nervousness or palpitations… and not knowing what it is is the worst part.

The cycle never ends. It’s a never ending issue of feeling fine one day and being severely ill the next. When I get well I don’t get happy anymore because I know a down is yet to come. And it’s not because I want it to, it’s that my body keeps failing me over and over again. I can’t sleep from the ear ringing and headaches that make you feel like your head has been bashed into the root of your skull. The feeling of my heart pounding out of my chest. The numbness protruding down different regions of my body uncontrollably at random occurrences. The muscle spams, the twitches, the inability to draw a straight line. The world turning black for what feels like decades every time you try to stand on your own two feet. The ray of heat making and burning red marks and the pooling of blood from your knees to your ankles. You hope no one notices, and the agony just feels like you’re going to die. That’s not even the worst part of it all. The worst part is with or without a doctor, something will always be there, no matter what I do.

That’s chronic illness, it can consume you, eat you up and sometimes even take over all you are. I’m sorry I talk about my illness to the point of people assuming I’m negative and I’m sorry I have a giant prescription case every time I go somewhere. To all the friends of a chronically ill person, please understand, chronic illness is so debilitating… we get so used to it that for many of us, it’s basically what we breath each and every day. The simple conversation about work or how you saw that guy and it was awful — that’s how simple chronic illness is to me. Simple yet intricate. Your boy troubles, your family issues, your work misery — that is what my chronic illnesses are to me. And I’m not trying to be negative or a downer, I’m simply trying to express my life to someone else just like you are with the problems you face.

Please don’t turn me away because of my illness because is so “taboo” and “uncomfortable.” Please sit and listen like you would to any other issue.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by badmanproduction

Originally published: March 5, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home