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25 Things You Might Not Realize You Do Because of Chronic Illness

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As someone who’s been living with chronic illness for the majority of my life, I know I always do some things a little different than most people.

Between gastroparesis, irritable bowel syndrom (IBS), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS),  Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), there are always a range of symptoms to manage.

I made a list of things that I do daily without even realizing because I live with multiple chronic illnesses. I hope this provides others with comfort and reminds you that you’re not alone. We all experience these things together. Some of these, you may laugh or cry about, but they are a part of our lives, and rather than hiding, I’d encourage you to try and embrace it.

  1. Always thinking of the worst case scenario in the back of your head.
  2. Knowing where every bathroom is at all times.
  3. Making sure your seat is near the door in case you have to make a quick exit.
  4. Taking a handful of pills at once — because that’s normal for you.
  5. Planning naps as part of your daily schedule.
  6. Isolating yourself when the bad gets really bad.
  7. Calling your doctors on speed dial.
  8. Casually popping your hip back into place because you sat the “wrong way.”
  9. Setting a million reminders on your phone because brain fog makes remembering impossible.
  10. You’d pick staying in over a night out.
  11. You’re always ready to pass out, and you know what to hold onto near your bed.
  12. Sleeping with your heating pad on, even with minimal pain.
  13. Taking the elevator over the stairs some days.
  14. Instinctively avoiding eating certain things, as it will turn your intestines into the next civil war.
  15. Brushing off your illnesses like they’re “no big deal” when someone asks.
  16. Avoiding all types of fragrances you’re not familiar with because you don’t want a mast cell attack.
  17. Reaching for Gatorade instead of water.
  18. Suddenly, talking about your pooping habits becomes normal.
  19. You use hand sanitizer and a mask during cold and flu season because you are a “germaphobe.”
  20. You pace yourself so you have enough energy to get through the day.
  21. You might feel like your illnesses feel like a burden to others.
  22. You sleep — a lot.
  23. Your outfit choice is based on your symptoms levels.
  24. You fidget constantly (I’m not sure I know what “sitting still” means).
  25. You try to plan everything, but let’s face it — nothing rarely goes as planned.

What’s one thing you do because of your chronic illness that you or others might not realize? Share it in the comments below.

Originally published: June 26, 2019
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