Why Anger is Okay for People with Chronic Illnesses

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Oftentimes, people who suffer from a chronic illness are encouraged to accept their limitations. They’re expected to lower their expectations for life, learn to juggle their new difficulties and live quietly with the fatigue and other symptoms that come along with it. Here’s the thing: it’s okay to be angry sometimes. People are allowed to feel emotions other than joy or Yoda-like calmness. While it can be unhealthy to stay in the same stage of non-acceptance, most people suffering from a long-term diagnosis flow through the steps of a healthy response. Anger doesn’t have to be looked at as something to avoid at all costs.

There Exist Healthy Outlets

There are plenty of healthy outlets for negative emotions that don’t impact those around you. Journaling is a great example of this. Putting your thoughts down on paper about your fibromyalgia diagnosis can help you work through the process of making small adjustments to your lifestyle. Wanting to be alone to think or simply feel what you need to feel isn’t terrible. As with most things in life, moderation is key. If you find yourself falling into a downward spiral, it’s important to reach out for help.

Honesty Is Key

It’s important to value honesty about your journey with a chronic illness, both with the people you love and with yourself. Hiding negative emotions like resentment, anger and sadness doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And bottling them all up is unlikely to be helpful in the long run. Your support system is there for a reason, so if you want to vent occasionally, don’t constantly hit the mental brakes. Plus, you might avoid a complete anxiety attack or additional health problems if you let it out once in a while.

Be Realistic

So much of our happiness as humans hangs on setting realistic expectations, and that includes areas of mental health. It’s highly unlikely that someone with a chronic health condition will only have rosy and happy days ahead. There will be frustrations when you can’t participate in all the activities you once did. Perhaps you go through a phase of constantly craving foods you can’t eat anymore. Life is ever-changing, as are our reactions to it.

Remember that life will have many phases, both good and bad. Shutting yourself off to entire categories of feelings is an unsustainable plan, and unhealthy to attempt. Be kind to yourself, even if that means letting yourself get downright mad.


Peer Health can connect you with a personalized peer community to share provider recommendations, treatment options, and define your best life. Sign up for our beta and newsletter today.

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