Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
7 Steps to Cope with Chronic Illness

7 Steps to Cope with Chronic Illness

Coping with a chronic illness is not easy. Here are some things that helped me:

Assign a spokesperson:

When I spent a month in the hospital after complications from a liver biopsy I assigned my husband and daughter as spokespeople on my behalf. I knew Aunt Suzy had historically been crass, rude, and gossipy so I skipped the agony of going through that conversation and let others do it for me. I still rely on my husband, James, to update my family.  I am sensitive, and despite my low expectations, I struggle to remain neutral regarding this intimate, and personal part of my life, health, and future. So I rely heavily on my strong husband.

Lower your expectations of others:

You know your past. Are you sensitive? An empath who feels too much? Choose carefully who to tell, and expect everyone you tell to respond wrong. It’s just fact. Have we done it ourselves? Responded wrong? So expect it. 

Extend mercy:

Even after expecting nothing, and delegating the updates to someone else, I have found that I still can’t remain untouched by hurtful words, or worse, no words at all. I try to remember that everyone is busy, my disease isn’t obvious, social media has taken the place of deep relationships, every home and life has drama, pain, and loss. Use your own disappointment to be the fuel to not let that kind of isolation happen to others. 

Practice gratitude:

This is a big one. Be grateful for your dog, baby, that one friend who remembers to check on you, your Pastor who prays, the mountains, husband, a CURE! Find things and people to be thankful for. Notice how I said “Practice Gratitude”? It doesn’t come naturally when we’re sick and hurt to be grateful, and yet being thankful can heal us and those around us so practice, practice, practice.

Get a dog:

Or borrow a dog, or a cat or some other creature that can show love, never judge, always has your back, is loyal and intuitively knows when to cuddle a little closer on bad days.

Social media:

Social media can be a great source of support, but it can also make you feel really awful, so use wisdom and strategize your Facebook use. Cater your page, friends, and forums to your health and heart. Who needs help? Start there. Be sure to like and comment on their posts. Despite your pain, pajamas, pale face, and feelings of hopelessness, social media can be a great way to BE supportive, useful and productive. Where can you safely whine? Probably not on your personal page, but perhaps a chronic illness forum will be more supportive and understanding.


Pray to God for strength, read inspirational books, watch encouraging movies, and videos.

What helps you cope? Share with us in the comments!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.