What is one silver lining that has come from living with a chronic illness

In honor of Arthritis Awareness Month, we asked members of the CreakyJoints and the Global Healthy Living Foundation (GHLF) patient community to share their silver linings amidst the challenges of living with chronic illness.

While some find solace in support, self-advocacy, and a slower pace of life, others candidly share their belief that no silver linings exist or question the notion altogether. By asking this question and sharing the responses, we hope not to promote toxic positivity or downplay the struggles of living with arthritis, but to highlighting the power of connection, empathy, and hope through the words of those who understand this journey firsthand.

Patients Reflect on the Silver Linings

Patients reflect on the unexpected silver linings of living with chronic disease.

  • “A slower pace of life.” — @Osteoarthritis_diaries
  • “Living in the moment. Planning doesn’t work anymore. I live in the moment and the world is amazing.” — @Bookhimdanno
  • “The friendships in our community.” — @Shelleynorheum4pain
  • “Being supportive and aware of the many, many disabilities out there. I would never have thought about the inaccessibility of the world if I wasn’t disabled myself.” —@Colour_me_jen
  • “Empathy. Compassion. Understanding.” — @Starweaver
  • “The amazing online community. I’ve met some great people who I wouldn’t have crossed paths with if it wasn’t for my RA diagnosis.” — @Ar_versus_ra
  • “Learning the importance of rest, boundaries, and a mindfulness and gratitude practice.” — @Migrainetalk
  • “The awesome friends I’ve made who are going through the same thing.” — @Tstallone
  • “I’m more communicative about my needs and I’m learning to ask for and accept help. Lastly, finding love and support in communities like this, where we understand each other and hold each other up.” — @Mortimunchkin
  • “I’ve learned to take care of myself physically and mentally. I’ve been able to grow, connect. and find others like me.” — @Hjb2102
  • “Patience. Compassion. Boundaries.” — @Natmazhin
  • “I’ve learned how to advocate for myself, and by doing so, I have taught my daughters. I appreciate time. I don’t feel as if I need to be busy or to keep up with what everyone else is doing. Quarantine was not a hardship; I’d been doing it for years.” — @Lauramcgaffick
  • “I forced myself/was forced to leave a toxic field of work, and I like my new career more and I’m happier and less stressed.” — @Jenzelnick
  • “I have so much more empathy for people, and a better understanding of those who struggle with their health.” — @Themessyampersand
  • “I finally learned how to slow down and to listen to my body and to work with it instead of against it. This is a lesson I probably would not have learned otherwise.” — @Lisae223
  • “I learned to prioritize myself. I’d never done that before. After years of suffering, I started putting my health and healing first. As for pain-free days…those are non-existent for me. I’ve learned to breathe through it all and take it moment by moment, using distraction where possible: a good podcast, a short walk, a short yoga session, a hot shower — whatever I have energy for.” —@_kristina.ht_
  • “Spending more time with my kitties.” — @Asra_of_night
  • “I got curly hair from methotrexate.” — @Mmprewit
  • “Learning what it looks like to prioritize my health and listen to my body.” — @Torr__torr
  • “Learning to let you of what I can’t control and appreciate what I have.” — @Konlandewithak
  • “It has pushed me to accomplish so many goals. I do not expect to live very long, so I have packed many things into my life so far.” — @Alisha.in.wonderland
  • “Learning to slow down and enjoy the moment.” — @Beverlybutterflyxx
  • “Forced to stop saving the world and write a screenplay.” — @Shionaliddle5
  • “Learning the importance of self-care.” — @Tam_sav23
  • “Getting lab work and seeing a doc or physician assistant several times a year means we catch other health problems before they become critical.” — @Mswriteok
  • “Slowing down in recovery has helped me start journaling and reading more, which helps bring me peace of mind and clarity when healing is hard.” — @Stephenmerally
  • “All of the isolation and social distancing protocols brought on by the pandemic were already part of my life. Just added a mask.” — @Sfccreativewords
  • “Learning that I’m not broken or defined by my illnesses. I am in the driver seat of my life and I am living my best days after I learned to accept it and become aware of what triggers my symptom. Also, to allow my body to rest without guilt.” — @123momsquad
  • “I have learned so much about how things work (or don’t work right) in the human body. I have also learned to be a lot more compassionate towards other people.” — @Focodogmom
  • “Compassion and empathy for sure. Not sweating the small stuff and gratitude.” — @Czmuroff
  • “You find out about people in your life.” — @Dw64
  • “I am more in tune to what my body needs. I have also become healthier in regard to my diet.” — @Voight_tx
  • “I have learnt just how strong my body can be and what it is capable of.” — @Tanz.79
  • “To advocate for myself and to teach my children to do the same so they get good medical help. It has been hard but I’m learning to live in spite of it.” — @Hippiemamaofthree
  • “Appreciating the small things with more gratitude.” — Angela D.
  • “Confirming just how wonderful my husband and daughter are.” — Susan C.

Be a More Proactive Patient with ArthritisPower

Join CreakyJoints’ patient-centered research registry to track your symptoms, disease activity, and medications — and share with your doctor. Sign up.

  • Was This Helpful?