I was speaking to a friend recently about chronic illness and the many effects it has on a person’s life. Of course, there are the physical symptoms that are a direct cause of one’s disease, but how about the emotional toll it takes on a person? How often do we hear professionals talk about the emotional impact a chronic condition may have?
There is so much emphasis placed on the physical symptoms (which is obviously so important), but I don’t know of many people whose doctors have prepared them for the emotional roller coaster that comes along with any sort of health journey. And it is a rough freaking journey! I know that we have all had days where either the fatigue or the pain (or both) are so bad that showering isn’t even an option. For me, there are days where the brain fog is so bad that stringing words together to form a coherent sentence just isn’t going to happen. And sometimes, on those days, it is damn hard to be positive and optimistic. Some days it’s hard to not dwell in the despair and self-pity.
For many of us, there are YEARS between the onset of symptoms and an actual diagnosis; that’s years of not knowing what is happening in your body, not being believed by medical professionals, watching the person you once were deteriorating before your eyes. Then once you get diagnosed, your prize is a lifetime of specialists and prescriptions, procedures and tests, pain and fatigue, days and weeks spent bedridden, hospitalizations, and many many people questioning the validity of your illness or offering their unsolicited ‘cure’ for what you are going through. Some days this life can feel completely isolating.
The reality of this journey that we are all on is that you are not alone! You do not have to struggle in silence or without the support and understanding of others fighting the same battle that you are. There are millions of people feeling the exact same way that you do. There are millions of people going through the same struggles that you are. You are not alone.
So for anyone struggling with their chronic illness today – physically or emotionally – all I can say is I’m with you.
I’m here for you.
I love you.