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14 Things You Know If You Got Diagnosed With A Chronic Illness In Your 20s

There's never enough spoons.

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1. Young adulthood isn't what you thought it'd be.


Drinking, partying, going on adventures? Not so much. You're juggling all the things your peers are along with doctor appointments, extra self-care practices, making lifestyle changes, and being sick. Being sick a lot. You may not even be able to do some of the things your peers are, like drinking or staying out all night, because of how you need to take care of your body.

2. Your limits.

The hardest part can be adjusting a new level of capability. At first, chronic illness seems to get in the way of the things you are trying to do and the things you normally do. It can be really difficult to slow down, but in the end slowing down will be less damaging then burning out. You know now that you can get back to a life closer to how yours was before, you just have to be patient and put in the work.

3. How to love yourself, again.

Even if you always had a healthy self-esteem, being new to chronic illness can make you feel disconnected from your body. You can remember how you looked or felt before, but you feel different now. You might even feel like your body has betrayed you. But you know that it's important to take care of your body more than ever. Patience, love, and eventually acceptance will come.

4. How to put up with other people.

People can be the worst and the best. The second best thing to a person who understand your pain is a person who understands you. If you haven't found one yet, a significant other that love, accepts, and is patience with you is worth the wait. You are allowed to break down and feel all the emotions about your life with chronic illness. You deserve people who understand that.

There will be other "friends" who just never get your fatigue or don't want to hear about your pain anymore. These people are also the worst and you can remove them from your life, if you want. You are a person first and a person with illness second, but you don't have to pretend to be well 24/7 for anyone.

5. Going vegan doesn't cure anything.

You've heard all the ridiculous advice there is. Yoga, diets, sleep, drinking water, massage... It's all just money or energy you don't have. Yes, making some behavioral changes might help or prevent irritations, but you've accepted that there is no cure. At least, right now there isn't. People just want to believe the BS they're fed that normal=healthy. You know it's not true, researchers know it's not true, but a lot of people are still going to think it is. They're ignorant and you don't have to feel ashamed or like it's your job to educate them.

6. You're still hot.


Distended bowl? Colostomy bag? Weight loss? Weight gain? Scars? You're still beautiful and worthy of love. You live in your body and it's going to show signs of that. Just keep wearing what you want, even if it's sweat pants. Looking your best takes time and energy anyway. You have a lot of looks, all of them are okay.

7. You're not too young to feel this way.

Being in your 20s doesn't cancel out your chronic illness. Between people not believing your struggles or just assuming you're incapable, it's exhausting. Even if there's no proof to show people of it, your pain is real. All your symptoms are real.

8. Comparing disadvantages isn't comforting.


No, Karen, your allergies are not like a chronic illness.

You know, even if you have the same exact illness, playing the "who's life is worse" game is not cool. Everyone has their own unique, separate experiences. Invalidating others is pretty much the most disgusting thing a person can do.

9. Even on the good days, you're still sick.

There are good days and bad days. You've got to be ready for both, even when they hit you out of no where. These things just can't be controlled. Don't feel like you have to push to do everything on a good day either, you do what you want/can because it's not worth driving yourself into the ground tomorrow over.

10. Bodily functions are nothing to be upset over.

When illness affects your more private activities, that illness can seem really embarrassing to talk about. You've learned, though, that every body is out there talking about their poops and whatnot. They're almost all nasty, so you might as well join them in the acceptance of it.

11. Sometimes you NEED a break.


It's hard to actually take that break with all your responsibilities, but you need to. You're brilliant and irreplaceable. If someone doesn't want you to maintain that by taking care of yourself they are wrong. Burnout is real for anyone. You know it's better to take time to nurture your body, rather than crashing and burning all your work down.

12. You can't always see what people are going through.

Chronic illness can be so variable in it's visibility. Sit down, use the elevator, drive even if its a short distance. All lot of your symptoms can't be seen. You know you're not lazy, though. Disability/different abilities. You won't let the looks of rude people stop you from doing what you need to do.

13. Not all doctors are as smart as you'd think.

Tumblr: chronicallyugh

Depending on your illness, your doctor might've spend a total 5 minutes of a lecture on it in medical school. This makes them no more allowed to invalidate your experience than anyone else. Sometimes you'll have to push and look for help elsewhere. Somewhere, some one gives a shit about your experience and will help you navigate it.

14. This is your life now.

It's going to be okay. You've already been through a lot, so you can handle whatever comes next. You know you're allowed to be upset about how unfair your situation is. You're also allowed to do whatever is necessary to make the most of your energy each day.

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