Chronic Illness Is Not A Competition!

WARNING: Not so mini rant about competition in the chronic illness community coming!

You know what really bugs me? When people act like being ill is a competition. It’s almost like if somebody is more ill or suffers more than you do, that they win. 

I just wanted to write this post to remind people that being ill is not a choice. It is not a competition. People can have a chronic illness and still have good days. Days where they aren’t in as much pain, or their fatigue isn’t affecting them as much as usual. This does NOT mean that they are not ill.

I feel like there are certain people out there who claim to be “worse” all the time. If somebody has a “good” day, they can’t be happy and just say “I’m so glad you’ve had a good day, that’s amazing!”. Instead, they say, “Oh it’s lucky for some, I never have good days”.

This became obliviously clear to me when I was reading the comments from one of my blog posts which was shared on The Mighty last year. 90% of the comments were so lovely, supportive and full of understanding. But one or two, just commented things like “can’t relate, all my days are bad days” or “this girl doesn’t have it half as bad as me”.

Why comment things like that? It doesn’t help anybody. Just because I am not bedbound 24/7 does NOT mean that I don’t struggle sometimes. Just because I actually do have good days, doesn’t mean that I’ve made the whole thing up.

Is there a hierarchy?

There seems to be this hierarchy within the chronic illness community that nobody actually talks about. Those who are “worse” or who are “more disabled” are at the top, and those who aren’t as bad are almost looked down upon, feeling like they have to justify their good days.

Why should anybody have to justify good times? It’s just wrong. I for one, am absolutely sick of seeing these patronising comments when people share their struggles.

Be supportive

If somebody has a “good” day with their illness, just be happy for them. If they have a bad day, send them a supportive message, be nice. There is NO comparison between each person’s health issues. Every single person is completely different and shouldn’t be made to feel guilty if they have a good day.

Being ill is not a competition. Having worse health than somebody else is not a competition. Having a good day is something to be celebrated, not judged.

90% of the time, the chronic illness community is a wonderful, supportive place where people can feel less alone and isolated. But now and again, this competitive side comes out and it needs to stop.

I have started a new guest post series for Blogging in Bed! This is an introductory post as well as me sharing a post about chronic illness and the competition that comes with it!

Have you ever been judged for having a “good” day when you’re chronically ill? I would love to hear your opinions on this – let me know in the comments!

Until next time,



  1. 31st August 2018 / 7:51 am

    Boom. That’s really very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I guess it can be easy over time to become bitter and then envious when other people can do things you can’t. It’s easy to fall into the faulty thinking trap of seeing things from your own perspective and then projecting that into others.
    I find that some days I can’t stand seeing Facebook and all the things my healthy friends are doing (that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be posting) and then on other days I love living vicariously through them. I hadn’t thought so much of people guilting other I’ll people for having a good day. We should be celebrating!

    • Amy Saunders
      31st August 2018 / 4:16 pm

      Thank you for your comment! You’re 100% right, it’s really difficult not to get jealous!! I think we all need to be more mindful of judging people and be aware that we don’t always see the bigger picture!!

  2. 31st August 2018 / 9:16 am

    I love this post Amy and you look gorgeous in your pics in bed. I completely agree with you and wrote something similar a little while ago after attending a local support group – at that it almost felt like a competition, but also from certain people who seemed judgemental about those not trying hard enough with special diets and regimes….you know, the whole “if you follow this all your symptoms will be gone and you will be better than ever before”!! Aghhh… annoys me as we are all different and there were some really poorly very young people at that session and they could have walked away feeling that they weren’t trying hard enough.
    Rant over….great start to this series, Amy! I would love to take part!! Claire x

    • Amy Saunders
      31st August 2018 / 4:17 pm

      Aw thank you so much Claire! That’s awful, especially from a support group! I really hope those younger people found the support they need! That’s great that you want to get involved, email me at and I’ll send over all the details!! Xxx

  3. 13th September 2018 / 4:39 am

    There’s also a fear to tell your ‘heakthy’ Friends you’ve had a good day, as some will then conclude you are better. They seem surprised the next time they see you and your still recovering from doing too much on that one good day that you get ‘but you were fine last time I saw you’.

    It’s also amazing what nerves and adrenaline can do to make you look well when meeting up with people

    • Amy Saunders
      15th September 2018 / 7:24 pm

      Oh absolutely! I have had that many a time, especially when your illness is invisible so people can’t actually see any symptoms! Thank your for your comment! xxx

  4. 30th September 2018 / 6:40 pm

    Love this post! Something I’ve experienced a lot, and I just don’t understand it! I also have friends who will compete with me on how ill they are on the odd occasion I do ‘complain’ about my pain which to me just doesn’t make any sense! Might start wearing bandages etc so people can actually visualise the pain, seems to be the only way people accept it!

    • Amy Saunders
      30th September 2018 / 9:16 pm

      Ahh sameee! It’s so frustrating because I’m that person who will be sympathetic and supportive no matter how ill someone else is, better or worse than me but not everyone treats me the same way!

    • Amy Saunders
      2nd November 2018 / 3:22 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that, but know that you’re definitely not alone! I always feel like this – it’s a lose-lose situation sometimes!

  5. Sanna
    17th May 2019 / 7:57 am

    I can so relate! I am apparently of the relapsing remitting type. So when I was (very) good for a couple of years people of my (chronic illness) community scorned me. Saying I probably never had the disease in the first place. Now I have relapsed, and it’s like “you see: there’s no way people can get better”… Also the bullying and shaming of people that aren’t as bad as they are is horrible. People get called a fake or fraud… Drama queens… Just horrible! It should stop. We should all support one another.

    Thank you so much for this blog. Spot on!

    • Amy
      28th May 2019 / 11:36 am

      I completely agree, I’ve been the same. I can go months where I have twice as many ‘good’ days than ‘bad’ days where people start to doubt my illness. Thank you for your comment and for understanding! Amy xxx

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