There’s not getting away from the fact that living with chronic illnesses, such as Fibromyalgia, is tough. However, I personally find chronic illness humour to be a great coping mechanism.

If you don’t laugh, you’ll only cry (imma right!?).

When I went through the worst Fibromyalgia flare of my life, I started to think about all of the things I was struggling with. And, I decided to put a humorous spin on things and share them in this post.

Because who doesn’t love a good GIF?

Personally, I can sometimes find chronic illness memes to be a bit sad. But, these GIFs had me chuckling to myself as soon as I found them.

I hope you find my alternative take to the traditional chronic illness meme relatable and that they also makeΒ you smile or maybe even laugh.

Here are 10 struggles people with chronic illness will understand:

1. Waking up and still feeling tired (that’s if you managed to sleep in the first place)


2. Deciding whether or not you can go another day without washing your hair…


3. … Or questioning whether you have the energy to to make it to the bathroom at all


4. Struggling to get dressed and needing help


5. How you feel when you struggle to bend over to tie your own shoelaces

(Or struggle to do anything for that matter.)

6. Having legs that weigh a tonne each


7. Feeling well enough to do stuff one day…


8. … Only to feel like you’ve been hit by a truck the next (what the hell is pacing anyway!?)


9. People asking how you are and replying that they feel tired too


10. Everyone you know suddenly becoming more knowledgeable than your doctor


What would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.

And, if you enjoyed this post, why not share it with your friends and family to help them understand what it is like to live with a chronic illness.

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10 struggles people with chronic illness will understand. A humorous look at the problem I have faced living with Fibromyalgia and CFS.


Hello, I'm Donna. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2013 and started this blog shortly after. After my health declined significantly the following year, I decided to become my own advocate and searched for answers. It took two years but, in 2016, I finally discovered I had Lyme Disease. On February Stars, I share my personal journey back to better health; discussing what has helped me and the mistakes I've made along the way. I also cover topics on self-improvement, managing symptoms and living life to the fullest with chronic illness.


  1. Thank you so much for helping me laugh at myself today. It gets so hard to do when you have ankylosing spondylitis on top of the fibromyalgia, like today when I have run out of my pain pills due to the doctor not printing out my script yesterday.

    • Sorry to hear about your health conditions Karen. Fibro is bad enough, never mind having A.S on top. I’m glad I managed to make you laugh. I hope you get your pain ends soon as it can’t be good for you suddenly running out. Take care

    • I know exactly where you are coming from. The problem is the Dr gets so little time in clinic to do everything something that is at the forefront of our minds is sadly just another job for the Dr to carry out.
      As our pain is not that well understood by many people they just take it as oh never mind. To us the pain is real it is felt in multiple parts of our bodies,even parts we never knew we had,my condition makes me so frustrated and then it turns to anger then before I know it I am tears again!

      • I really feel doctors have an almost impossible job. Here they have 10 minutes to discuss problems with patients and come up with a plan of what to do next. There is no way that is enough to cover all the symptoms of issues such as fibromyalgia. I am sorry you are feeling frustrated at your condition but please know you are not alone in how you feel.

    • It’s helpful to read that others struggle every day though it’s sad to know how many of us there are.
      Sometimes, I feel undeserving to be a part of these conversations because I’m not “sick enough” to compare with others’ struggles, but the pain is real. The suffering is real.

      • Please don’t minimise your own suffering. We are all individual in what we experience but are very much in this together. Pain is pain. Sending gentle hugs.

  2. You pretty much described my life in 10 points! The hardest part is that I look completely healthy and people don’t understand how much pain I am in constantly. I just wish that I could have my healthy body back and live a normal pain free life.

    • It is really hard to have an invisible illness as a lot of people don’t get it. I hope you are surrounded by a loving family and friends who help you to get through it. If you take a read back through my blog, you will see the ways I have significantly improved my symptoms through using diet changes and herbal therapies. I have been following the protocol set out in the book Suffered Long Enough by Dr William Rawls, which I would recommend anyone to invest in. Take care

      • I am not surrounded by a loving or caring family and I am on the edge of being homeless. I’m praying that I “WIN” my social security disability case. I also suffer from degenerative disc disease and have already had one major neck surgery and now I have 3 more bone on bone joints that will require more surgery along with at least 3 pinched nerves and carpal tunnel in both hand. All of this has caused me to have anxiety and depression and I am pretty much just tired of fighting this never ending battle. Thanks for letting me vent and I’m sorry if I brought anybody down.

        • Oh Caroline I really feel for you. I am sure you will win, think positively. Everything will work out for you in the end and you will come out the other side incredibly strong

        • please hold on, I am sorry for all your problems, I to suffer from, anxiety and depression, there has to be people who read what you have written, and care about you, so please hold on, and you will see time will bring about help to you, and most of this will just be a memory I am saying a prayer foryou now as I write,take care, I will be hoping to know when things turn out for your best wishes.

    • Hi Caroline, I know what you mean about having your healthy body back. I was always very outdoorsy, riding my horse, long dog walks, cycling etc now I struggle to do even a short dog walk. Oh for a pain free day !

  3. Emily Spivey Reply

    I have FMS, RA Lupus and Sjogrens. I’d like to add “wishing your disease was visible for one day so people could see how you feel”.

    • That would be a scary sight! But yes, I totally get what you mean Emily. I think when we always look well it’s hard for people to really get their heads around how we a truly feeling

  4. So very descriptive enjoyed the reading. I have fibromyalgia, sarcoidosis, spinal stenosis, blockages in carotid arteries, IBS, and multiple surgeries recently diagnosed with hypoparathyroid and then 3 days later diagnosed with lupus. Everyday is such a challenge. I have an awesome fiancee were getting married in april and i feel like he’s getting a broken down woman. He reassures me EVERYDAY its for better or worse sicker or poor. I cherish each day that is good. These readings r AWESOME and help me to see others understand this way of life & its struggles. My PRAYERS for all that r in this boat and the hope & PRAYERS will find cures or better treatments so that our lives can be & have more good days as we struggle to be productive & live life to its fullest as the good days come. GOD BLESS ALL

    • Sorry to hear about all your diagnoses. It is such a challenge and please don’t put yourself down. You are not a broken woman. You are an incredibly tough and resilient woman to be able to live with these illnesses. Your fiancΓ© sounds awesome and definitely a keeper! Have a wonderful wedding day when it comes πŸ™‚

  5. Linda hull Reply

    I also have Fibro and feel hopeless can u tell me about some health remedies you can send me private message , Linda hull

  6. You pretty much described my life in 10 points! The hardest part is that I look completely healthy and people don’t understand how much pain I am in constantly. I just wish that I could have my healthy body back and live a normal pain free life.

  7. Hit the nail on the head. This is me! I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia (among other ailments) a couple of years ago but it took around 15 years to get here. I am very frustrated with my doctors and feeling hopeless. If there is anything that you can think of you can private message me.

  8. Love this, it’s so relatable, and the pictures were hilarious! I’m so glad I found your blog! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Jenny, I had a right giggle to myself when I wrote the post. I wrote down the 10 struggles then was in stitches finding the Gifs to go with them πŸ™‚

  9. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry but it is my life exactly and no one understands or even try’s to!!
    Thank you for acknowledging it!!!

    • It’s funny because it’s relatable but when you truly think about it, what I’ve said is 100% true and that obviously sucks!! I think we need to make light of it and laugh because otherwise we would cry, like you say. Keli, you are definitely not alone in how you feel and I hope knowing that we are going through it together (along with too many others) brings you some peace.

      • Donna i am so glad i come across your blog. Knowing that theres someone out there that understands every thing iam going though, ive given it to my husband to read just so he can understand what it like to have fibro. It has really helped. I would be greatfull if you could give me some dietery advice and a bit more insight in to the herbs that could help. X

        • Thank you Michelle, I am so glad you have been finding my blog helpful and I hope you husband learns from it too. I am following the Vital Plan Restore Program. The program is designed to help those with fibromyalgia, lyme and chronic fatigue. It’s a really popular program that actually has a waiting list to join at the moment. As part of it, you take herbal supplements, follow a clean eating diet guide and get tips and advice through email as well as telephone support. It has helped me so much! If you are interested in this (and even if you are not), I would highly recommend purchasing the book ‘Suffered Long Enough‘. The Restore Program follows the protocol outlined in the book and the book is very helpful to anyone with fibro. I appreciate that not everyone will be able to buy the restore program and the book explains what all the herbs are and allows you to perhaps buy a few yourself. It also talks about diet and lifestyle changes too.

          You can find all my posts relating to all of this here. If you have any more questions then please drop me an email πŸ™‚

  10. it is a horrible disease I also have fibromyalgia and osteoarthuritus which doesn’t help I am in constant pain day and night I am at my wits end

    • Hugs Tina. It’s a horrible condition and I can’t imagine how painful it must be to have osteoarthritis too

  11. Laugh or cry Donna I personally like the laugh option best. The most resonating comment is people not seeing us as in pain but only seeing a “normal” person. I had an employment tribunal and one of my manager’s respond regarding my disabilities was “well she doesn’t look disabled”. Sums up the majority of public opinion. Xx

    • Yes it is hard for people to understand and get to grips with it when we look okay. I also think that there is a massive difference between being tired and being fatigued. That’s terrible you had to deal with that. I would counter it with “okay, so how should I look?” You will probably find they don’t have a clue and it makes people think about their words.

  12. Debbie Mohling Reply

    I loved this ! ALL very true and sad parts of fibro……but so cute that it made me smile in spite of it all…….thank you for putting this together, i’m sharing so a lot more can see this….. <3

    • Glad you love the post Debbie and I am happy to make you smile. I really appreciate you sharing this, thanks so much πŸ™‚

  13. I really adore when others with chronic illnesses express humor in life. Our community needs more of that, and definitely less ableism and competition (“yeah, well I have __ and I still manage to __ every day, what’s your excuse?” or “you wanna talk about pain? I have __ and it’s a more legitimate struggle than what you have”). We all struggle in a world that is not designed to help us succeed and the more humor, kindness, and patience we have with one another, the better we will all be. Thanks for the laugh!

    • Absolutely Alyssa, I agree with you 100%. I feel comparisons are so unfair and unjust. Everyone’s struggle is legitimate, no matter what the extent of their symptoms are. I am glad this post made you laugh and I hope it helped to brighten your day πŸ™‚

    • Sorry to hear you are having a tough time of it, glad this post has helped you to smile. Take care

  14. Thanks for making me laugh! I have been awake for two days with only a couple of hours sleep and a bad case of IBS. Of course, this is Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and while I am not cooking I am sure I will hear the usual ‘Oh don’t you look well!’ from my relatives. As usual I will feel like a fraud, but reading this blog and the comments have cheered me up. Thanks and hang in everybody it’s good to know that we are not alone.

    • I’m sorry you are having a tough time. Not sleeping is the worst! I wish people realised how isolating comments like that can be– I’m sure it mostly comes from a good place but it makes us feel like they don’t get it, doesn’t it? I hope you manage to enjoy your weekend and I’m glad this post helped to cheer you up a little and make you laugh. You certainly aren’t alone in how you feel πŸ™‚

  15. oh thank you so much for your post. a great one and really relatable. sometimes i hate it when i say i am not feeling well and feel all sorts of pain then your friend would tell you the same, it’s like ugh!!!!

    • Hi Nona, I am glad you enjoyed the post. It’s really tough when that happens. Please know you are definitely not alone in how you feel. Take care.

    • Hey! Thanks for your positive comments on my post and for sharing your take on this idea

  16. I have fibro and osteoarthritis. Your post of the cartoon of Sponge Bob made me laugh and go YEAH!!!I have a Christian blog where I write inspirational poetry . I have only written two posts on fibro. I’d love for you to visit sometime This ne is an inspirational poem.. God bless you as you write to try help others understand what it is like to have chronic invisible illness and have your life forever changed.Blessings, Debbie

    • Hi Deborah, thanks for reading my blog. Haha, the SpongeBob cartoon made me laugh so much when I first saw it. I’ll check out your poems, thanks for sharing.

  17. Laura Smith Reply

    I know I’m a little late to the party but this list just showed up on my page, so I have to add:
    Number 11- Never being able to find the right words or finish a sentence.

    • That’s so true! And brain fog and being unable to talk properly can leave me feeling frustrated sometimes.

  18. zac the packman Reply

    for me its people wondering why your not better yet u should be better by week 2 like a cold, allso ppl tolerating my grumpyness becuse i cant tolorate mutch due to my pain. id allso add pople not undersanding why one day i can walk nomaly and the next i can barly make it to my front door.

    • Yes, so many people have unrealistic expectations about these illnesses, which I fail to understand. I agree that the variability of it is also hard for people to comprehend. Thanks for sharing!

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