Ally Teixeira

@ally-teixeira | contributor
Chronically ill, Chronically chill
Ally Teixeira

Why You Shouldn't Say 'Get Well Soon' to a Chronically Ill Person

There is often no “getting well” when you are chronically ill. I know you mean well when you say this and your intentions aren’t to make me feel bad… but it makes me feel sad. I wish I could get well, and I keep trying to figure out something that will magically cure me of this horrible monster that has overtaken my body, but nothing seems to work. I’ve seen every doctor, every specialist, taken every test, tried multiple medications and supplements, changed my diet… you name it! It’s very frustrating. The last time I saw my neurologist he looked me right in the eyes and said: “You need to stop trying to fix this. Instead, focus on managing it with the least toxic route.” Hearing this made my brain scream, “No! I will find a cure!” But after a while it really sank in and actually gave me a little relief. I was focusing so much of my energy on trying to fix my illness and get back to where I was before all of this happened… when I was “well.” What I should have been doing was focusing my energy on self-care and relaxation. I was causing so much unneeded stress for myself. Since I’ve been able to take my focus off finding a cure and “getting well” I have had so much more peace of mind. But when someone says to me, “Get well soon,” it just brings my mind back to the place it was in and stresses me out. There are other things you could say that aren’t as triggering and are more validating to someone who is chronically ill… 1. I know how hard this is for you. 2. I’m here for you. 3. Take care of yourself, and let me know what I can do. 4. I can see you’re struggling, and I want to help. 5. You must be strong to have battled this every day. 6. I’m sorry you’re hurting. 7. I know this sucks, but you totally got this. 8. I believe in you. 9. You can always count on me when you’re feeling your worst. 10. Do you want to talk about it? We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Stock image by Photodisc

Kate Eastman

Support and Prayer for People With Chronic Illness

Dear Chronic Illness Warrior, As you wake this morning and the day ahead looks bleak and you don’t want to repeat the endless monotony of the chronic illness life, when you don’t want to put one step in front of the other, these words are for you. This is my prayer and my wish for you… 1. May you realize you can do it. Yeah, I know, you’ve heard those words so many times and you really feel like the next person who says it deserves a punch in the face. I get it. I often get those urges, too. But you can do it. Not just because you are strong, resilient and an absolute legend, but because you have faith, you have hope, and you have got this. 2. May the appointment goodness be in your favor this day. May the wait be short. May there be new magazines in the waiting room so that you don’t have to read the 2004 issues of Vogue again. May the doctor just get it. And may you walk away with hope and a plan of action. 3. May the pharmacy have all your medications on hand and may you be surprised with how cheap they all are. 4. May your body react positively to new medication and not leave you bruised battered and seeing pineapples. 5. May your food be your friend today. And, oh so tasty. 6. May you receive a kind word from your family, friends or colleagues. 7. May sleep come easily, may your bed feel like clouds and may the random dreams of dancing pineapples stay at bay. 8. May your hopes soar. Higher than you can imagine. 9. May your desire to punch the person who offers you a cure be converted to love and compassion. 10. May your Epson salt bath ease your pain. 11. May Netflix release a new series. Or the next season of your favorite so you don’t need to watch “Gilmore Girls” for the 50th time. 12. May the sun shine… but not too much that it sets your symptoms off or the glare is too great. 13. May chocolate, or coffee, or flowers appear at your doorstep. 14. May a friend or loved one send a text or call just to say they care for you and are thinking of you. 15. May your one step in front of the other not cause you too much physical pain. And maybe, just maybe, today might be OK, because whatever today holds, even if none of the above happens, and the day is filled with hallucinations of pineapples, your faith and your hope will get you further than can on your own. Yours in pain, Kate Follow this journey at Make It, Bake It, Fake It. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Ally Teixeira

You Know You Have a Chronic Illness When

Having a chronic illness isn’t easy. All of us chronically ill warriors may feel alone, but we all have a lot in common! Here are 12 things that happen when you’re chronically ill. You know you have a chronic illness when… 1. Doing your hair feels like some serious strength training. 2. Grocery shopping has become an endurance sport. 3. You’re tired all day but can’t sleep at night. 4. You plan everything around your symptoms and your doctor appointments. 5. You have more pajamas and cozy clothes than jeans and other nicer clothing. 6. Chores have become a special kind of torture for you. 7. The weather changes make you want to vomit, even though you love the rain and sunshine equally. 8. You constantly find yourself feeling guilty for things that are out of your control. 9. You forget what it’s like to feel “normal.” 10. You can’t remember the last time you woke up feeling rested. 11. Pain has become one of the most prevalent things in your life. 12. You are able to fight your symptoms and pain every day because you are a warrior! We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Ally Teixeira

Positivity and Self-Care When Living With a Chronic Illness

I didn’t ask for this… the continuous pain, anxiety and exhaustion. What did I do to deserve this? This is how I usually start my day – with these nagging thoughts flying around in my brain upon waking. At 25 years old, I am quite the lovely little mess. It is very hard to stay positive when it feels like your body is turning against you. Being chronically ill means your life basically revolves around your illness. Absolutely everything has to be planned around it, which makes it hard to make plans in advance because you never know how you will feel. Will the pain be manageable that day? Will I be able to pretend I am OK? Or will I not be able to leave my house because the thought of taking a shower and getting ready sounds like nightmarish torture? Your life can feel like a rollercoaster, zooming up and down and going through the loop-de-loops of symptoms. Staying positive is extremely hard when you live with a constant sense of impending doom – your symptoms ready to strike at any moment. I mean, anyone would have trouble with that. So, I try to take the best care of myself I can and feed my interests as much as possible. The top three methods of self-care that help me are pretty simple. 1. Creativity I need to be creative or my soul’s flame will burn out! Writing is big for me. Being able to put my words and thoughts on paper and turn them into poetry can be such a beautiful and rewarding experience. I try to do something that allows my heart to flow out of me. Whether it be closing my eyes and listening to music as I plan a new painting in my mind’s eye, experimenting with recipes in the kitchen or even just reorganizing a drawer or shelf, I can always find something to be creative with! I have found a lot of fellow warriors really enjoy the adult coloring books and I like them too. When you are focusing on something creative, it can help ease the pain and make you feel purposeful. 2. Comfort Blankets, pillows and cozy clothes, oh my! Being as physically comfortable as possible is very important. I have ditched my bras and tight clothes and have opted for more loose-fitting clothing to cover my sensitive little body. My usual outfit consists of leggings and a big shirt or tank top. Luckily, that is actually in style these days. So hey, no sacrifice here! I also choose shoes that will provide me support as I walk. I have found that my Skechers “GOwalk” shoes are the best for me. Everyone is different though! Aside from your clothing, your home should be your comfort and safe zone. I like to refer to my house as my cave – the place where I can be myself and shut out the world. I have things up on the walls in my house that make me smile, including my own artwork, to remind me I have purpose. Keeping your home clean and comfortable is necessary. Keep your house organized so your mind can rest in a peaceful environment. I know it can be hard to keep up with cleaning and chores, so pace yourself and maybe just pick one corner of the house every day to focus on, and by the end of the week, voilà! 3. Support It is perfectly OK to ask for help and seek out support. It’s not easy for everyone (me!) but it is so worth it. When you’re sick it can be so isolating and lonely – I know. Do some research and find a local support group you can join or find one online. I have found a lot of love and support through an online group and it makes me feel like I’m not alone… or crazy! Another way to have support is to find a therapist who can help you with the feelings and moods being in constant pain can cause. There are therapists out there who actually specialize in chronic pain and chronic illnesses, and they can significantly help you and teach you breathing and meditating techniques that will help you center yourself when you feel like jumping out of your skin. Plus, it’s nice to be able to have someone to talk to about your illness who won’t judge you or make you feel small. I absolutely love my therapist. I’ll say it again: it is OK to find help! We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.