What It’s Really Like To Be Chronically Ill

The worst part about being chronically sick isn’t the physical pain, it’s the emotional pain that goes along with it. You reach a point where you can’t hold back the tears any longer and suddenly you’re breaking down in the middle of a doctor’s office. You think you can escape the emotional torture; your disease is purely physical, right?

The worst part is that there is no escape. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is no happy ending. There is no way to make the incurable go away. We learn to tolerate the physical pain. You have to. But it’s the overwhelming emotional burden that makes you feel like someone is holding your head down in the water. You can fight it, but you can never overcome that crushing feeling. How are you supposed to get rid of an emotional suffocation when the source of it is never going to go away?

Being sick is being stuck in the eternal clutch of the unknown. Any day anything could go wrong, or at least more wrong than it already has. It’s so hard not to feel anxious or depressed or completely lost when all that lies ahead is a giant question mark. You rarely seem to get answers when you are sick. And when you do, they’re often the answers you wish you hadn’t heard any way.

There’s one thing every single sick person wishes for, but rarely gets. Hope. Hope that one day things will get better. Hope that there will finally be a day when your pain is a zero on that silly little scale. Hope that one day you’ll get a glimpse of normal."

Excerpted from an article by Lauren Anne. Read more at thoughtcatalog.com.


  1. My hope is in the Lord and while I may not have relief of my afflictions here, I will in Heaven. It seems just a bit easier for me to deal with being ill since I have been all my life and this is my normal. I see my Jack and others who were once healthy struggling more. That is not to say that I don't grow weary and teary-eyed, boy do I some times! Mostly when a new ailment is diagnosed and you feel like saying, "Enough all ready!" Jack and I no longer make any firm plans, we just don't know from day to day what kind of day it will be.

    1. I so resonate with your comment Michelle. And I sometimes echo "Enough all ready!"

  2. Bob, I'm sorry to hear that your wife suffers from this kind of pain. We will pray for relief and healing!

    1. Thanks Larry. Prayers are always appreciated. And ask for a hover-chair when you are asking. Stairs are difficult for her wheelchair. ツ

  3. Saw this comment from Sean this morning at Lauren Anne's article. I am amazed at people like Sean.

    "I think that one of the keys to dealing with this is to give up hope.

    I don't hope to feel better tomorrow. I make plans as though I will, but I have no expectation of it.

    I expect that I will be in horrible pain, exhausted, and not able to move very much.

    That's the reality quite often. If it isn't, then I'm pleasantly surprised; if things are normal -- terrible pain -- I've lost nothing, because I expected that. Is this attitude successful?

    I can only say this: My today was totally derailed by pain -- and I'm not depressed about that."

  4. Another great response to Lauren Anne's article. This one from Dana.

    I have MS and I look totally "normal". But on the inside, my brain is fighting against me. I notice every little change in my functioning level while no one else can. The doctors say it's because I have always been "high-functioning" so every little thing is noticible...that's nice and all, to say that I'm still operating at an above average level, but the truth is it's depressing to feel your memory, cognition and physical abilities slip away so very slowly from you with no end in sight. Every day I am thankful for what I still have and will fight to keep as much as possible and live the best life that I can, even if it's from a wheelchair or as a bedridden shell of my former self. MS patients grieve every day for what has been lost and fight bravely against an unknown future . Don't ever assume that a normal looking person is totally healthy...you can't see the war that is raging on the inside, you only see the warrior on the outside!

  5. Another response from a commenter named TamaraLynn.

    "Watching a loved one suffer from a chronic illness, one which there is no cure is horrific beyond words.. We lost my brother this year to Lymphangiomatosis. There isnt enough data to know exaclty how to treat this disease and patients suffer so badly.. Watching my brother pass away was not only torture on us but him as well..

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and all the other chronically ill patients."


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