For those who do not suffer from chronic illness, I am going to share eight extraordinary things about people with Chronic Illness that you need to know. May this list encourage you to understand their plight and their incredible passion to live despite their suffering. May it open a new perspective for you to consider. May it help you understand what they endure. May it inspire you to appreciate the people in your life who suffer from chronic illness- and tell them how much you admire them.
For those who are reading this list and you live a life of chronic illness-
This one’s for you.
- People with chronic illness have a profound strength to manage life while in pain.
They have a relentless will to live, so they dive deep into their reservoir of strength to mine more of it every single day they are faced with the challenges of their pain. They don’t give up, despite the debilitating symptoms they experience. They push through and grab hold of what they can to find fulfillment in every day. This type of endurance and perseverance proves to be an ongoing battle that results in profound fortitude.
Reach out to them and acknowledge their incredible strength, would you?
2. People with chronic illness have an astute awareness of other people’s pain.
Because they have endured their own difficult road of affliction, they are in tune to the people around them. They have extraordinary empathy and compassion for others. They have a deep understanding of adversity and hardship, so they can truly appreciate someone else’s struggles. When someone is hurting, they are usually the first to respond and console because they know the significance of having support.
Reach out to them and tell them how much you appreciate their compassion, would you?
- People with chronic illness have a unique perspective on life.
They are constantly challenged to find meaning and fulfillment within their own limitations, and they will celebrate simple things that others take for granted. They have an exceptional admiration for life experiences, because they often live within the confines of their captivity- unable to live an active life. They have learned to look for the gifts in every day with great vigilance.
Reach out to them and tell them how you are inspired by their perspective, would you?
- People with chronic illness often don’t tell people when they are struggling.
Because they are sick so often, they don’t want to burden others regularly. They suffer alone because they hate to make people feel uncomfortable or obligated in any way. Many times, you will notice they disappear for a time – They miss regular events, social activities, or friends and family gatherings. This is often when they are trying to manage their symptoms and are too sick to do much else. Their disappearance sometimes goes unnoticed. This is quite possibly the hardest part of being chronically ill. They desperately want to join you.
Reach out to them when you notice they aren’t around and let them know they are missed, would you?
- People with chronic illness live a secret life of suffering.
They may not look sick at all, but underneath their appearance there is a person fighting fiercely to be well. They may fall apart as soon as they get home, after keeping the facade for hours wherever they were. They may have taken enough medicine just to get them through the day. They can mask their pain with smiles so others won’t notice their suffering. They don’t want to be seen as sick all the time, so they try hard to present themselves as ‘okay’… and often, they are not.
Reach out to them and ask them how they’re REALLY doing. Then listen, with empathy and love, would you?
- People with chronic illness need you to check on them.
They often feel uncomfortable reaching out for help or support, because they feel people have more important things to do. They are confident people are tired of hearing about their sickness/disease, so they stop telling their family and friends about their struggles. They hate what they are enduring, and wish things were different.
Reach out to them and assure them you are NOT tired of hearing about their struggles, (and genuinely mean it). Ask them how you can help them, would you?
- People with chronic illness can fail to follow through on commitments.
While they want so desperately to live a full life connecting with others and showing up when they say they will, chronic sufferers don’t have the privilege of knowing how they will feel each and every day. They wish to God they could be more predictable, but their illness controls the outcome. If they fail you, please understand that they are more disappointed than you could ever be. They have to live with the anguish of letting you down on top of the physical suffering they endure. All they have is hopeful intention and often it is met with utter defeat.
Reach out to them and tell them you absolutely understand and ask to reschedule for when they are feeling better, would you?
- People with chronic illness need to know they are loved unconditionally, because you cannot place conditions on them.
While most of the world and the people in it operate on performance and productivity, people who suffer from chronic illness cannot measure their worth in this way. Some days, they may feel they are of no value because they couldn’t do anything productive besides manage their illness. They can feel useless and insignificant to the world around them. They must learn to love themselves without expectations, and you must too.
Reach out to them and tell them how valuable they are, just as they are, would you?
People who endure long-suffering are in all of our lives. Let’s make sure we walk alongside them with the love and support they deserve.
Who suffers from Chronic Illness in your life?
Make sure you reach out, and tell them they are something special, would you?
*For those who suffer from Chronic Illness, my book can offer you help and hope. “Help and Hope While You’re Healing: A Woman’s Guide Toward Wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness.”
Sue Theimer says
I, especially, thought you ‘really nailed it’ with this post. I know how wonderfully you have treated me…always helping when I need it. You helped when I asked for help changing my bed…you pushed the wheel chair through the park…you always ask,”How are you feeling, Mama?”,when you darn well know I am so frequently in pain. I can verify everything in this post is true for the author. but I need to do so much more than I do for others. And. especially, for my daughter.
This brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it, and again now. Thanks mama. SO much for this. (We need to hit the park ONE MORE TIME before it’s too late!) 🙂
My Inner Chick says
**People with chronic illness live a secret life of suffering.**
Thank you for this post, dear. xxx from MN.
I truly hope it raises awareness for all that they endure. <3 They are so incredibly strong!
Janine Huldie says
Aw, Chris thanks for explaining this yet a bit further to us here today as it definitely gave me a better understanding of those who are suffering from chronic illness.
I’m so glad it did, Janine! I appreciate you coming by to read it. <3
Beautiful and heartbreaking. I think #3 hit me hard. And #4 is how I am with anxiety. It’s different but it falls under the invisible illness category.
I don’t have a chronic illness but boy do I know people who do.
I get it with the anxiety, Tamara. I thought a lot of these could apply!
Amazing!! I can’t even find the proper words to describe how I feel about this post and you. Just THANK YOU!! ❤️
It makes me SO HAPPY to know that this post served you well, my beautiful friend! I was SO hoping it would be an accurate representation of all YOU endure. I hope people gain more awareness and understanding through it. <3
Lynn J Simpson says
Wonderful Christine! I know I definitely have to be cognitive on #7 as I have acquaintances with chronic illness who will commit to something I am hosting, and then not show, which can be frustrating BUT, like everything else, I need remember their intention is to not let anyone down, and be compassionate. Thank you for sharing these points.
Oh Lynn, that is the hardest one of all! We really must be patient and understanding and realize it is not their choice. <3
Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says
You know I live this life (you do know that, right?) and you definitely nailed it. All true and all important. <3
I do, sweet friend. I do. I’m glad this was an accurate portrayal for you, Lisa. I don’t think people truly understand.
Debbie Marmont says
I truly wish my Daughter and Son at least felt that my symptons were and r justified!! They all think I’m a weak person for giving into imaginery illness!#!
I find more do not under stand than those who do! Not whining just stating the fact as I see it for the last almost 20 yrs!!
This is a wonderful, SO helpful piece, Kitty. I’m so glad you wrote it because it will help people like me to be better friends to people who have chronic illnesses <3 Thank you <3
Thanks love. That is my goal with this list. It really is a secret way of life and people need to understand better what they endure so they can not only help them more, but appreciate all that they go through!
patrick flynn says
I’m chronic ill my life is a stuggle day by day asking for help is farbetween and I have a bladder that arrupededi have no way to void so god is their because I’m alone still alive not because of me but because of him
Patrick, I am so sorry you have to endure so much. I pray you can reach out to someone for help. Your strength in faith is inspiring. <3
Beautiful perspective! Everyone could use these truths!
I think so too, Chris. Thank you!
You’re such an encouragement! I know so many who will not reach out..your advise to check in on them is so key..I know I tend to ‘think of them’ and mean to call..and then forget. This is something I will be working on because of your encouragement!
Aw thanks so much, Kathy. YES- that is really so important for people to do. I’m so glad this reminded you to reach out more often!
You touched on the exact essence of what life with chronic illness feels and looks like. Thank you!
Oh Melanie, your response and affirmation of this post means SO much to me. I’m grateful my words give chronic illness an accurate voice.
It’s really good that you post this. We need to be aware of what people with chronic illness go through so we can best understand them and know how to deal with them.
This is incredibly touching. It’s so hard to find the right words when you are sick. I made it to #7 but your 8th point had me in tears. I am going to share this w/ the ppl in my life. I appreciate what it must be like living w/ a sick mom & wife. It’s so difficult to find your purpose sometimes. Your writing is bang on. THANK YOU ????????
Christine Wildman says
you just said everything in my head…. and for years, this led to suicide. I’m better now, but stl I hate to burden fills, and I can’t always carry it alone on my shoulders. so I just go to bed, and pray. but I hate that my own body betrays me and makes me a liar and promise breaker. thank you for this post!
My heart breaks for you Christine. It sounds like you have had to endure far too much, and suffering can lead to hopeless and despair. I’m so sorry you have had to bear such a burden but thankful you are STILL here. I would guess that there are people in your life who would be crushed if you weren’t. Hold on to those things that truly matter- our bodies may betray us, but our hearts can win the battle and embrace those things our bodies cannot. Remember, the gifts you can embrace and offer are not of the physical nature- there’s much you can do, and your life is worthy of those things.