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Guilty for being sick

Started getting sick around 11 years old. The way I grew up was you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and do not complain. As a result I did not voice how badly I felt physically.Has taken years just to be a little okay with it. Guilt is there, but working on it thanks to all of you. Has anyone ever felt that way? I am getting to the point of just not caring, whether people judge me or not. My social life is limited anyway. I mostly only see my kids.

12 Replies

Hello nanno,

I was told the exact thing, I thought I was a hypochondriac for years until I was diagnosed! I do have to admit though I miss socialising like I used to, although breakdancing is now out of the question! Luckily though I have a good set of friends who still ring when they are going out even though they probably know the same answer as usual, but it is nice to be asked and besides I can always stay in and be on this forum with all these unique warriors who are battling every day. Who needs box sets of DVD’s when you have all the best fighters, action and unbelievable storylines you could ever get!

I have now had SLE and Fibromyalgia for 20 years now but my boot straps are all worn out so I just try to smile and be upbeat for my kids! They are my best medicine! I hope you keep well and to hell with the guilt, you cannot help what you have got and certainly did not ask for it therefore there’s nothing for you to feel guilty about!

Good Luck 😉



Hi Nanno....i feel your pain. I feel guilty for being sick too. I am trying to change that because it is not our fault. I understand the pull yourself up by the bootstraps as well. Where did that term come from?? Probably someone who never experienced a debilitating illness. I was raised to never complain and to ignore issues so it was hard for me to even realize I was sick. Sometimes when I am having a bad day I have a hard time accepting it and tend to push myself because of my upbringing. I decided to be more kind to myself and more accepting of this illness. It is still a struggle sometimes but I am getting better at it.

My social life, like yours, is limited too. I hate making plans only to have to cancel. This forum is wonderful for us to be able to share our ups and downs.

Hang in there and many blessings to you🌸🌸Barbara


Yes I can identify with what you're saying nanno. My mum was a tough nut and didnt show too much sympathy, she pushed herself no matter how she felt and expected the same from us....to the point where I was afraid to complain about feeling unwell and if I did I felt guilty about bothering her with it. She was a working mother and work came first every time

As a result I havent found it easy to tell anyone when I've been feeling poorly, just plodded quietly on. So I very much understand what you mean. I'm 71 now and with recent help and support from health trainers am learning to cope with the problems I have xx

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I certainly don't feel guilty - but my background meant I knew this was an illness and it isn't generally our fault when we develop this type of thing. It isn't like going out in the cold and wet without a coat on and developing a chill! I'm angry about having been ignored for 5 years due, probably, to laziness on the part of my then GP.

In fact, by the way, "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" was never meant to be a serious instruction.

"It originates from a physics textbook published in the 1800's. "Why can not a man lift himself up by pulling up his bootstraps?" Well obviously he can't, it being a violation of physics and all. When it was popularized thereafter, it was initially meant to be sarcastic. And now people say it with complete seriousness. Like, lol." (Reddit)

"... this one is actually an idiom: The phrase "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" originated shortly before the turn of the 20th century. It's attributed to a late-1800s physics schoolbook that contained the example question "Why can not a man lift himself by pulling up on his bootstraps?" So when it became a colloquial phrase referring to socioeconomic advancement shortly thereafter, it was more or less meant to be sarcastic, or to suggest that it was a nigh-impossible accomplishment. Eventually, however, the phrase's commonly-accepted meaning evolved, and now when we tell people to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps," it's implying that socioeconomic advancement is something that everyone should be able to do—albeit something difficult. Also: Considering boots with bootstraps (or at least the shoe parts that are commonly called bootstraps, since boots with straps have existed for centuries) weren't popularized until about 1870, the character called Bootstrap Bill from Pirates of the Caribbean, which took place in the late 1700s, is a bit of an anachronism." (Reddit)


You gave me an interesting education about bootstraps, That I did not know. Why not hope for the impossible. What have you got to lose. A day at a time anything can happen. One day acceptance. One day denial. Whatever works the best I think for today. I enjoyed reading the reply. Thank you for taking the time for me. That was so very nice of you. Take care and God Bless You.


Exactly - hope springs eternal :-) If you don't hope you just get miserable - and make everyone around you unhappy too xxxx


Please never feel guilty for this we didn’t ask for this but we are all here for u to moan at and get stuff of your chest I found this site brill everyone is so careing I was so so low I thot no one understands how bad this is it’s not like a broken leg or arm where u can see this it’s hard but anytime we are here ok we are one big disfuctional family lol


Thank you Curly 1430 , I really liked what you said. Thank you for taking the time for me. I cannot say enough how much I appreciate your kind words and the everyone in this group. I feel like we are soul or spirit partners. God Bless You and take care.


It’s always good to see the support this place offers. We are all individuals and we all deserve respect; therefore we all respect each other....

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Yep I think it is par for the course with some of us, and some of the reason we get so run down. Because so many of these auto immune conditions are hidden for so long, Lots of small and supposedly unrelated health events, that the doctors do not put together, We carry on becoming more fatigued, the condition worsening, beginning unbelieved.

I didn't want to give up, I carried on. I was surrounded by people like you who worked through it until one day I couldn't. I stood up to go to a work meeting an just cried and couldn't move. That was my last day at work.

Now I pace everything. I only "look well" because of that.

Only my husband sees how I feel and I feel guilty for burdening him!

I wonder if studies have been done about personality types?


Lord, Nanno, you could be talking about me. I was always sick with an unexplainable illness, and I, too, was slapped around and told there was nothing wrong with me. There was.


Hi Nanno,

You poor thing. Try not to feel guilty as none of us asked for or wanted this disease. I know it’s easier said than done.

I feel guilty because I’ve had to move back home with my parents and at 33 that’s not something to be proud of. I’ve been trying to write and make money that way but I lose motivation and momentum a lot when I get despondent about my health. I used to be so sociable and bubbly but when I became partially deaf socialising became a challenge. Now I get nervous every time I see my friends that they will think I’m boring for always talking about my health - but there’s nothing else for me to talk about!

I went to Cambridge so all my friends are successful now and I feel like a child again. Luckily my parents have always been loving and supportive.

I don’t feel guilty, just ashamed that I haven’t thrived at anything.

I’m going through a flare at the moment which seems never ending and I feel so hopeless. I think this place is fantastic and it always helps me focus on the positive. There are so many people out there in this situation and we are all here for you. Lots of love and support to you my friend

Betsy xxx


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