Sick of being sick is a vicious and toxic rut that a lot of people – with or without chronic illness – go through, yet do not talk about. It’s the elephant in the room; that thing that people expect to just go away and dismiss, hoping it was just a phase.
You can’t force that sick of being sick feeling to disappear by denying its existence. The best thing you can do is acknowledge it, and there are plenty of ways to express and/or understand our emotions. Here are five poems to help you stay strong when you’re sick of being sick.
To help you embrace every emotion – good or bad
Denial often only intensifies the feeling you are trying to deny. This poem by Jellaludin Rumi encourages you to welcome the joys and sorrows of being human. Be grateful, not only for your good days but also for the pain that comes after a treatment.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
Jellaludin Rumi , The Guesthouse
TO HELP YOU cultivate self-compassion and see yourself in a different light
Being sick may make you feel unattractive, ugly, unworthy. This poem by Nikita Gill harnesses the pain and turns it into something strong and beautiful. Remind yourself that you are beautiful now and always.
Before she became fire, she was water.
Quenching the thirst of every starving creature.
She gave and she gave
until she turned from sea to desert.
But instead of dying of the heat,
the sadness, the heartache,
she took all of her pain
and from her own ashes became fire.
Nikita Gill, From the Ashes She Became
TO HELP YOU ACCEPT THAT SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON
Sometimes, you fight that feeling of getting sick of being sick by pushing yourself. Rest is not a sin – do not punish yourself for needing a break. This poem by Derek Walcott is my all-time favorite self-love poem – it encompasses a lot of things we take for granted about our bodies.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger
who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Derek Walcott, Love After Love
TO HELP YOU APPRECIATE THAT FRIEND WHO LISTENS
You’ve gone through this many times. Truth be told, the last thing you need is someone giving you a pep talk. You know, all too well, the pain that you are going through and will go through again. Surround yourself with friends who listen, and appreciate them when they do.
Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
hear what I say with eyes open inward, asleep
with all five senses awake.
Octavio Paz, As One Listens to the Rain
TO HELP REMIND YOURSELF THAT IT’S JUST A DAY IN THE LIFE
Remind yourself that you are more than your illness. Despite all the pain, you still get up, you still face life, you still manage a way to make people happy.
Your unbiased whisper, “It will be alright,”
Relaxes the upheaval
In my wounded, wandering
Just a bit longer.
Let me soak,
Infusing my aching humanness
With your reason
Before I go.
Lisa A. Moore, Stillness, Stay
Is there a particular poem that you find inspiring when you’re in a challenging moment? Share it with our community on our Friends in the Fight group.