I have been on this chronic illness journey for nearly 20 years, and while that may be a long time, I am learning new things every single day. I am a member of several support groups on Facebook…the stories I get to hear would shock you. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far that on one hand makes me sad and on the other hand makes me want to do more to increase awareness:
◦ There is a high rate of divorce (Some spouses can’t handle everything that comes with having a spouse who is always sick…they give up)
◦ Many have to choose between paying their co-pays for much needed medication and food or mortgage (That’s a shame)
◦ Many are not believed by their family and/or close friends when they say they are sick
◦ Far too many are made fun of
◦ There is a high rate of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
◦ There is a stigma attached to having a chronic illness, especially if your illness is invisible
◦ Some suffer verbal and/or physical abuse
◦ Far too many give up and resort to suicide (The numbers are staggering)
◦ Most are too sick to work and are dependent upon social security disability for income
◦ Many are misdiagnosed with many diseases before the correct diagnosis is finally made
◦ Many suffer in silence and not receiving the proper treatment
◦ Many illnesses are invisible which can lead to resentment and frustration from others (Believe us)
I could go on and on about the things some are dealing with in addition to fighting for their health. It hurts my soul to know that some are choosing to end their lives because they are so tired of the pain, the neglect, abuse, feeling like you are a burden to family and friends.
Personally, I suffer from mild depression and anxiety. At times I miss the life I used to have…being able to do what I want, go where I want…those days are long gone. I spend a lot of time explaining my illnesses to some who really want to help but they just don’t know how. While some say they had no idea how sick I am because of my outward appearance. The only thing I can say to that is you never know what a person is going through on the inside…mentally, physically and emotionally. Check on your “strong” friends who are sick but always tell you they’re ok. It could be they’re just telling you that because they don’t want to be a burden to you. When you ask how they are doing be sure to say something like “No, how are you really doing”. Hopefully that will get them to open up and share with you how they are really feeling and how you might be able to support them.
The truth is, living with a chronic illness is ugly, painful, hard, lonely, exhausting, stressful, and isolating at times. We are doing the best we can to make it through each day, but it takes a village to make it through our journey.
Thank you so much for stopping by. Please be sure to like and subscribe to our blog so you’re in the know when we have a new blogpost. You can also find Windy’s Journey podcast now streaming on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify! We need your support to help increase awareness about chronic illness and the negative impact it has on individuals and their families. Share this with someone who is chronically ill as it is my life’s goal to Empower | Encourage & Inspire others who are on this journey with me.