Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

Surviving The Hurt And Loneliness Of Chronic Illness

When you live with chronic illness you take moments of joy wherever you can find them. But when you’re sidelined for days and weeks on end it can lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem or even thoughts of suicide.

Joy can be a game changer.

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~Francis of Assisi

chronic illness

Being constantly sick wears on your nerves. Your psyche becomes shattered. Watching the hours slip away while life moves on can leave you in a deep, black hole.

Social media digs that black hole even deeper. Threads of wonderful, fascinating, and inspiring activities being enjoyed by others creates feelings of happiness for them, yet you feel empty inside. They are tasting that delicious slice of life you long for.

“Thank you, dear God, for this good life, and forgive us if we do not love it enough.” ~Garrison Keillor

It’s daunting to be chronically sick while trying to keep up a good front. It’s easy to give into despair, to allow a blanket of physical and emotional pain sweep over the joy you crave.

“There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.” ~Adrienne Rich

It’s hurtful when the phone stops ringing. Friends and family stop calling for a variety of good and bad reasons. No matter what the reason is, it hurts.

I’ve experienced all of the above while having MS. When the blues wash over me it’s like having a nemesis show up at my front door.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” ~Marianne Williamson

Answer the door and walk on through. That’s the only way we can get to the other side.

Talk therapy. Medications. Meditation. Advocate. Journaling. Yoga. Breathwork. Reading. Music. Quotes. Walking. T’ai Chi. Reiki. Communicating. Social interaction. Optimism. 

These next two quotes sum up how I hope to feel after walking through my door. If you answered your knock I hope you’ll walk along with me. Together we can find the joy that life has in store for us. It’s hard work to get rid of the hurt and loneliness of chronic illness. But I promise you it’s worth the effort. I’m reaching out my hand for you. I hope you’ll be reaching back.

“We can feel isolated and powerless when living with chronic illness, but what if your story begins to bridge the barrier or open a way for someone to connect? What if your story offers a glimmer of hope to someone standing at the edge of desolation? …What if your story starts the conversation?”
~Cindee Snider Re, Discovering Hope: Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness

“She has fought many wars, most internal. The ones that you battle alone, for this, she is remarkable. She is a survivor.”
~Nikki Rowe



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40 thoughts on “Surviving The Hurt And Loneliness Of Chronic Illness

  1. Helene Cohen Bludman

    Those of us who love you are sending hugs and strength. You are an amazing, wonderful woman who more than deserves a break! I pray that you will be feeling better very soon. xoxo

  2. Laura Weers

    Your thoughts and words are perfect on the problems associated with any illness that someone does not understand. My Mother had to diagnose herself when she had ALS. Some people were rude because of their lack of knowledge or they never think they will get any illness. None of us know what will befall us someday so everyone please be kind to one another.

  3. Cathy Sikorski

    Oh my darling Cathy. I cannot tell you how it pains me to know that you suffer so silently. I love you and your spirit so much. I know you wish to be ‘out there’ in the world, but you must know that your writings, your connecting over the Internet, your tenacity to stay in touch even when you don’t feel up to it, is such a blessing for the rest of us. Thank you, dear friend and thank you for the perfect quotes both for you and for all of us. Sending you love, grace and a big, huge HUG!!!

  4. penpen

    Cathy–I don’t know you but your words resonate with me. Not because I am ill–at present I am blessed with good health–but because it’s a reminder to take time to call friends who are infirm and do something special for those who are plagued–chronically or temporarily–with illness and the isolation it can bring.
    So thank you for this reminder to hug friends and keep them close, in illness and in health.
    penpen recently posted…Social Media Etiquette: Instagram and the risks of sharing photos, part IIMy Profile

  5. Mithra Ballesteros

    A deeply moving message. “Watching the hours slip away while life moves on…”. Especially in our frenzied world, it must feel like quicksand. You stopped time for me this morning. Thank you for helping so many in your very special way.

  6. Beth

    I was chronically ill for years and it was everything you just described. As another commented mentioned, I had to stop and regroup many times. I learned to write, took courses and found Facebook groups for the chronically ill . It’s rough. Prayers are with you.

  7. Roxanne Jones

    You are such an inspiration, Cathy. I’m sending you a big, gentle virtual hug, and want to thank you for your candor, insight and willingness to share your struggle. I know my sister–who is also struggling with the life-altering ups and downs of MS–finds so much value in your words, too.

    1. Post author

      Tamara, you are so right. Feeling lonely and hurt has parallels to grief. I wish we didn’t live so far away from one another, but we could connect in other ways. I find that talking about feelings with people who walk in similar shoes is incredibly helpful and healing. Much love always, Cathy

  8. janet tancredi

    So once again, I read your blog. It gives me strength to know I’m not alone in how I feel. Chronic illnesses can make you feel that way sometimes! Everyone has there own lives and that is okay! I think I need to make friens with people that have similar circumstances.

    1. Post author

      Do what you can, Janet, and reach out to people who are like-minded. I know that’s sometimes easier said than done but begin with small steps. Stop by a support group, spend a day at a local library, go to Meetups that interest you, join social activities sponsored by your town, library or place of worship. I hope you find people who are as sweet as you are, Janet.

  9. Donna

    Beautiful words of hope. I know this has been hard for you, I have met women with cancer, MS, depression, getting divorced, children being a mess, parents living with them and they are the sole caretaker….some of them have your outlook. Positive and determined to help others, they are the ones with hope, as you do. Many choose to give up and even others become bitter and angry….although you did not choose MS you have chosen your outlook. XXOO

  10. Cathy Lawdanski

    Very hard my other Cathy with a “C” friend. I’m sorry for the pain & loneliness you feel. I admire your fight in the midst of it. The desire to reach out your hand to make a difference. The battle is long and hard. Praying for you.

  11. Angela

    You shared some very uplifting quotes. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to live with a chronic illness like MS. I’m glad you are finding hope and a positive outlook.

  12. Wendy McCance

    I am so grateful for this post today. You described exactly how I am feeling today.

    I saw a friend the other day. She was able to spend two hours with me in between her incredible and enviable busy life. Afterwards she was off to a play her friend was in. I went home and crawled into bed exhausted and in pain.

    I have graves disease, fibromyalgia and now am starting treatment for a blood cancer (multiple myeloma) yep, I won the lottery on getting multiple illnesses!

    Thank you for sharing your experiences as you go through your own struggles. Just wanted you to know that your words have been very powerful and positive for me.

    1. Post author

      I hope there is a day ahead where you find wellness, and that it continues for the rest of your days Wendy. I am glad my post made a difference to you. That means everything. Thanks for letting me know. Best to you always. Cathy

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