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Tell Me You Have a Chronic Illness Without Telling Me You Have a Chronic Illness

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If you’re on TikTok or Instagram regularly, you may have noticed the trendy video prompt, “Tell me you have __ without telling me you have __”…and here’s my spin on a chronic illness version of it! Because as many spoonies know, a chronic illness affects our lives in many unique, challenging and even funny ways. And as someone with celiac disease, fibromyalgia, asthma and several other chronic illnesses, I definitely have experienced many of these quirks firsthand!

So if you’re having a hard time with your chronic illness right now, I hope this post helps you feel less alone or even triggers a chuckle at some of the “quirky” habits chronic illness can trigger. And if you’re dating someone chronically ill or have chronically ill friends or loved ones, here’s the “why” behind some of our stranger behavior!

1. You have an entire cabinet, shelf or box dedicated to your medical prescriptions.

2. You have more in common with a stereotypical “grandma” than people your own age.

3. You wear a heating pad like it’s another layer of pants or shirt.

4. You worry that new friends may think you’re flaky since they don’t understand why you need to cancel plans last-minute.

5. You forget that some people don’t have to fill up a weekly pill organizer.

6. At least most (if not all) of your pants are leggings.

7. You rarely wake up and feel actually “rested.”

8. Your local pharmacist knows you by name.

9. You’re used to going to the doctor and hearing, “I’ve never seen/heard of that before!”

10. Your friends and family know “special” terms like “flare-up,” “glutened,” or “low on spoons.”

11. You have a list of your medications on your phone or in a safe place in case it’s needed.

12. You already have or are considering getting a medical ID bracelet.

13. You have different kinds of ice packs and massagers depending on what part of you hurts.

14. You rarely — if ever — leave the house without some kind of medication on you.

15. You don’t simply “pack light for a spontaneous trip.”

16. You don’t simply “take a spontaneous trip,” period!

17. People know if they need Tylenol or other over-the-counter meds, they should talk to you.

18. Your schedule revolves around doctors’ appointments.

19. When dating, you wonder when it’s time to have “the talk” about your medical conditions.

20. You know which of your veins are good veins.

21. Friends or family ask you for medical advice before they ask their doctor.

22. You always check where the closest bathroom is when at a new place.

23. Your daily schedule revolves around when you need to take certain medications.

24. You spend more on meds or medically-required foods than hair or beauty products.

25. You’re constantly proving to yourself that you’re stronger than you think.

Now, It’s Your Turn…

How could you tell me you have a chronic illness without straight-out saying it? I’d love to hear!

This post first appeared on my blog, Casey the College Celiac.

Originally published: March 9, 2021
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