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Surviving the Loneliness and Hurt of Chronic Illness

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When you live with a chronic illness you take moments of joy wherever you can find them. But when you’re sidelined for days and weeks on end, it can lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or even thoughts of suicide.

Joy can be a game changer.

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Being constantly sick wears on your nerves. Your psyche becomes shattered. Watching the hours slip away while life moves on can leave you in a deep, black hole. Social media digs that black hole even deeper. Threads of wonderful, fascinating, and inspiring activities being enjoyed by others creates feelings of happiness for them, yet you feel empty inside. They are tasting that delicious slice of life you long for.

It’s daunting to be chronically sick while trying to keep up a good front. It’s easy to give into despair, to allow a blanket of physical and emotional pain sweep over the joy you crave.

It’s hurtful when the phone stops ringing. Friends and family stop calling for a variety of good and bad reasons. No matter what the reason is, it hurts.

I’ve experienced all of the above while having multiple sclerosis (MS). When the blues wash over me it’s like having a nemesis show up at my front door.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” – Marianne Williamson

Answer the door and walk on through. That’s the only way we can get to the other side.

Talk therapy. Medications. Meditation. Advocate. Journaling. Yoga. Breathwork. Reading. Music. Quotes. Walking. T’ai Chi. Reiki. Communicating. Social interaction. Optimism.

These next two quotes sum up how I hope to feel after walking through my door. If you answered your knock I hope you’ll walk along with me. Together we can find the joy that life has in store for us. It’s hard work to get rid of the hurt and loneliness of chronic illness. But I promise you it’s worth the effort. I’m reaching out my hand for you. I hope you’ll be reaching back.

“We can feel isolated and powerless when living with chronic illness, but what if your story begins to bridge the barrier or open a way for someone to connect? What if your story offers a glimmer of hope to someone standing at the edge of desolation? …What if your story starts the conversation?” – Cindee Snider Re, “Discovering Hope: Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness”

“She has fought many wars, most internal. The ones that you battle alone, for this, she is remarkable. She is a survivor.” – Nikki Rowe

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

Thinkstock Image By: milan2099

Originally published: February 24, 2017
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