A Love Note for Days When Chronic Illness Keeps You Home

Dear Awesome Woman, 

This day isn’t going like you’d hoped. Your heart and mind want to be out in the world doing things you love. Heck, you wouldn’t even mind doing something you don’t love if it meant you’d be out of the house.

Today, your body is asking you to slow down and stay home. It’s an invitation you’d rather not accept. You have so much planned for yourself, and this doesn’t feel fair.

You look out the window and see people and birds and trees doing their usual people and bird and tree things, living their lives outside, and you’d really like to join them.

Today feels lonelier than usual, and that’s alright. Maybe there’s sadness, regret, fear, frustration, longing, anger, confusion. It’s okay to feel it all. In fact, it’s actually good to really feel those emotions when they arise. Author Penelope Young Andrade has some simple instructions for us: “Cry when you’re sad, stop when you’re done.”

The feelings that show up today actually need to be felt. When you let them be what they are without fighting them, they’ll be able to shift and transform. Feelings are always moving - they rarely stick unless we resist them. They just want us to notice them and give them love.

In some ways, you aren’t actually alone today. There are so many of us who woke up today with the same invitation from our bodies to slow down and stay home. You’re a part of a bigger group of people who are navigating the challenging world of chronic illness--even if you can’t see us. Bring us into your mind and heart today. Know that in each moment, we are with you in essence.

You might even want to reach out to some of us! There are tons of Facebook groups for people with chronic illness, and online communities like PatientsLikeMe.com that provide space to chat and vent and uplift. What you experience matters, and it might mean a lot to someone out there to read about what you’re going through today. Likewise, maybe you’ll find someone else that was planning to see the new Spiderman movie tonight just like you, but their body had other plans, too.

Be good to yourself today. You’re fantastic, and sometimes down days can trick you into thinking you’re not. But you aren’t your body, or your thoughts, or even your emotions. You’re the thing that exists whether you feel amazing or awful: you are your spirit.

I may not know you, but I do know you’re deserving of love and patience and kindness. As author and teacher Louise Hay would recommend, go to the mirror during a difficult moment and say, “It’s okay, I love you. This [experience] will pass, but I love you and that’s forever.”

So feel your feelings, remember you're not alone, and enjoy the company of the thoughtful, sensitive, amazing person that is you. Today you’ve got her all to yourself.

With care,

P.S. If you'd like one-on-one support for your journey, let's connect! I offer therapy for women with chronic illness who want to live with joy and fulfillment. Sessions are held in my San Francisco office or online anywhere in California.