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How Chronic Illness Uprooted My Sense of Security

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Security. It is something we cling to, a stabilizer that offers us a modicum of peace and comfort in a world that is in continual turmoil. The placement of our security is as vast and varied as the human race, yet the desperate need for it in our lives remains the same.

In the frailty and unpredictably of life, we tend to place our security in temporal, fragile entities – hopes and ideals and expectations that are not promised to us, and yet we await the assurance that all will be well and remain.


Chronic illness has a way of uprooting security. Security found in relationships, in health, in finances and in the future. Slowly, it rips the rug out from under you.

The security of relationships ebbs away as they quietly fade into the background, unwilling or unable to walk with you in your new life.

The security of your personhood and who you were falters and sheds itself and out emerges a new identity, a person who said goodbye to the “I used to be” and became something wondrously and terrifyingly new.

The security of finances and the tangled web of all it touches rocks your world. Often faced with losing careers and incomes, it is painful to reconcile living a life that is given and taken away by individuals who do not know you and who do not walk in your shoes. While new careers and incomes can be carved out of this new life, it still brings a shaky lack of security. The future of chronic illness is always changing, like a horizon whose fragile paintbrush dips and colors the sky with an ever-changing hue.

Unpredictable, chronic illness uproots everything you once held dear. It tests and pushes boundaries and demands a fight, not just for your physical survival, but for your emotional and mental well-being.

Even in our diagnosis, for those blessed enough to have them, there is a waxing and waning of security in those who care for and treat us, in the long, laborious road of tests and pills and therapy and hospital rooms that echo your heartache.

Security, I have learned, cannot be rooted in the temporal foundations of man. No. It must be anchored where foundations do not shake.

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Thinkstock photo via fizkes.

Originally published: August 9, 2017
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