Hi everyone! How are you holding up with all the coronavirus craziness?
Probably like many of you, I’ve been extra cautious and only leave the house for grocery shopping, infusions, and to pick up meds. And when I go, I have my Vogmask, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizer!
I’m getting real tired of this pandemic, but I have to say, there was a definite perk throughout all this chaos.
One Highlight of My Quarantine
One of the perks of my time in quarantine has been the opportunity to read the brand-new book The Things We Don’t Say: An Anthology of Chronic Illness Truths, edited by Julie Morgenlender.
This anthology contains short stories written by forty-two people from around the world living with chronic illness.
These writers share their stories with chronic conditions including IBD, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis, endometriosis, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and more.
This collection of stories was divided into seven sections:
- Relationships: Family, Friends, Dating, & Sex
- Experiencing the Emotions
- The Medical Side: Diagnosis, Treatment, Doctors, & Hospitals
- Acceptance: For Better or Worse
- Things We Wish We’d Known
- What We Wish Folks Knew
- Others’ Perceptions
Before I dive into the book review, I’d like to outline three things I believe this book has provided:
One. This book has given a platform to these people with chronic illnesses to not only share their story but to process their thoughts and feelings in a safe space.
Two. This book has reassured and comforted me (and, no doubt, many others with chronic illness) by reminding us that we really aren’t alone.
Three. This book has made public some of the darker aspects of chronic illness. By revealing hidden feelings and fears and throwing them into the light, it removes some of their power. By making these things known, it educates people without chronic diseases and increases understanding and empathy of those with and without chronic illness.
My Book Review
This collection of stories highlights the many emotions that flare in the lives of people with chronic illness, including grief, acceptance, loneliness, hope, and everything in between.
As someone who lives with three chronic illnesses, I felt like a handful of these authors were pulling bits of my chronic illness journey from my own journal! It was incredibly affirming and validating that I related to some of these stories so intimately.
But the stories in this anthology aren’t always feel-good. (They, then, wouldn’t be truths, after all). The stories in this anthology are compelling. They’re raw. The writers dive into the nitty-gritty, the hard stuff; they let loose the unfiltered, unbridled truth of living with chronic illness.
This book is a reminder that speaking aloud these darker things will throw them into the light.
These stories remind us that the expression of grief, loneliness, guilt, and fear can be an empowering act of self-love, acceptance, forgiveness, or self-reclamation.
I definitely recommend reading The Things We Don’t Say: An Anthology of Chronic Illness Truths if you need a healthy cry, a reminder that you’re not alone, or stories that encourage and embolden.
I admire the tremendous strength it took these writers to share the things they don’t normally say. Publishing these chronic illness truths is both an act of courage and self-expression.
To anyone struggling with your chronic illness, I’m a huge believer in journaling about it. Expressive writing has helped me accept my chronic illness journey and process things I didn’t know needed processing. If you’re interested in writing your own story—even if for no one but yourself—this anthology offers great ideas, inspiration, and encouragement.