An A to Z of chronic illness: Part 3

It’s the third part of my series of posts on the A to Z of chronic illness.  Today I will be using the letters K through to O to find words that describe what life is like living with a chronic illness…

Again, your input is always welcome to please feel free to comment on whether you enjoyed the post, and what words or phrases you would come up with.


K is for…


Everyone knows these posters that were produced during the beginning of the Second World War to increase the morale of the population in the event of a wartime disasters such as mass bombings.  Now the posters have become commercialised and can be found on a variety of different merchandise as well as different versions of the ‘Keep Calm…’ slogan.  However, I feel that this slogan applies well to advice that could be given to newly diagnosed patients, as well as a reminder for all patients to remain positive and to keep going when things are bad.  It is all too easy when symptoms are bad, and we are feeling down to give up, and curl up on the bed, and give up, but it is important, both physically and mentally to carry on regardless in the best way we can.






L is for…


Life with chronic illness can be incredibly lonely.  Often we are confined to our homes, or even our beds, sometimes on our own.  Even if we are with other people, it can still very lonely and isolating as they may not understand what it is like to live with the illness.  We often feel shut out from the world; pushing us into obscurity as we often are unable to function like everyone else, for example, illness may prevent them from working, going out with friends, going on holiday, and in some cases even leaving the house.  Living with chronic illness, is like living inside our own little bubble; we are able to see everything that is going on around us, but cannot join in, instead being confined in our own little world.  Without the support of others within the chronic illness community via social media then our lives would be very isolated indeed.





M is for…


Living constantly with illness, can certainly take its toll on your moods.  You can feel frustration from being unable to go out, or unable to do the basic tasks.  It can also lead to depression from feeling unwell most of the time.  Due to the frustration and other emotions that you may go through can also lead to anger – the anger can be directed inward with the patient blaming themselves for having the illness.  You may feel jealousy or envy of others; seeing them go out on nights out whilst we are stuck in the house, with only our symptoms for company – feeling envy for them doing all the things that we wish we could do but our condition is preventing us from doing so.  Living with a chronic illness does not only affect us physically but can also affect us psychologically.





N is for…


This is one word that applies not to all chronic illnesses, but is one that applies to my life and condition.  I have a long-standing brain stem lesion, and is one that is neurological in nature.  There are many other chronic illnesses of course, that is neurological – multiple sclerosis, chiari malformation, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), and many more.  Causes of other conditions, however may not be neurological in nature but can cause neurological type symptoms such as dizziness, spasms, poor concentration or memory, headaches, pain and so on.





O is for…


Online support groups; whether this is found on websites related to the particular health condition, on forums or even on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be not lonely a lifeline for those suffering with chronic illness but can also be incredibly helpful to discuss issues relating to the health condition, on treatments and management of symptoms with others who have first hand experience of the condition.  It can also be useful for those who may be housebound due to their conditions and therefore cannot attend local support groups in their area.   It can ease the feelings of loneliness and isolation that can come with living with a chronic illness.  It can also provide hope; whilst we are first diagnosed with a chronic condition, patients often feel that they no longer will have a normal life, however support groups can show patients that not everyday are going to be, and people still lead active and productive lives despite the illness.

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