Medical Mondays: Give Yourself Permission to be Sick

We who have chronic health problems live in the sick world. Every day is a challenge, a fight against our own weakened bodies and often the pain and discomfort they send our way.

But some days are worse than our "normal." We feel more sick than our usual sick. Something flares up, or we catch and illness or infection.

What do we do? I know I tend to feel a huge sense of guilt. I shouldn't have gotten more sick. What did I do wrong? How can I keep this from happening again? This has to be my fault somehow.

Even if it is, that's not the right thing to be thinking of during that time. It adds stress and our bodies are already stressed because of our chronic condition. 

So here's my advice for those times:

Stop trying to not be sick.

Just because you live in the chronic illness world does not mean an added sickness or flare up should not be taken seriously. Just because you are ill every day does not mean this added illness is not valid and should not be treated as such.

Give yourself permission to be sick, to let people know you are struggling, to be helped. Don't tell yourself this is just like every other day. It's not. You need to rest. To take a sick day off if possible. Spend the day in your pjs.

Sale $15!! NARMALA Full (XS, S)
I even bought some really cool pj pants, made by rescued women in India, for my sicky pj days!

Also, don't expect your body to just bounce back out of it. You have a chronic illness and that weakens your body. It will take you longer than a "normal" healthy person.

That is not your fault, so don't feel guilty about it. And communicate it clearly to those you live with, or those who want to help. Go ahead and say it out loud. "Because of my underlying condition of ________, it's going to take me longer to recover from this. I need _______________ please."

For those of us who are ill, pushing forward when we know we are sick will only make things worse. So please, give yourself permission to be sick. Use the energy you would have spent on feeling guilty and re-focus that on resting and getting better. Shoot, stay in bed all day and read books if you can!

I don't know about you, but a real sick day every once in awhile makes my body very happy. It's actually very good for us, you know. A free kind of medicine.

If you are having a sick day today, I hope you get well soon! And in the meantime, I hope you have a peaceful, guilt-free rest.


  1. Thank you for this post Kimberly! It couldn't have come at a better time for me. Tomorrow I leave for a 10-11 day road trip to NC for a conference and meeting up with Writer's Boot Camp friends, after getting a diagnosis of Celiac disease (gluten sensitivity) on Saturday. I'm better than I was, but not as good as I'm going to be. Thanks again for the reminder to not feel guilty when I can't do all I used to do.

  2. Wow, I hope you can enjoy your trip despite the sickness. I know traveling is super hard for trying to keep a gluten free diet. Dominoes pizza now has a gluten free crust, so at least there's one option!
    Enjoy your time with friends, but don't feel bad when you have to step back!!! I love what you said that you're better than you were, but not as good as you're going to be--what a great way to look toward the future!

  3. Kimberly,
    Your insightful, and sensitive, blog post is surely a redemptive gift borne of suffering. Thanks for posting. I have type 2 brittle asthma, and our city has been under poor air quality for weeks now because of the wildfires. You can imagine my chronic, severe limitations. For the second time, I have to leave town to find clear air and give my lungs a rest, but I really hate leaving. Hence, your post is timely for me.
    Oh, and I also adopted your tactic: I wear pj’s so comfortable and so lovely, they are my favorite clothes.
    Enjoy your rest!

  4. I'm so sorry you've had to leave town. I have asthma, not as bad as yours, and it can feel so confining at times--literally and figuratively. I don't like my body defining where I can and can't go, and I don't like limitations that can't be changed by my will. It's hard having to say that I just can't do something or I just have to go (I don't know about you, but I often have to move at church functions because of ladies perfume--I always feel silly about it but I'm learning that feeling silly is a lot better than not breathing!). Finding clear air is important, and perhaps God has other good things in the journey for you as well. I pray you will find a place to take deep breaths and to rest in every way. Thank you for your encouraging words. They meant a lot to me today.
    I'm sitting in my pjs right now smiling your way!


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