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Things I Hate Hearing Living with Chronic Illness

“You’re So Strong”

You have no idea how much I am melting internally. I haven’t slept for 4 nights and the stomach pain I experience makes me want to be rocked again by my mom in a rocking chair. Does that make me strong? Strong isn’t a choice. Being sick isn’t a choice. Being strong when things are really rough is the only way we survive and try to thrive with an illness. Do you understand that? Don’t tell me I’m strong.

“You’re So Brave”

What choice do I have? I’m brave? Brave for waking up the next morning with zero control over what happens to my body throughout the next 12 hours? Don’t call me brave; I’m simply functioning as the best way I’m able to do. I’m brave for going to bed at night knowing I’ll wake up and the monster I call illness will still be there? Haunting me as my shadow? My coping mechanisms in response to denial work hard when you tell me I’m brave. Don’t tell me I’m brave.

“At Least…”

Any time you use this phrase with me, you’re trying to bargain my situation… without my permission. Don’t. Telling me in your form of polite “it could be worse” lessens the value of us being validated. When you say “at least”, we feel the opposite of what we actually need – validation. By saying “at least…” it makes us feel less valued and doesn’t give us the feeling that you actually support us. It just gives us the feeling that you view our ailment or disability as something than what actually impacts our lives in a great big way you clearly don’t yet understand. When you tell me “At least…” you’re bargaining my situation with cards you have never been dealt in the ways, but I live to see how the hand is played every day & every night.

What are the things you like to hear, things that make you feel validated and things that make you feel supported by others who try to understand?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • trampslady0709
    7 months ago

    I have never hated those word “you’re so strong “ so much as this past year! Everyone telling me this as my world is falling apart and dealing with flares! Dealing with flares is bad enough then add your fiance being killed in an accident 2 months before your wedding. More flares then you have to move from your home because you can no longer afford it, surgeon tells you on Thursday you have to have surgery on Tuesday the following week! Did I mention that I had just started a new job and with the absentee policy they have I’m holding on to that job by a thread cuz I don’t want to be out of work for again seeing how it took 7 months to get this job. Moving while recovering from surgery and having to put dow our 18 year old fur baby. And then finding out that my mom has been diagnosed with cancer. Yeah I REALLY DO NOT WANT TO HEAR YOUR SO STRONG! I get through each day because I HAVE to. Not because I choose this crap!!
    And yes things could be worse but when you’re going through all this mess you DO NOT want to hear that!! I was at the point of wanting to scream when someone would say either of those sayings. And I do believe I did a time or two!!!

  • Kelly C (#purpleproject) moderator author
    7 months ago

    Thank you so much for your comment. I hate that it happens to other people & others feel the same way I do, but after 14 years, I don’t know HOW the heck to respond most of the time.

    Kelly, Team Member

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