The Mighty Logo

The Dark Cloud That Hangs Over Your Head When You're Chronically Ill

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Right now I am in this weird place. This place where everything is going well, I’m feeling a bit better but I can’t fully enjoy it. I can’t enjoy it because I see the cloud hovering up above. The cloud where you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.

When you have a chronic illness, even when you’re better you know it’s just a matter of minutes, hours, days or weeks until the feeling better turns into feeling worse. I know when people read this they might immediately comment, “You should live in the moment” or “Don’t think like that.” One of my favorites that I hear all the time is “Have faith that it’s over.”

But how do you do that when pain is all you know now? How do you not think about that when you’re going through this never-ending cycle again for the umpteenth time? How do you enjoy the better when you know that worse is around the corner? It’s one of the hardest things in the world to do. And it is even harder for people who do not know the feeling to understand.

Now I’m not saying that I don’t go out a little more than I normally could or that I am not taking extra steps out of my wheelchair and that I don’t have a brighter smile – I do, but I do those things with that cloud in the back of my mind that it’s only temporary and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about that.

I think that is what makes chronic illness so hard to deal with – the lack of control in your life. The lack of being able to feel better for more than 10 weeks – 10 weeks which will be followed by a year of hell. For some it’s not 10 weeks, just a couple of hours.

I hope that those not enduring chronic illness remember that when their chronically ill family member of friend looks better but still says they’re “OK” or “fine.” And I hope those who endure every day remember that no matter the cloud luring, no matter the amount of hell coming or how short the better is now, we should still be thankful for it.

Getty Image by PixelEmbargo

Originally published: February 23, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home