For the one fighting chronic illness, life can be hard.
Even normal, daily activities can often seem like you’re attempting to climb a mountain but can never quite reach the top.
I understand, for I have battled chronic migraines for most of my life.
When you have chronic pain or illness you can feel as if you were walking down a road and you were suddenly attacked by robbers that stole something very precious from you. You fought them but you kept being knocked down until you didn’t have any more strength to fight. The precious thing stolen from chronic pain warriors is their time.
Time with their loved ones. Time doing what they love to do. Time that they should be living free of pain.
While battling my chronic migraine and fatigue, I often had to cancel meetings with friends or family. I had to stop doing what I wanted to do because of the pain. One day a friend asked me if she was upsetting me and that’s why I had kept canceling our plans to get together.
I remember a new realization hitting me. How must the family and friends of those battling chronic illness feel?
While I processed this, I came up with just a few things that I want you to understand if you love someone who fights chronic pain and illness. These are just four things that your chronically ill loved one really wants you to know. Four things I want to remind my family and friends.
1. “I’m doing my best.”
Chronic pain can be exhausting. I really am trying to be normal and keep smiling through it, but sometimes…sometimes it’s too much. I know it can seem like I get irritated more quickly and I really am sorry for those times. I want to do better, to conquer the pain more than the last time. But for now, please remember that I am doing our very best.
2. “I don’t mean to be unreliable.”
If you knew me before my chronic illness, you would know that I did not cancel plans unless there was an emergency. I have a strong sense of reliability and I have always wanted to be someone you could count on.
It’s not easy for me to make plans and cancel them so often. It’s not easy for any of us who fight this. I don’t mean to come across as unreliable. I don’t mean to disappoint you. Please, remember how very much I want to spend time with you and follow through with my plans. But sometimes…sometimes I know that my body just needs to rest.
3. “Just because I don’t look sick, doesn’t mean I’m not sick.”
You may see me at the mall laughing with friends or at work talking to customers with a smile on my face. And on the outside I may look just as healthy as anyone else. But just because I don’t look sick, doesn’t mean that I’m not sick.
Please, remember that I can be sick and still smile, so don’t push me to prove how sick I am. Please, be gentle and remember that I have more sick days than I do healthy days, but I may never tell you that.
4. “Remember that I always love you.”
I may cancel plans and I may not text you or call you as often as I would like. I may forget to reply to your messages for weeks at a time. I may forget to tell you sometimes how much you mean to me. But please, always remember how very much I do love you.
When I’m fighting these battles against my own body, I can become so distracted, but I do know how hard it is on you too. I am so grateful for the way you stand beside me through it all and always try to help.
And I love you. To all my family and friends, I love you so much.
Don’t ever doubt my love for you.
Getty Image by Brainsil