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Chronic illnesses affect all of us

Ouch! I kicked my toe... and I think that’s bad


Imagine having a 10/10, sharp, enduring pain in your knee… 

 Hi, I am referred to as chronic pain.


Imagine never gaining full use of the entire left side of your body….
Hi, I was that stroke you had.


Imagine having to have a puffer every time you exercised for the rest of your life…

Hi, lots of people know me as asthma



Imagine going for dialysis treatment 3 times a week, hours at a time for the last 3 years…

 Hi I would be what you call kidney failure



Imagine feeling sad, low, tired, unmotivated most days…

Hi, I am depression and I never let up.


I guess I would call myself lucky as I cannot imagine what it would be like to experience all these kinds of chronic conditions, illnesses or symptoms. And here I am worrying about the fact I just kicked my big toe….


On a serious note what I can share with you though is that I see people day in, day out suffering with chronic conditions. Some of you may be wondering how I see so many people suffering. Here’s why – I work in a hospital. I am constantly exposed to people trying overcome a stroke, people experiencing kidney disease, heart disease, chronic pain, others living with asthma, whilst the saddest is seeing these kinds of chronic illnesses such as cancer or respiratory failure defeating people down to their very last days. I feel absolutely blessed to have met and worked with so many people who are defying the odds or learning to accept how their health will be for the rest of their lives. The resilience that some people possess still ceases to amaze me every day.


Young people are affected by illness not just as the person who is sick. Having a good support support network is so important when it comes to chronic illnesses and we can't forget about the impact of the illness on friends and family. More anfd more, young people are becoming the main carers of a parent or family member with a chronic illness.


There are lots of reasons why some people can cope with chronic conditions more easily than others, and a lot of it comes down to the support you get and the resulting stress levels - for example whether you can afford to have months off work and it not impact your abillity to pay the rent etc. Chronic illnesses often change people’s lives- sometimes dramatically or slowly over time. But it’s not just the physical condition that people have to manage – it’s their whole life. Sufferers of chronic illness ride a rollercoaster of emotional changes, social changes, environmental changes (e.g. where they live), their financial circumstances…


But hey this is just my experience of working with chronic illnesses…. I'd love to hear yours. In the meantime, here is Jordan's story and Sarah's story is below...



Sarah's story


So feel free to join us here at reach out on Monday the 26th of August 8pm EST, if you yourself experience a chronic illness, someone you know experiences chronic illness or you just want to find out more about chronic illness in general. All questions and experiences are welcome. We look forward to seeing you all there for a chat!



More info:



Re: Chronic illnesses affect all of us

Hey everyone!

Welcome to tonight's Getting Real session on Chronic Illness–  We'd love to know what Chronic Illness means to you, experiences, and thoughts on this topic. Tonight's session will be facilitated by Lealea07, Sophie and I.


As always, if anything in tonight’s session upsets you in any way there’s an emergency help tab in the top right hand corner which we urge you to use. Also keep in mind that we want to keep this discussion safe for everyone so try to stick to the community guidelines


So to start us off, lets head onto the first question for tonight.

Re: Chronic illnesses affect all of us

What is a chronic illness in your opinion?How is it different to illness?

Re: Chronic illnesses affect all of us

Hey guys Smiley Happy Looking forward to tonight's discussion!

Re: Chronic illnesses affect all of us

Hi Gail! thanks for coming along... Hi everyone else lurking!

Online Community Manager

Re: Chronic illnesses affect all of us

@Cheekyone wrote:

What is a chronic illness in your opinion?How is it different to illness?

I'd say a chronic illness lasts longer than regular, general illness. I don't necessarily think that a chronic illness is more severe than illness (as in, you could be diabetic & in control of your diabetes, but having the flu might make you acutely unwell). I think chronic illnesses are more likely to interfere with your ongoing, everyday life though.

Re: Chronic illnesses affect all of us

Hi everyone - welcome to tonights discussion.


What is a chronic illness in your opinion? How is it different from illness?

I guess my understanding is that chronic illness is more long standing. Where as illness in general may last for a shorted period of time, therefore may only be acute.

Re: Chronic illnesses affect all of us

Yep, our factsheet defines it as one that lasts a long time and has ongoing symptoms..

Online Community Manager

Re: Chronic illnesses affect all of us

Welcome Gail, I love your answer Smiley Happy

Re: Chronic illnesses affect all of us

I guess also chronic illnesses can generally impact more people around the person suffering and can cause widespread changes to ones life - e.g. changing jobs, loss of finances, increased medical expenses, not being able to be as social.


We might move on to our next question...

  Do you know anyone with a chronic illness? What is something you admire about them?