So, Your Friend Has a Chronic Illness?

Hey there,

I’m really glad you’re reading this. Thank you for taking an interest in your friend and being willing to learn more about the crippling effects of chronic illness on their life.

There’s so much your friend wants you to know but probably won’t tell you. It could be because it’s awkward. How do you tell someone that you experience extreme pain every day, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional, and not seem like you’re just complaining or wanting attention.

So, Your Friend Has a Chronic Illness?

Being chronically ill, I have experienced many years of being unable to explain myself. For most of that time, I had no idea what was going on. And, honestly, the pre-diagnosis years of suffering were full of unexplainable highs and lows that left me blaming myself. I thought that I must have been doing something wrong to feel the way I did.

Once my condition became bad enough that I realized a better sleep schedule, some exercise, and a healthy diet wouldn’t fix it, I had to start digging to get to the bottom of what had been causing such grief. Finding out I had chronic Lyme Disease and co-infections was actually a blessing because then I could begin a treatment regimen. It also gave me an explanation to share with others, because previously I had just thought I was crazy.

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Emily Lofgren’s heart beats for authenticity. She craves true connection where we can be real about our struggles and find hope together. Emily became a Christian in college and since then has had a passion for writing in a way that helps others encounter life. Grab your free copy of her eBook Finding Hope Through the Fog.

Held in the Fire

Today, I’m excited to share with you an article by one of my favorite writers, Glenna Marshall! Glenna has become a friend of mine through the Hope*Writers community and it has been a joy to get know her. Something we have in common is our experience with chronic pain. While enduring chronic illness can often leave one feeling hurt and discouraged, Glenna’s perspective and trust in Christ has been encouraging to me as I’ve walked in faith during this rough season. Let’s welcome Glenna! 


Pain is white and blue, the hottest center of a flame.

Not a gently flickering candle, but an explosion of blistering heat, a fire that blazes without burning out. It starts at the base of my spine and reaches out to my hips, radiating down my right leg with fiery tentacles that entangle themselves around my bones, wrapping tightly around nerve endings and tendons. My ribcage aches while pain slices back and forth across my spine until I’m certain my body will snap in two.

It might feel better if it did.

Held in the Fire

I have an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. There’s a long, scientific explanation of how my body attacks itself, but the primary result is an inflammatory arthritis that feels much, much worse than it sounds. I lived with AS for five years of bent-over, crushing pain that wrenched me out of sleep every night and pressed me with fear every morning as I sluggishly worked to stand up straight. I didn’t look sick, but dawn always found me uncomfortably dozing while sitting up, surrounded by ice and heat packs and pain medication. The continual, abrasive nature of my pain sanded down any hope that I would ever feel normal again. Like most autoimmune diseases, mine didn’t come alone. It brought a host of other chronic diseases and disorders, ranging from annoying to excruciating, depending on what day it is.

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