My most recent surgery confirmed a chronic illness that had secretly been haunting me all of my reproductive life–endometriosis.
The surgery itself put an end to this condition so I am thankful for that.
But the years of being in indescribable chronic pain every single month have really done a number on my self-esteem and self-worth.
I mean how many people do you know that miss school, work, or other obligations every single month? Many people throughout my life (like professors, employers, family, and friends) probably thought I was be overdramatic and faking my symptoms.
Now, at age 43, I feel vindicated while also realizing how strong I am to have dealt with this most of my life. This invisible illness is one I can scratch off my list of chronic conditions (something that is hardly ever possible.)
If you are in need of some encouragement and a reminder of your undeniable strength, I have compiled this list of chronic illness quotes for you.
Find the ones that really speak to you and write them down so you can read them often, especially when you feel your illness(es) causes you to doubt your strength and courage.
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Quotes About Illness and Strength
I know, you may be thinking that there is no way someone could be ill and show/have strength. We feel that the world and those around us believe that illness equals weakness.
That is a major misconception that we who live with chronic illnesses must overcome.
Think about it . . . could your neighbor, your relative, the volunteer of the year, or even your own doctor continue to keep up with what they do now if they became chronically ill?
Yet, if you really think about all that you ACTUALLY do and accomplish all the while dealing with the limitations of a chronic condition, that is proof of your strength.
And when you find yourself doubting your strength and courage as you face day after day of challenges that most people can’t imagine, then keep the following quotes nearby to be a positive reminder.
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” — Nido Qubein
“Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.” – Joubert Botha
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” — Albus Dumbledore
“But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr.
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford
“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” – Robert H. Schuller
“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine
“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.” – Dalai Lama
“Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.” – Jacques Prevert
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” – Og Mandino
“Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.” — Bob Riley
“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” ― Francis Bacon
Quotes About Chronic Pain
What it’s like to live with chronic pain is something only fellow chronic pain sufferers can understand. Even though you may have super compassionate family and friends surround you with their love, there will always be a disconnect.
This doesn’t have to be a negative thing because they simply haven’t “walked a mile in your shoes.”
There is something about living with constant pain that builds inside of you. Yes, it’s strength but it is also courage every time you choose to be an active participant in life.
Some days you will be overcome with feelings of wanting to give up. Give yourself grace on those days because you can’t be strong 100% of the time.
But remember to be proud of yourself by reading these quotes about living with constant pain.
“When things are bad, we take comfort in the thought that they could always get worse. And when they are, we find hope in the thought that things are so bad they have to get better.” – Malcolm S. Forbes
“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” – Kenji Miyazawa
“It is when I struggle that I strengthen. It is when challenged to my core that I learn the depth of who I am.”—Steve Maraboli
“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” — Barbara De Angelis
“There is no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bear witness that a man has the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.” –Viktor Frankl
“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts. – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”—Kahlil Gibran
“The strongest people I’ve met have not been given an easier life. They’ve learned to create strength and happiness from dark places.” – Kristen Butler
“I don’t want my pain and struggle to make me a victim. I want my battle to make me someone else’s hero.” – Unknown
“I’ve learned more from pain than I could’ve ever learned from pleasure.” — Unknown
Fibromyalgia is really just starting to be understood and even being seen as a legitimate condition.
I remember 20 years ago when a teacher friend of mine was experiencing the symptoms of fibromyalgia. She told me that she had read about it but her doctor kept telling her that it’s not a “real” diagnosis and the symptoms where all “in her head.”
I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are so debilitating and yet she had to push through to work as a single mother to put food on the table for her kids.
Fibromyalgia awareness still has far to go, but at least doctors are treating it as a chronic illness (as it should be.)
I chose the following quotes to encourage people who live with the unique challenges, constant pain, and struggles that fibromyalgia causes.
“I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.” – Tracee Ellis Ross
“The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.” – Marjorie Pay Hinckley
“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King
“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Wayne Dyer
“A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose – a cause to pursue, a person to love, a goal to achieve.” – John Maxwell
“It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop.” – Confucius
“A strong person is not the one who doesn’t cry. A strong person is one who is quiet and sheds tears for a moment, and then picks up her sword and fights again.” — Unknown
“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” — Theodore Roosevelt
“You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before, and that, my love, is bravery.” – Unknown
“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.” ― Leonardo da Vinci
Invisible Illness Quotes
When I first got my handicap parking tag, I asked the clerk how I could prove to people, especially law enforcement, that this parking tag was legit.
And when I first started using it, I was super nervous (like many others with invisible illnesses) that I would get nasty looks, questions, or comments.
I actually found myself purposely walking with more of a limp so that I could keep from being questioned.
Whatever limitations/struggles/pain your invisible chronic condition causes, the fact that people can’t see something like a rash, a broken bone, bruises, or swelling makes it hard for them to be compassionate.
That’s one of the reasons it is so important to raise awareness and to inform others how severe pain can be happening even when there is no outside “visible” evidence.
It can even make you doubt yourself at times. Use the following quotes to remind you that what you are experiencing is real and that you are actually super brave and courageous even if you don’t feel it.
“The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about.” —Unknown
“Don’t pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” – Bruce Lee
“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” –Arthur Golden
“In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice Johnson Reagon
“Choose rather to be strong of soul than strong of body.” — Pythagoras
“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” — Mary Tyler Moore
“Nothing is more beautiful than the smile that has struggled through the tears.” –Demi Lovato
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” — Mohandas Gandhi
“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.”—Michael J. Fox
“You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering.” — Earnest Hemingway“
“I may not have an umbrella to block the rain… but it doesn’t mean I’m not ready to weather the storm.” —Arminda Meer
Quotes About Healing
Although the very nature of a chronic illness often means there is no cure or complete healing, that is in a physical sense. Emotionally you can experience “healing” by accepting your condition yet still seeking a happy and fulfilled life.
True healing when you have a chronic illness allows you to have a peaceful state of mind where you accept the things you cannot change. And then work on the things you can change (like feelings of wanting to give up, worthlessness, and weakness) to build a life you love.
Keep this in the forefront of your mind in the greatest times when you feel defeated and doubtful about the value of life by reading and rereading these quotes about healing.
”Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.” – Rachel Naomi Remen
”To heal is to touch with love that which we previously touched with fear.” – Stephen Levine
He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. — Alexandre Dumas
”Healing is the application of love.” – Iyanla Vanzant
”Awareness is the first step in healing.” – Dean Ornish
“Ultimately, there can be no complete healing until we have restored our primal trust in life.” – Georg Feuerstein
“Healing requires from us to stop struggling, but to enjoy life more and endure it less.” – Darina Stoyanova
”It’s not all about healing yourself; it’s just as importantly about letting yourself heal.” – Terri Guillemets”
“We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present.” – Marianne Williamson
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ― Rumi
”Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls your life.” – Akshay Dubey
”It has been said that time heals all wounds. The truth is that time does not heal anything. It merely passes. It is what we do during the passing of time that helps or hinders the healing process.” – Jay Marshall
”Love is the most important healing power there is.” – Louise Hay
”By far the strongest poison to the human spirit is the inability to forgive oneself or another person. Forgiveness is no longer an option but a necessity for healing.” – Caroline Myss
”Self-forgiveness is essential to self-healing.” – Ruth Carter Stapleton
”Healing is an inside job.” – Dr. B.J. Palmer
Words of Encouragement for the Sick
Reading quotes are great to remind you of your strength and courage, especially during times that you feel the opposite of those things. And you can even meditate on them.
Another way to do this is by meditating on individual words. You could pick a “word for the day” and use it as a mental focus anytime negative thoughts come into your mind.
Or you can look over the following list of positive words and choose one that helps most with the particular feelings you are struggling with in that moment.
These are great coping strategies for combating negative self-talk. They can also help to halt the ruminating thoughts that focus only on the difficult aspects of your every day life living with a chronic condition.
- Carpe diem
Living with a chronic illness forces us to find ways to embrace our struggles and limitations while building a life that we love. We must find coping strategies (like reading positive quotes) to help us move past our self-doubt and realize the strength and courage that builds within ourselves.
Building awareness about what it’s like to live with invisible illnesses that cause symptoms like chronic pain and chronic fatigue is vitally important. We need our family, friends, and even complete strangers to learn compassion so they can provide support and love to help us create a happy life.
And another way to face our struggles in a positive way is to find others who have experiences like we do. Finding was to connect and be a part of communities of people who understand what it’s like to live our version of life can be really powerful.
Here is a great quote to remind us of this . . .
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
– C.S. Lewis
More Quotes to Strengthen Your Self-Worth . . .
- Self-Love Quotes that Prove You Are Enough
- Inspirational Quotes of Strength and Courage for Chronic Warriors