Coping with the Emotions of Healing from Chronic Illness

A little over a year ago, I had high hopes for healing from chronic illness.

I started seeing big changes in my health.

Better days meant I could actually do things normal people do. I could go out to eat or take a walk. I could make plans to attend functions and actually show up.

It felt great!

Emotions of Healing from Chronic Illness

But it was another major life change. And if you’ve ever experienced extreme change, you may understand the potential difficulties.

After a year of doing the bare minimum in life (spending 90% of my time in bed), I felt like I could take on the world!

I was excited…oh so excited!

But then I began to face setbacks.

While my days were getting better, the occasional very bad day would feel that much worse. I’d grow scared I was backsliding and then question whether I was truly getting better.

While I would have liked to have been completely joyful during the initial season of healing, I can’t say I was. There was a constant flood of emotions that threatened to once again pull me into deep depression.

I wanted to get better but then ended up pushing myself too hard as a result. I’d over-exert myself for several days and then be forced to retreat to bed for the following week. While my health saw an upward progression, it was still a “two steps forward and one step back” kind of ride.

To be honest, I was a little naive. I thought once I started to heal from Lyme Disease and other chronic illnesses that I’d automatically be back to my “normal” self again. But healing can take time. And surprisingly to me, healing didn’t solve all my problems in the ways I (regretfully) thought it would.

Emotions of Healing from Lyme Disease and Chronic Illness

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As God began to heal me, He also began revealing more of the idols that had taken up residence in my heart.

The sickness I was experiencing wasn’t just a physical sickness. Spiritually, I was dry and needed His presence more than ever before.

While I was debilitatingly ill with Lyme Disease, I believed that God was good – that He had a plan and a purpose in everything I was experiencing (Romans 8:28, Psalm 84:11). While I still had crazy emotions galore, I knew that glorifying Him was the only thing that truly mattered (1 Corinthians 10:31).

But as I started healing, I noticed the idols of health and self taking deeper root.

I began to put too much pressure on myself to “get my health under control.”

Seeing health as the golden ticket to success, I dreamt about the experiences I wanted to have once I was healthy. They were all good things, but were they even what God was leading me to do?

While I was sick, I had a deep sense of peace about writing and ministering to women. I still believe that’s where God is directing me.

But as I got better, my mind started to wander and dream about the cool things I could experience…which ended up leading me into a deep, dark place of discontentment. I wanted more, even though I knew more would never truly satisfy.

Now, I continually renew my mind in truth and remember to press into the Lord for guidance about the ways I should go.

Healing from Chronic Illness

While I can’t say I did things right when I began healing from chronic illness, there are a few things I’d like to share with the weary girl who’s in the process of healing.

How to cope with emotions when healing from chronic illness:

1. Be in the Word

This cannot be emphasized enough! Emotions can destroy you if you don’t look to the Word of God for truth. Don’t know where to start or what to do? Read through the Psalms. I turn there when I’m struggling. Memorize verses that directly speak of God’s goodness and faithfulness. You’ll be able to go back to them when emotions hit the hardest.

I continually return to Psalm 13. The beginning of the chapter is filled with questioning and wondering when God’s going to show up for the psalmist. Then verses 5-6, read,

5ย But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6ย I will sing the Lordโ€™s praise,
for he has been good to me. (NIV)

Even though there are times when God may feel far away as we’re dealing with tough stuff, he hasn’t actually moved from us. He’s still good. He knows. And He loves.

This John Piper article talks about reading the Bible to your anxiety.

Reading None Like Him and Women of the Word also helped me a lot!

2. Pray

Have you ever talked so much about your problems to other people that you’ve completely forgotten to pray about them? This girl right here is totally guilty of that! I LOVE to talk and can find myself discussing and analyzing my situation with everyone except for God…and that is not a good way to handle emotions.

In fact, prayer is not just about asking God to fix things. When we go to God, He gives us His presence.

Paul writes to the Philippians,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

3. Speak truth to yourself over and over again

You are not your health. You are not your emotions. Feelings can sometimes inform but they do not equate to truth. Remember this! In order to handle the roller coaster of emotions that may come while healing from chronic illness, you’ve gotta speak truth. This post about the things I refuse to tell myself explains more.

4. Limit negative influences in your life

Face it: We’ve got messaging coming at us from all angles in today’s world full of technology. Be careful about what you read and watch.

I’ve had to take major steps back from social media because it contributed to growing discontentment that wasn’t healthy. Evaluate where you’re spending your time and think about how it’s affecting your emotional health.

5. Celebrate wins but don’t get too upset over the down days

Be happy about the days you feel better! Rejoice! Praise God! But please keep perspective when rougher days come. Remember that healing is not always an upward trend without bumps in the road. Be grateful for the healing and remain calm when it’s not going as quickly as you’d like.

6. Extend grace to yourself and others

This is so important! Give yourself grace. Give others grace. We all know there are things we can do to help our situations, but we can’t do everything. As you’re healing, do what you can do and then breathe. Let God work out the rest. Be kind to yourself and the others around you.

Suffering from and healing from chronic illness can bring on a whirlwind of emotions. My prayer is that this post will be a resource for your journey.

Lots of love,


Healing from Lyme Disease

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13 thoughts on “Coping with the Emotions of Healing from Chronic Illness

  1. Thank you for this post, Emily!๐Ÿ’• I truly needed to read this, especially today. My healing journey is quite bumpy at the present time, and my thoughts have been a bit wayward. Iโ€™m so grateful to you for sharing your gift with others. Blessings and continued healing to you.๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ๐ŸŒธ
    Terry Mayfield๐Ÿ’š

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Terry! I’m so glad you did… ๐Ÿ™‚ The healing journey can certainly be bumpy. Love that you share your heart and what you’re learning through the process as well!

  2. I was diagnosed a year and a half ago with Lyme disease after three months of flu-like symptoms and severe knee and foot pain. Finally, after several tests and an expensive MRI, I was diagnosed. I was put on doxycycline and had a severe reaction to that, so then they put me on a different medication. My pain still didnโ€™t go away for good. I still had bouts of pain and fatigue that last weeks. I was seeking something to help regain my life to be able to do things for myself. Through my primary physician i learnt about a Lyme disease herbal formula from NATURAL HERBAL GARDENS and their success rate with the treatment, i immediately started on the Lyme disease herbal protocol, I am glad to report the herbal formula worked effectively and there was no side effects, I had a total decline in symptoms, the pains, chronic fatigue and other symptoms stopped, my Lyme disease is totally REVERSED, Here is a link to the website we ordered from ww w.naturalherbalgardens.c om This Herbal Protocol is Incredible!!

  3. Dear Emily,
    I sensed your mood as you wrote this. I understand it well. It is so hard for us to keep trusting God when the pain returns, or the sudden abrupt fatigue ruins a wonderfully planned evening. I know. I understand. I returned to my Book Club after 14 months away due to Toxic Mold Poisoning and Lyme both. I was so excited to be back to doing normal things. So excited that I didn’t think about the possibility that my friend’s 110 year old Victorian could be harboring mold that could set me back to ground zero. I’m lying here writing you, on the seventh day back on oxygen, with severe gut pain, head pain, and inability to move from my chair without great effort. I still ponder what God has in mind when this is allowed to happen. How can I confess my love for and trust in him when my life is no longer anything near normal or healthy or happy? I continue, though, to call on the divine strength of the Holy Spirit within me, to bring me through this setback without allowing depression to set in. I may not understand or FEEL confident in God’s protection, but I know he is here with me and with you as we continue our journey as wounded but glorious women of God. Hugs.

    1. Thankful for you, dear friend! Yes – you’re so on target with your words about how you might not always feel confident in God’s protection, but you know he is there.:) Lots of gentle hugs! Praying for you right now.

  4. I really needed to read this today. I have an auto immune disease it’s been almost nine years. The doctors still haven’t pinpoint yet to which one it is. I do deal with extra symptoms of Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and heartburn plus I can’t sleep well. I’m married for 20 years plus we have three kids my oldest son is 19yrs old in Army bootcamp in Missouri, my youngest son is 15yrs old and my daughter is 12 yrs old. I’m trying to learn how to pace myself and do be patient. Plus I’m trying to keep in mind its in Gods time and not mine. Sometimes with all my pain I feel like I have to just keep pushing a long and have faith God is in control.

    1. Hey Kathy! I’m sorry you’re going through such a rough season right now. Gentle hugs. ๐Ÿ™‚ Learning to be patient and pace yourself can be very challenging but so refining. God uses it to grow us!

  5. It is so relieving to hear that other people are struggling with the healing journey! At first I thought something was wrong with me… I was finally getting what I wanted, why was I so afraid, so cautious? But healing can be just as hard as sickness in some ways. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing!

  6. Thank you. I am at the “90% of my time in bed phase.” I’m only about to hit the 3 month mark since I first began treatment for Lyme Disease. It has been so so hard. I know I’m preaching to the chior. Thank you for your blog posts. I am so grateful. It reminds me that I’m not alone in this struggle. I hope you all the best, Emily. God bless!

    1. Elizabeth, I’m sorry you’ve had such hard times with Lyme! I can relate for sure. Thanks for the encouragement!!

  7. Dear Emily,
    Your words so intricately describe the experience of Lyme disease. They are also inspiring to bring peace during the storm. I very much enjoy your writing!

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