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When Chronic Illness Can Make You Feel Like a 'Burden'

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This post is targeting two audiences: anyone with chronic or invisible illnesses or disorders, and myself.

You are not a “burden.”

You are a miracle, actually. I believe God gave you the gift of life for you to be here, wandering this mysteriously gorgeous Earth.

You are a friend. Make a list of the people you adventure with, who have beautiful, ridiculous, embarrassing yet awesome pictures with you in them, and who you share endless pizza dinners (and lunches, breakfasts and snacks) with. The people you make laugh when they want to cry and whose aid you run to when they’re facing a hard time. You are a friend to many.

You are a daughter, son, sister, brother, granddaughter, grandson, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, etc. Think back to holidays being surrounded by the few or many special people you know you can run home to. The ones you may have shared your best memories with and perhaps experienced your biggest arguments with. You are their family. Without you, they would be one less.

You are a gift. When you shine your light on this world and share yourself with the people in it, I promise you are presenting something unique that no one else is able to. You have a purpose here — a purpose designed solely for you.

You are a warrior. You endure physical pain every day, some days worse than others — but every day you’re getting stronger, even when it might feel like you’re weakening. You fight through the aching, throbbing, pulsing, nauseating, piercing and everlasting horrific sensations that can be indescribable to others who don’t know what it feels like to be in your body.

You are a fighter. You fight through that pain and somehow keep moving forward in your journey. You fight on, whether it’s getting through the work day without having to call out early due to a worsening symptom or biting your lip to fight the pain during your 100th unsuccessful IV insertion. You fight through the frustration, sadness, anxiety, loneliness and helplessness that can come along with your physical pain. Your fortitude is immeasurable in size.

You, my dear friend, are not a “burden.” Your illness is a heavy weight, and it is your weight. But even being solely yours, it cannot be carried by you and you alone. Because you are a friend, family member, gift, warrior and fighter, chances are you have a support system to help you carry it. Do not be afraid to ask for help. The ones who are meant to stick around will ask how they can help share that weight whenever they can. You were not made to carry this alone.

woman smiling with view of football stadium behind

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s the hardest thing you deal with as someone with a chronic illness, and how do you face this? What advice and words of support would you offer someone facing the same thing? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: March 11, 2016
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