You Know You…..and chronic illness

(I originally wrote this poem years ago, but it took a lengthy healing journey in therapy to finally reach the point where I felt strong and believed in myself).


YOU know you are strong inside despite what mental or chronic illness has dealt you.

YOU know you are doing the best that you can, with what life has handed you.

YOU can pat yourself on the back right now, for a job well done. Mastering and surviving each day with an illness, in my eyes, is a full-time job.

Only YOU will know when it’s time to return to the working world; if that’s your goal. It’s alright to be coached and nudged, but you are really the best judge.

Only YOU know the blackness felt during depression – how the thick black mud swallows you up and is unforgiving.

Maybe YOU don’t know how very precious you are, and that you didn’t ask for this illness, and didn’t choose to be ill, and that mental illness is not a character flaw.

YOU will find society’s thinking and attitudes on invisible illness stigma still remain, but with education, perhaps people will alter their opinions and/or judgment.   

But YOU know YOU, and that is all that is important.

(Edited and reposted)

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2019

Published by


I am a Mental Health Advocate for mental illness Stigma. In 2007, I created the "Living in Stigma" blog, with the purpose and anticipation of educating people about mental illness. Depression is part of this illness, which intertwines with those struggling with PTSD, chronic pain, and other invisible illnesses. I am a chronic migraine sufferer myself, and a sexual and emotional abuse survivor. My passions are writing, poetry, and art. All abuse Survivors are also Warriors.

19 thoughts on “You Know You…..and chronic illness”

    1. Thanks for your comment. Chronic pain is so difficult to deal with and such a struggle day after day. I know for me, I feel like such a burden at times with my migraines, and to have someone really understand ‘pain’ and not Tylenol ‘pain’. Thinking of you. Deb 🙂


      1. Very well said. I live with migraines myself. I also have a slipped disc in my back that compresses my sciatic nerve. It’s the worst feeling to not be able to stand or walk independently at the age of 29. More often than not it is exacerbated by depression. Be well. ♡Jaymie

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sorry to hear of your illness and at such a young age. I am just recovering from rectal cancer and attempting to get used to an ostomy bag hanging off my abdomen. Sure is a change of lifestyle, however, it saved my life. So wonderful I have the ability to write as it passes the time and gets my mind off everything else. Stay well, Deb 🙂 🙂


          1. I can appreciate that victory. I was a caregiver for a family member with end stage kidney failure. Dialysis, catheters, biopsies, blood work and finally – a kidney transplant. Wishing you strength. ♡

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, and yes I’m happy to connect chronic or invisible illnesses with mental illness also. It’s not always the case, but anyone who’s experienced illness for themselves or as a caregiver will understand. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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