In the chronic illness community, I have found some of the strongest people you will ever come across. They are warriors who fight many battles daily, often against their own bodies or minds, just to get through each day. As much as there is hope and strength, there is also a lot of neglect and isolation. It is natural in these lonely and scary times to feel like giving up.
I often come across people who are losing all hope, but there is so much support and love available to us if we just reach out or know where to look. I hope this post will help you to find the support you need.
I have been searching online for some numbers you could call when you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. These people care, they wouldn't be doing this job if they didn't, so please reach out and talk to somebody - it's free to call!
Who To Call When You Need Help
United Kingdom: call Samaritans on 116 123
- free to call from within the UK and Ireland, even from mobiles.
United States of America: call Samaritans on 1 (800) 273-TALK.
Worldwide: contact Befrienders Worldwide or see this list of helplines worldwide - both pages have helplines organised by country.
There are people waiting 24/7 to talk with you and listen to you.
There is always a way through the crisis, always. We don't always see it ourselves because we're too consumed by it, so speaking with somebody else can really help gain perspective and find solutions that we are unable to see at the time.
People Who Will Pray For You
There are also many prayer services available where people are available to pray or chat anytime:
- If you are in the UK, contact UCB or call 0845 456 7729.
- If you're in the USA, contact K-love or call (800) 525-LOVE (5683).
- Using the above links, you can send prayer requests by email or chat online, worldwide.
To The Warrior Feeling Alone And Unheard
Firstly, know this: You are loved. You are not a burden. This is not your fault. You are beautifully unique for a reason. You are not alone in your struggles. Do not believe anybody who makes you feel otherwise!
I know it is easy to feel alone in the world, disbelieved or misunderstood, whether it's by family and friends or even your doctors! The thing is that healthy people will struggle to comprehend your pain if they have never experienced it themselves.
Chronic illness forces you to experience depths of pain and fatigue and loneliness that healthy people cannot imagine, it is not something they can wrap their heads around. And we know that most people don't believe things they cannot see or understand. That is why it is important to find people who have been where you are, people who have got through it, who understand.
I'm so sorry if you're struggling so much that you feel like there's nobody who cares. But you can overcome this! My heart breaks at the thought that somebody could feel so isolated and alone in their pain when there are so many people who really do care!
Speak Up When You Can't Cope
I know it can be so hard to voice your fears and emotions, but it is so important to reach out and speak up about what you're going through.
Even if most healthy people won't understand, you will find those gems who will support you anyway, believe you anyway and walk with you through whatever you're facing.
Whether you have known them your whole life, or they're a complete stranger you met online - their support will make a difference.
You do not need to go through this alone!
Join A Chronic Illness Support Group Online
One of the biggest support systems I have are a couple of really active and helpful support groups online. These are private Facebook groups where only members can see what's being shared.
All members are chronically ill and can openly and safely share their experiences and concerns. The groups are moderated in order to keep them as safe and inclusive as possible.
Here are a couple of great groups you can join if you need support from people who understand what you're going through:
- The Unchargeables - a huge support group for all chronic illness warriors, worldwide. A very active group of people with a wide variety of conditions. Very supportive, you're bound to find somebody online at any time.
- Medical Musings with friends - another great international support group for anybody needing friendship as they journey this often lonely & difficult path with chronic illness. Conversations can be health, family, work, school or whatever related.
- Support For PVFS, CFS, ME & FM Sufferers - my favourite support group for people with a diagnosis of Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Fibromyalgia. A virtual place to meet other people in a similar position. Chat, moan, joke, laugh, cry and provide advice, hints and tips to one another.
- I am now an admin of this group - it is the first group I joined after my diagnosis in 2015, they have helped me through so much, a lovely group of people.
- 25% of ME: Support Group for Severe CFS/ME - a safe group for the severely affected with ME or CFS. Specifically for those who are housebound or bedridden.
Don't Be Shy, Reach Out!
Very often people around you are unaware of your struggles unless you spell it out for them, you might just be surprised at the support you get once you speak up about your needs.
So keep sharing your thoughts and feelings with your friends, family, teachers, colleagues, and even people online. The chronic illness community is there for you and they get it.
Search and use these hashtags on social media like Twitter or Instagram to find others to connect with:
#ChronicIllness #Spoonie #MentalHealth #ChronicPain #Autoimmune and don't forget to hashtag your diagnosis to find others with the same conditions you have.
Why Sharing Your Experience Is Important
Many of us have been through similar experiences, by being open and honest about what we are going through we have found community and support in the most unexpected places. You're stronger than you think and you don't have to go through any of this alone. Reach out, join a support group online, send a message to somebody, make that phone call.
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Love all that your doing, , supporting, and unconditionally sharing. Would like to do the same with you and others. Theres a story in everyone of us, for many writing and sharing is the first step in reaching out in what many describe as a lonely journey. Id love to hear from you x
Thanks Kerry. I too belileve that sharing our stories is extremeley important. It lets others know they are not alone and eliminates stigma by educating people and bringing awareness to how common our conditions really are. Feel free to contact me if you have anything specific in mind or just want to chat.
Thanks for this post and the links to support groups 🙂
Hi H, I am glad this post has been helpful. Hope you are doing okay and have the support you need. Sending hugs