7 Inspiring Reads about Living with Chronic Illness

  • By Katherine Rundell
  • 27 August 2020
  • 4 minute read
7 Inspiring Reads about Living with Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions

This article is written by Katherine Rundell. 

Being diagnosed with a chronic condition is a huge challenge, often in unpredictable ways. As your life changes, it can be hard to know how to respond, and your loved ones often struggle how to help as well.

These books offer a wide range of perspectives into living with chronic illness. So whether you’re dealing with chronic illness yourself or someone you love, get reading, get learning and get empowered.

If you feel inspired to buy any of the inspiring reads through the below, Better World Books donates a book to someone in need for every book you buy. All at no extra cost to you! Pretty cool, right? 

Toni Bernhard

How To Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers

A how-to manual for chronic illness. Toni Bernhard’s story starts with her experiences of falling sick – and then staying that way. She describes the journey she went on coming to terms with her illness as a permanent condition.

“This inspiring book is both memoir and philosophical reflection on how living with chronic illness is a challenge for one’s identity,” says Keith Hartness, writer at Paperfellows and Boomessays, “and how the daily challenging of renewing your relationship with your body can be surmounted. Bernhard’s Buddhist background provides a perfect prism for this study.”

John Green

A Fault in Our Stars 

Green’s movie-adapted A Fault In Our Stars is a touching, tragic and funny book following two teenagers dealing with cancer diagnoses.

Meeting at a cancer support group, Hazel and Augustus strike up a friendship which becomes the lens through which the reader understands how life changes for young people with chronic conditions. The humour with which Green approaches this subject is a refreshing change from the usual sombre tone, and will strike a chord with anyone suffering from a chronic condition.

7 Inspiring Reads about Living with Chronic Illness | The Health SessionsPeter A. Ubel

Critical Decisions 

As a behavioural scientist and doctor, Ubel brings his erudite experience to the difficult world of doctor-patient relationships in the world of chronic illness.

As a sufferer of chronic illness, making the right decisions about your health and treatment can be incredibly challenging, and often involves almost impossible trade-offs in quality of life. Critical Decisions approaches this relationship with the aim of empowering the patient so they can make the best decisions for themselves.

7 Inspiring Reads abut Living with Chronic Illness | The Health SessionsJohn Green 

Turtles All the Way Down

Green’s classic tearjerker A Fault In Our Stars tackled terminal cancer with humour and heart. His latest novel connects with another chronic condition with similar warmth and understanding.

In Turtles All the Way Down, Green explores anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Anyone who suffers from these illnesses will feel a strong sense of connection to this book.

Santiago Horton, book blogger at Australiahelp and Stateofwriting says “Green’s ability to articulate how living with these conditions feels is also valuable for anyone who knows someone experiencing it, and will expand tolerance and compassion.”

7 Inspiring Reads about Living with Chronic Illness | The Health SessionsElizabeth M. Christy 

Why Does Mommy Hurt? 

This beautiful and challenging book tackles a painful subject that is often suffered in silence by people with a chronic illness.

How children respond to adults, especially parents and guardians, with chronic illness can be an additional tragedy to sufferers. Christy’s book takes on this subject with wisdom and compassion.

As a book aimed for kids and adults that will help children understand what their parents are dealing with in an appropriate way, it is incredibly valuable for opening those conversations.

7 Inspiring Reads about Living with Chronic Illness | The Health SessionsTalia Hibbert

Get A Life, Chloe Brown 

Get A Life explores how chronically ill main character Chloe Brown gets sick of being boring.

As she goes on a journey of empowerment covering sex, alcohol and camping, Chloe becomes empowered to live life by her own rules, despite her illness.

It’s a hilarious and intelligent take on how illness can impact your life and what you can do about it, featuring some steamy sex scenes as an added bonus!

Kate Bowler 

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved

Bowler’s memoir about living with end-stage colon cancer explores the cliches and truisms about chronic illness with humour and great insight.

Incredibly relatable to those suffering from chronic illness, Bowler finds meaning in the madness of illness and traces a path towards understanding and acceptance. This is a great read for anyone living with, or around, chronic illness.

Working your way through this reading list you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn. Life with chronic illness can be hard but confronting its challenges in your own way can also be incredibly empowering. Don’t let anyone tell you how to live your life, but these books can offer direction and wisdom in challenging circumstances.

Katherine Rundell is a writer at Essay Services and Academized services. She loves books and reads voraciously, usually under her favourite oak tree at the bottom of her garden with Sammy the cat curled up on her lap. Also, she is a tutor is EssayRoo writing service.

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