15 Quotes to Inspire People with Chronic Illness


8652634_origBeing sick is no fun. We all know that. But being chronically ill while maintaining a pleasant disposition is a daunting task even for the Greek gods. Every biological response in your body wants to lean into the creeping despair you feel. But by doing that with regularity, soon you will find as though you’ve given up entirely on life. You no know longer have the strength try to tease apart threads of joy from the suffocating blanket of pain that covers you.

Quotes are one of the ways I try to regain perspective in my persistent fight against the spirit of defeat that wants takes over when my resolve is down. Whenever I come across an inspiring quote, I write it down, so that when I have an afternoon where I can’t write or do anything productive—maybe just cry and feel sorry for myself–I can revisit my collection.

Here are some of my favorites that nudge me to choose health in the face of chronic illness.

One cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be of little importance in the evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie. –Carl Jung

The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle–the roar of the crowd on one side and the voice of your conscience on the other. –Douglas MacArthur

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before. –Jacob A. Riis

How surely gravity’s law, strong as an ocean current, takes hold of even the smallest thing and pulls it toward the heart of the world. …This is what the things can teach us: to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness. –Rainer Maria Rilke

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s impossible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. –Francis of Assisi

Thank you, dear God, for this good life, and forgive us if we do not love it enough. –Garrison Keillor

There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors. –Adrienne Rich

I long to accomplish a noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. –Helen Keller

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. –Oscar Romero

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. –Marianne Williamson

Nothing is more destined to create deep-seated anxieties in people than the false assumption that life should be free of anxieties. –Fulton Sheen.

The truth that many people never understand is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. –Thomas Merton

Consider the redwood tree. When only a stump remains, the tree can nevertheless regenerate. Little sprouts shoot up from the buds of ancient, invisible roots and actually form a circle surrounding the old stump. This is a “cathedral circle,” and the survival of some of the buds guarantees that the redwoods do not die. –Anthony Gittins

Hope doesn’t require a massive chain where heavy links of logic hold it together. A thin wire will do…just strong enough to get us through the night until the winds die down.

― Charles R. Swindoll

The world is more magical, less predictable, more autonomous, less controllable, more varied, less simple, more infinite, less knowable, more wonderfully troubling than we could have imagined being able to tolerate when we were young. –James Hollis

Photo credit: DME Photography

Join “Living With Chronic Illness” on ProjectBeyondBlue.com, the new depression community.

Published originally on Sanity Break.



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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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3 Responses
  1. Sheri Chandler

    Thank you for your article and these inspirational quotes. I do the same and probably couldn’t survive if I didn’t. Most of mine come from Holy Scripture and I keep a little binder of 4×6 index cards made with a cute cover that is fully customizable w/ laminated tabs to divide the sections in the way I choose. For example, I have sections labeled GOD’s PROMISES, GOD’S WORD TO ME, PRAYERS, AND INSPIRATION. I carry it with me in my purse everywhere I go and it has been such a comfort. (See http://www.etsy.com/shop/inawecards)

    Again, thank you for what you do and the hope you inspire in others.


  2. Miriam

    Hey there – I just came across these and they gave me a much needed boost this evening. Thanks. I’ll definitely keep these handy. Much appreciate your special and much needed presence on the Internet.

    Kind Regards,