Why People With Chronic Illness Can’t Simply ‘Push Through’

It never ceases to frustrate me to realize how pervasive the “Just Do It” culture is. Whenever I discuss my physical limitations with others, I’m often met with the suggestion that I simply need to “push through.” Which leaves me wondering, what does this phrase really mean to a healthy person?

As someone with multiple chronic illnesses, I realize that I can sometimes stretch my limitations for a day or two. I might need to push myself a little extra for a special occasion, or to get a necessary task completed. But that extra effort usually leads to a “crash.”

There is no “pushing through” once I hit the metaphorical brick wall. When I’ve hit my normal limit, I might be able to keep pushing myself for an extra day, or even a few weeks. But regardless, I will eventually hit my ultimate limit: the “brick wall” and I will crash. If I get to this point, there is literally nothing more I can do.

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