Today I’d like to take a moment out of my regularly scheduled blog postings to highlight a group of unsung superheroes. These people look like ordinary Clark Kents, so much so that most people wouldn’t know they were some of the strongest people we know. They are those who suffer from chronic pain/illness.

On the surface, these people are our friends, co-workers, or family members. They go through life looking very much like we do. And then the bad day(s) come. They try to fight through, but sometimes the pain or illness is too much and they disappear into their homes, onto sofas, or into dark rooms.

They may never really know when an episode will happen and thus it disrupts plans. Sometimes it’s a little thing, like the proverbial straw, that will flare their condition. They’ve been through treatments, tried just about every type of remedy. They would love to live without the day-to-day struggle, but that is not their lot at this time.

Even with this weight, they carry on. This is what makes them superheros. They care for those around them even when they themselves are tired. They can spot the pain in others eyes because they have felt it themselves. They stand up for each other and those around them. And, perhaps most of all, they are some of the most grateful people because they know what it is like to be helped.

If you have the privilege of knowing someone who lives with a chronic condition – like arthritis, chronic pain, depression, chronic fatigue, migraine, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and a host of other conditions – tell them how much they mean to you. They don’t need articles on how to overcome their disease, they’ve read it all; they don’t need to be reminded that they looked fine yesterday, how well they know the ups and downs; and they surely don’t need pity.

These heroes fight their various conditions each and every day whether we see the battle or not. They ride a roller-coaster of emotions, valiantly fighting one day and weighed down the next. So, take a moment to share a few kind words, telling them how they have encouraged you, how their life has had an impact, or how their courage keeps you going – that can mean the world to these superheroes.

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