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When Chronic Illness Is Like a Thief in the Night

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Fear. Loss of any illusion of control. Succeeding at seeing the beauty in life, the majority of the time, except for times like these.

Times when chronic illness is a thief. An unpredictable burglar. One who steals things you didn’t even think to hide. Who breaks down doors and punches through your walls. So what you’re left with is uncertainty. Anxiety. Fear. What’s next? How bad will the damage be next time? When will it happen? Because you know it will happen. You just never know when and you never know if it’s going to turn your whole world upside down.


But you can’t, you won’t, constantly live in fear, so you do your best to patch up the holes in the walls. You try to put the doors back on the broken hinges as best you can. They will never be quite the same. Will never work quite right. You’ll either need brand new ones, if possible, or you’ll have to make do with what you have left.

You continue on. Taking it one day at a time. You do pretty well, but every time you hear a loud noise, your gut clenches. You wonder if it’s going to happen again. What was that noise? Is it danger? Or just a random noise in the night? You wait. Heart beating faster and faster. Mind racing. Trying to figure out what you’ll do if the burglar has come back. Desperately hoping they won’t damage anything that is structural and essential to the integrity of your house.

You have very little control and the burglar makes sure to remind you of that every now and then. Without control, what remains is hope. Hope that the burglar will someday leave you alone or at least start to only commit petty crimes. You have to find your strength. And sometimes, especially right after you’ve been robbed, it’s a very hard thing to do.

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Thinkstock photo via moodboard.

Originally published: June 24, 2017
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