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To the Person Who Doesn’t Know What Life With Chronic Illnesses Is Like

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Picture this — you wake up in the morning and want to take a shower. However, you know if you do that, you risk using all your energy and strength and not being able to do anything else all day.

Imagine a world in which most of the housework is left up to your children. Forget about being able to get all the laundry and dishes done. That’s not going to happen; you’re lucky if your body allows you to do one load.

Think about wanting to dust your house and then realizing if you do so, not only are you going to feel sick as hell from the dust, but to do so means you don’t have the energy to cook dinner tonight.

Consider for a moment that every second of every day, your body feels like you have the worst flu you can imagine, like each limb gets weaker and heavier as the day goes on, having a body that can’t keep up with your mind.

What if you loved working but found yourself unable to do so anymore, spending every day trying to find something to occupy your mind. Of course, those are the days your mind chooses to allow you to think straight.

Every aspect of every moment is ruled by something you can’t control. You have no say over what you’re going to get done today. You simply hope and pray you can get something, anything accomplished.

The doctors tell you the more you do, the better you’ll feel. You try every day to do a little more, get a little exercise, but it just makes you feel worse. Your body refuses to cooperate, even though you take the medication they give you to help.

Your constant companions are pain, fatigue and exhaustion. They call the shots, they determine what you do. It’s like being addicted to something that has absolute control over you.

You want so much just to have the life you once had, having it all, a clean home, a family, a career… So many things you took for granted before. You would give almost everything just to do the smallest thing.

You fear every moment of every day what others think of you. You want nothing more than to be able to explain to them why you can’t do the things they think you should be able to do.

How do you explain that your life is no longer your own? How do you make them understand? How do you conquer your depression over being a piece of the person
you once were, the person you still are on the inside?

Can you imagine what it’s like to live with such illnesses? Can you grasp what I’m trying to get through to you? Don’t take the small stuff for granted; appreciate what you have. Don’t judge people you don’t understand. Don’t judge me.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. 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.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: January 29, 2016
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