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21 Problems Only People With Chronic Illness Understand

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When you’re living life with a chronic illness (or several), your daily challenges might look quite different than the problems your healthy peers deal with. It’s not likely they’ve experienced the feeling of forgetting their address or age (thanks, brain fog) or spent entire days (OK, weeks) playing phone tag with doctors and specialists.

We asked our Mighty community what problems they’ve encountered unique to people with chronic illness. Their responses reveal not only the day-to-day struggles of a person dealing with health challenges, but also a community that understands exactly what you’re going through. You truly aren’t alone.

Here’s what they said:

1. “Losing things, then immediately checking the fridge.”

2. “Having a ‘me too’ moment with a stranger and then sharing info you barely share with your family because this complete stranger understands!”

3. “Knowing more about your chronic conditions than your doctors do.”

4. “How exhausting and difficult it is to simply exist.”

5. “Needing to sit on the the shower floor while showering!”

graphic of showerhead with quote on it

6. “The excitement of a medical shipment because it means I can organize it all and I won’t be running out of supplies!”

7. “Getting excited over Walgreen’s sales for braces, ice packs and pain creams!”

8. “That joy I get for having a moment of pure pain-free bliss doing something I could not do normally because of my health.”

9. “Waking up every morning feeling like you have a ‘hangover’ but you haven’t had a single drop of alcohol!”

10. “The way I smile and nod when someone says, ‘You’re so lucky you don’t have to work.’ I want to scream but I’m too damn nice.”

11. “Being so good at telling your medical history and current treatments that in a 15-minute appointment you can cover 16 years and leave with a referral and a couple of scripts!”

12. “Being able to recite the names, dosages, and order of all your medications accurately, something I was surprised to learn the ‘normal’ population can’t do.”

13. “You get overly excited to leave the house, even if it is for something totally boring.”

14. “The daily dilemmas we face, like ‘Do I wash the dishes or do I take a shower?’ because we don’t have the energy to do both.”

15. “Having a mini pharmacy in your house and knowing both the company name of the drugs and their Latin name.”

graphic of pills with quote on it

16. “Having to explain for the millionth time why you can’t do something.”

17. “Not knowing if something is a side effect to a medication or a new symptom.”

18. “Trying to answer the ‘how are you’ question when you’re awful. It’s a nightmare.”

19. “Putting off preventative care because chronic illness management is sucking up all your time and energy.”

20. “Having what others describe as the most comfortable bed/chair/recliner, but you can only be semi-comfortable in it.”

21. “When the ER doctor says, ‘Hey! I know you!’”

What problems do only people with chronic illness understand? Share your ideas in the comments.

Originally published: July 26, 2016
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