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Inspiring Chronic Illness Quotes for Anyone Living With Them

These chronic illness quotes prove that a diagnosis should never define you.

These incredible chronic illness quotes prove just how strong and courageous a person is who lives with this diagnosis.

When we hear the term “chronic illness”, many of us are not exactly sure what the term means. But most importantly, chronic illness should never be used to define a person and label them unfairly. 

Chronic illness is a daily reminder of your struggle, but it can be marked by the power within and positivity with chronic illness quotes like the ones we have here. Remember, your are not your illness, and use these quotes about chronic illness to inspire your warrior within!

As someone who lives with a rare disease, people often have a very different perception of how I think, feel, and live each day of my life. While I have an illness, I am NOT my illness. It is merely a part of me. An important part that has defined who I have chosen to be, the kind of life I have chosen to live, and the kind of mindset I choose to live by.

Inspiring chronic illness quotes for anyone living with them

While many people let their illness define them and drop anchor, I chose to redefine my life. I lived a life that gave me purpose and meaning.

I would not have accomplished 10 percent of the things I have done, had it not been for my diagnosis: had I not been forced to step away from a bustling Psychology practice and work from home; had I not had to ask myself what I wanted the rest of my life to look like.

The difference in life is how we let things define us – what we let control us, what we choose to control. We can have a life with purpose, strength, and great meaning. That is if we decide that is what we are going to do.

Don’t just take my word for it. Listen to these chronic illness quotes and more words of wisdom from those who have persevered.

And after reading the quotes below, be sure to also check out our other collection of cancer quotes.

Inspiring Quotes for People Living With a Chronic Illness

1. “If you stumble, make it part of the dance.” – Unknown

chronic illness quotes

2. “She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.” – Ariana Dancu

3. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

4. “I don’t want my pain and struggle to make me a victim. I want my battle to make me someone else’s hero.” – Unknown

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of hero quotes that inspire everyone to make a difference.

chronic illness quotes

5. “Resting is not laziness, it’s medicine!” – Glenn Schweitzer

6. “Never let the things you cannot do prevent you from doing the things you can.” – Coach John Wooden

7. “When the unthinkable happens, the lighthouse is hope. Once we choose hope, everything is possible.” – Christopher Reeve

8. “If opening your eyes, or getting out of bed, or holding a spoon, or combing your hair is the daunting Mount Everest you climb today, that is okay.” – Carmen Ambrosio

chronic illness quotes

9. “We are stronger in the places we have been broken.” – Ernest Hemingway

10. “You are strong when you know your weaknesses. You are beautiful when you appreciate your flaws. You are wise when you learn from your mistakes.” – Unknown

11. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

12. “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie

chronic illness quotes

13. “Sometimes you will be in control of your illness and other times you’ll sink into despair, and that’s OK! Freak out, forgive yourself, and try again tomorrow.” – Kelly Hemingway (I always say I can do this twice a year)

14. “I often say now I don’t have any choice whether I have Parkinson’s, but surrounding that non-choice is a million other choices that I can make.” – Michael J. Fox

You might also like these get well soon quotes that will help you know what to say when someone you love is feeling sick.

Chronic Illness Quotes That Will Help Comfort You

15. “You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.” – Josh Shipp

16. “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A. A. Milne

chronic illness quotes

17. “The reason why people give up so fast is because they tend to look at how far they still have to go, instead of how far they have gotten.” – Unknown

18. “You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” – Timber Hawkeye

19. “Those you love will go through hard times. Don’t give up on them. Patience + Caring + Empathy = Love.” – Unknown

chronic illness quotes

20. “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” – Stephen Chbosky

21. “You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before, and that, my love, is bravery.” – Unknown

22. “Do not believe the things you tell yourself when you’re sad and alone.” – Unknown

chronic illness quotes

23. “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work; you don’t give up.” – Anne Lamott

24. “Please be patient with me. Sometimes when I’m quiet, it’s because I need to figure myself out. It’s not because I don’t want to talk. Sometimes there are no words for my thoughts.” – Kamla Bolaños

25. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

chronic illness quotes

26. “Maybe it’s not always about trying to fix something that is broken. Maybe it’s about starting over and creating something better.” – Unknown

27. “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.” – Thomas Edison

28. “Maybe life isn’t about avoiding the bruises. Maybe it’s about collecting the scars to prove that we showed up for it.” – Hannah Brencher

Inspirational Chronic Illness Quotes for Those Suffering From Pain

29. “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” – Vince Lombardi

chronic illness quotes

30. “Nothing is more beautiful than a real smile that has struggled through tears.” – Unknown

31. “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” – Mary Anne Radmacher

32. “What would the hero of your life’s movie do right now? Do that!” – Joe Rogan

chronic illness quotes

33. “Normality is a paved road. It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

34. “The strongest people I’ve met have not been given an easier life. They’ve learned to create strength and happiness from dark places.” – Kristen Butler

35. “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

chronic illness quotes

36. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

37. “I fight for my health every day in ways that most people don’t understand. I’m not lazy. I’m a warrior!” – Unknown

38. “I can’t tell you when, but I can promise you it will get better, it will get easier, and it will all be worthwhile. Just promise me you won’t ever give up.” – Unknown

39. “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside of you that is greater than any obstacle.” – Christian D. Larson

chronic illness quotes

40. “Live to inspire, and one day people will say, because of you, I didn’t give up” – Unknown

41. “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take a step.” – Naeem Callaway

42. “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” – Iain S. Thomas

Chronic illness quotes to uplift you

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

44. “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” –
Viktor E. Frankl

45. “A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you.” – Joyce Meyer
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of positive energy quotes about the power of good vibes.

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

47. “What makes night within us may leave stars.” – Victor Hugo

48. “Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.” – Clive Barker

49. “Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.” – Jacques Prevert

50. “I’ve learned that everything happens for a reason, every event has a why and all adversity teaches us a lesson… Never regret your past. Accept it as the teacher that it is.” – Robin Sharma

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

52. “There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.” – John Green

53. “I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” – Og Mandino

54. “He knows not his own strength who hath not met adversity.” – William Samuel Johnson

55. “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.” – Robert Frost

56. “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” – Margaret Thatcher

57. “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” – Richard Bach

Chronic illness quotes to remind you of your strength

58. “I think that that’s the wisest thing – to prevent illness before we try to cure something.” – Maya Angelou

59. “The most important thing is to enjoy your life to be happy it’s all that matters.” – Audrey Hepburn

60. “That is what chronic illness is a disconnect between what our souls can do and what our bodies can do.” – Barbara Lieberman

61. “Chronic disease is a foodborne illness. We ate our way into this mess, and we must eat our way out.” – Mark Hyman, M.D.

62. “When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope.” – Pittacus Lore, I Am Number Four

63. “The vast knowledge we have to prevent cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses is staggering.” – Tom Rath

64. “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of Alchemist quotes that will inspire you to follow your destiny.

65. “At any given moment, you have the power to say this is not how my story is going to end.” – Unknown

66. “Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” – Tori Amos

67. “When you have an invisible disease, your sickness isn’t your biggest problem. What you end up battling more than anything else, every single day, is other people.” ― Heidi Cullinan, Carry the Ocean

Chronic illness quotes to lift you up

68. “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”—Carlos Castaneda

69. “Everything is going to be alright. Maybe not today, but eventually.”—Unknown

70. “It’s not the situation that’s causing your stress, it’s your thoughts, and you can change that right here and now. You can choose to be peaceful right here and now. Peace is a choice, and it has nothing to do with what other people do or think.”—Gerald G. Jampolsky, MD

71. “It is not an easy reality to face, but just as your chronic pain did not develop overnight, neither will the solution to finding relief develop in a day or two.”—Pain Recovery: How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain

72. “The less we move, the more pain we have when we do move, causing us to move less. It becomes a vicious and painful cycle. The only solution for this ‘un-movement syndrome’ is moving.”—Adapted from A Day Without Pain

73. “There is purpose in your season of waiting.” – Megan Smalley

74. “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”—Kahlil Gibran

75. “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” – Mexican proverb

76. “You just do it. You force yourself to get up. You force yourself to put one foot before the other and you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. Then you go about the business of living. That’s how I’ve done it. There’s no other way.”—Elizabeth Taylor

77. “Even if you shake, a step is still a step. Continue to be brave enough to walk your path.” – The Better Man Project

Chronic illness quotes to help you cope

78. “There’s something so vibrant and gutsy about courage; just do it.” –
Anna Roddick

79. “It is not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

80. “Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again.” – Alex Tan

81. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.” – Maya Angelou

82. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucious

83. “Do not spend your precious energy worrying about how others view your medical condition.” – Toni Bernhard

84. “Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realise the strength, move on.” – Henry Rollins

85. “Compassion for others tends to ease your own emotional pain because it takes you out of your self focused thinking.” – Unknown

86. “Some people say I have attitude – maybe I do. But I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there.” – Venus Williams

87. “Courage conquers all things: it even gives strength to the body.” – Ovid

Other chronic illness quotes and sayings

88. “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

89. “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” ― Maya Angelou

90. “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

91. “I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.” – George S. Patton

92. “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

93. “I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.” – Muhammad Ali

94. “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

95. “Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” – George Edward Woodberry

96. “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” ― Confucius

97. “You can’t expect to hit the jackpot if you don’t put a few nickels in the machine.” – Flip Wilson

You might also like these vaccine quotes celebrating the power of science and medicine.

98. “The question is not how to get cured, but how to live.” – Joseph Conrad

99. “Surrender is an incredibly difficult topic in light of chronic illness, because loss is often continued and sustained.” – Cindee Snider Re

More Chronic Illness Quotes

100. “This business of dying wasn’t as simple as surrender to the great light. It was real and dirty and untidy.” – Patti Callahan

101. “The biochemistry and needs of each patient is unique. Chronically ill patients require nutritional support for healing.” – Bruce M. Carruthers

102. “Somewhere inside that hurting body, there is something better, something stronger, something real.” – R. M. Drake

103. “Chronic illness is hard. Pain is hard. Isolation is hard. The financial cost is hard. Grieving is hard and necessary and sometimes takes far longer than we ever imagined.” – Cindee Snider Re

104. “Remember this: You are the expert of your body.” – Sarah Hackley

105. “By taking the time to focus on our mental and emotional well-being, we can minimize our triggers and reduce the likelihood of a recurrence.” – Sarah Hackley

106. “Self-stigma can be just a big a problem as the negative attitudes of others.” – Megan A. Arroll

107. “Self-care has become a new priority – the revelation that it’s perfectly permissible to listen to your body and do what it needs.” – Frances Ryan

What do you think about these chronic illness quotes?

So, be strong, warriors. You are stronger than you know. You’re braver than the bravest. Live a life of grace, beauty, and purpose. It is when we choose to take control, to continue to find meaning and drive that keeps us moving forward, that we are truly free.

Grant yourself this gift of freedom and meaning – and you will live a life even better than your wildest dreams.

Dr. Nikki Martinez, Lead Contributor
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  1. Laura

    October 25, 2019 at 9:44 PM

    Thank you. These words of positivity and kindness helped me lift a friend at the worst time and in a fight for her life. God bless.

  2. Anonymous

    February 4, 2019 at 11:14 AM

    I found your website at a time when I really needed it. You think everything’s fine–and it is, really–and then a reminder comes into your life of how you are perceived by others…a single word for a disorder that supposedly describes who you are. Thank you for these quotes that remind me that we all struggle, and we all succeed, in ways nobody else can truly understand.

    • Dr. Nikki Martinez

      February 4, 2019 at 3:25 PM

      It really touches me more than you know to hear that this was here, when you needed it, and that it resonated with you in a way that you needed at a particular moment. It also tells me that you are probably quite strong at “grounding yourself,” when you need to, perhaps because you had to learn to, but never underestimate the strength your own simple acts and choices show. Be well, and take good care of yourself. – Dr. Nikki Martinez

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