Life is tough for people with a chronic illness, but through the pain and the fatigue and all the other symptoms and side effects, they show an extraordinary passion for life and try to achieve as much as possible. With help from themighty.com, we’ve compiled a list of eight remarkable things to know about people living with a chronic illness.
They possess a profound strength.
Anyone who has a chronic illness must be able to manage their daily lives regardless of being in acute pain or feeling extreme fatigue. Many work, have families, run the home and some are even caregivers for others with chronic illnesses.
They don’t give up no matter how hard it gets, they dig deep and fight through each day.
They are empathic to the pain of others.
Knowing what it’s like to live in constant pain, those with a chronic illness tend to have more empathy and understanding for others in similar situations. They’re often the first to lend a helping hand when needed.
They often suffer in silence.
Acutely aware that others may not want to hear about their pain, many people with chronic illnesses will suffer their hardships quietly. They may miss social engagements because they are too ill to attend, but will downplay their non-attendance.
They become very good at pretending to be well and often don’t look ill. This may be because they have made an extra effort with their appearance to mask how they really feel, or they are managing their symptoms with medication so they can get through the day.
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They have a different take on life.
When you’re faced with a chronic illness and possibly your own mortality, you tend to place importance on different things. They will jump at new opportunities, try not to put things off until tomorrow or sweat the small stuff, and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
They may miss social events without warning.
With a chronic illness, symptoms can come and go. Just because a person is feeling well one day doesn’t mean they’ll feel fine the next. The unpredictability of their disease will mean that they too are unpredictable. Don’t be disappointed if they don’t show up to your event — if they could be there, they would be.
They need your support and understanding.
People with chronic illnesses have enough to deal with in life and they rely on family and friends to be able to understand their circumstances and support their needs. Offers of help are not expected but are certainly appreciated. Even just taking the time to ask how they’re feeling will let them know you’re there for them.
You’ll also need to understand that issues like depression, anger, frustration, and self-pity can all present themselves from time to time. Allowing people the time to work through these emotions is essential; be there to listen and offer unconditional love and support.