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Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness: How to Stay Sane and Live One Step Ahead of Your Symptoms
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Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness: How to Stay Sane and Live One Step Ahead of Your Symptoms

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  414 ratings  ·  89 reviews
“An important antidote to the dogmatic ‘kale and vitamins’ tone of most ‘self-help’ literature.”
—Alexa Tsoulis-Reay, senior writer, New York magazine

Popular blogger Ilana Jacqueline offers smart and savvy advice, humor, and practical tips for living with an invisible chronic illness.

Do you live with a chronic, debilitating, yet invisible condition? You may feel isolated,
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by New Harbinger Publications (first published March 1st 2017)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Dr. Appu Sasidharan

(Regular Review) Ilana Jacqueline, who is also a famous blogger, tells us how to deal with chronic illness to lead a happy, productive life through this book. The experiences that the author describes will certainly melt our hearts. The author doesn't stop after just mentioning chronic disease; she delves deeper and discusses about many other things that many people refuse to discuss. She even tells us about the dating and sexual life of people with chronic diseases. This is a must-read book
☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆
This was an absolutely amazing book! This story was a magnificent work of art!!! I was completely blown away with how much this story hit home! It's like the author knew everything that I needed to hear with my chronic invisible illnesses! As a person that battles fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, severe mental health issues and much more, I wake up crying in pain most days and am stuck in my bed from the inability to even walk at the age 29. I feel like giving up most days. I have lost many f ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
I know better than to read self-help books, but the opening paragraphs gave me hope. Darn it.

The good: a fast, easy read with some content that I could relate to. Chronic illness is an asshole, indeed.

The ok: if you're newly diagnosed and about to embark on a life of chronic illness, it's probably a decent way to get oriented (caveats noted at the end).

The bad: unchecked sanism and intellectual ableism, which is always disappointing when it's a fellow disabled person saying it plus some inaccur
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
While I will most whole-heartedly agree that chronic illness is an asshole, I couldn't find much help from this self-help book. The author does write a successful blog, which I could see as bring a relatable resource for people newly diagnosed with an illness, and she does offer some encouragement, when speaking about life with chronic disease being about "managing expectations," while also being something we don't battle or fight or race. The author does believe we can outsmart chronic illness, ...more
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the book that everyone just diagnosed with a chronic illness NEEDS. There are tons of books with advice on medicines, therapies, vitamins, diet changes, etc. - but this is the first one I've read that addresses those big, scary issues: how can I cope with how my life changed? What can I do to help my friends and family understand what's going on? How can I get over the anger and guilt I feel when I can't do the things I used to? These are super important because, unlike most illnesses an ...more
Meghan Doberstein
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Over the years I've worked with people who had an "invisible condition", and I've had employers who didn't believe them. I've heard people called lazy, that they're faking being sick to get out of work, and "they looked fine yesterday so I doubt anything's actually wrong."

This is the book to read if you want to prove them all wrong.

I personally don't suffer from any sort of medical condition (although I do have some mental health issues), however I do enjoy broadening my horizons and learning
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As someone who has been accused of using her grandmother's handicap sticker, and been stared at using the motorized wheelchair at Wal-mart, this book struck home. The author is not a doctor, or a researcher or a well wisher. She has been through this, fighting in the trenches like the rest of us. My own illness is different from the author's, but it is sad to see how universal my experiences are.
This is a helpful guide for anyone with a chronic illness and it deals with it in a very realistic w
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I requested this authoritative book because our son has three so-called ‘invisible’ diagnosed diseases, including fibromyalgia and bipolar disorder. He has other degenerative diseases as well. My husband and I have read widely about his illnesses and have a fair understanding of how he feels, but this book really added a different slant as well as knowledge.
There was a plethora of ‘tips’ arranged under different headings. There were personal anecdotes, case study stories, practical advice and m
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness: How to Stay Sane and Live One Step Ahead of Your Symptoms by Author Ilana Jacqueline is a well-written book for support and learning to cope with a chronic illness. It is written to encourage the reader to be proactive about learning all they can about the illness and symptoms. When I say "illness and symptoms", that is exactly what the author is writing about because you can be ill for years without receiving a correct diagnosis of your ...more
Tiffany Michele
This book was 30% helpful for me. It focused heavily on western medicine helpful info—I’m more holistic eastern Medicine inclined—and it really focused on more visible invisible illnesses. Ones that leave scars and marks and tubes in your body. Fibromyalgia doesn’t’ really have that—in my case—so a lot of the info was . . . Meaningless for me.
It also had a TON of cursing in it and the dating section—though some of her advice was helpful—was a . . . Non-Christian standpoint so I didn’t get much o
Mar 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: health
Helpful book to get someone recently diagnosed with a chronic illness, but it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. ...more
Leigh J
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As someone who suffers with chronic illnesses this book was a must request!
Invisible diseases are the worst, they isolate sufferers who can find it difficult to explain to those who are unaffected, that just because their symptoms and pain cant be seen, that they are massively, hugely debilitating. So many suffer in silence, feel judged, shame, isolation, and feel misunderstood and unaccepted, and thats on top of the dreadful symptoms, pain and side effects so much medication can bring.
This bo
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author of this book lives with multiple chronic conditions and writes the Let's Feel Better blog. It would be a great resource for a young person just starting their journey with a chronic illness, but it also has things to offer for those of us who aren't new to the chronic life. You will find this a well-written and well put together book with resources, ideas, inspiration, and facts about living with chronic illness, the diagnosis process, disability, working or going to school with chron ...more
Fern Adams
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Since becoming increasingly unwell with Dysautonomia I've been wishing there was some sort of guidebook or manual on how to cope with it and how to make sense of becoming chronically unwell. This book is it! Ilana writes in detail but also in an easy to read way. Covering everything from how to get the most out of a doctors appointment, living independently and how to tell others of your condition I wish I'd come across something like this sooner! ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness was an absolutely wonderful (and humorous) look into what it's like living with a chronic illness not everyone can see. I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. This book offers not only ways to deal with the many questions but also reminds that people with chronic illness are not alone. I can honestly say that it is nearly 100% accurate as I have autoimmune disorders and deal with a lot of the same things the book m ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is an incredible resource for anyone dealing with a chronic illness, or for someone who loves a person with a chronic illness and would like a look inside what it's like. The author talks about everything from the realities of dealing with a chronic illness, relationships and dating, and the pain and frustration. However, this is not your typical self-help book. This is a journey with the author through her life's experiences and is perfect for the person who feels left behind and unse ...more
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't know any higher praise for a book than to say I cried in recognition while ready most of it. This is THE book I wish I had so many years ago.
If you have been newly diagnosed with any number of chronic and invisible illnesses, from cancer to diabetes, to mental illness, you will want to read this book. It focuses on the thoughts and emotions we experience with a chronic illness. You will *not* be lectured to or told to believe in something ridiculous. Instead, Ilana holds your hand and o
Allison Alexander
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I've been living with a chronic illness since birth and throughout my journey I've found myself twisted by embarrassment about my disease and shamed about being unable to lead a normal life."

Yes. This is an author who intimately understands chronic illness and how it can impact day-to-day life. Ilana Jacqueline offers practical advice on how to accept your illness, combat feelings of worthlessness, and navigate work, relationships, and a social life. It's a valuable read for people who suffer f
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-finished
Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of "Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness" through NetGalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

This is the perfect guide book to help new patients survive and thrive with chronic illness! Well written and covers a wide range of road blocks we face throughout our lives. I even found helpful tips for myself, even though I've been living with chronic illness for 10+ years.
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lots of good information in this book. I have quite a few family members and friends who have these. I really hope people who DON'T have invisible diseases read this book, it's enlightening. Pretty comprehensive book on diseases and they are all explained and covered very well.
I received a free Kindle copy of this book in exchange for a fair review from NetGalley
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in two sittings. However, those sittings were a year apart 😂 Let's say I'm just not good with illness self help books. After 20+ years and so much advocating I figure there is nothing new they can tell me. The only reason I picked up this book is because it's Ilana's, and I've been following her amazing blog and insta stories for years. She's an amazing writer with a lot of wit and humor.

And let me tell you: I LEARNED SOMETHING NEW. The elevator talk is life changing! Who'd
Jun 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Listened to this one on audible, as it was sent to me by another dear friend fighting a chronic illness. It was excellent, especially to those fighting their own invisible battle of living with a chronic illness. I loved that it was narrated by the author and the suggestions she had to offer like creating 3 separate lists: one with medications, one with name, address, and birthdate, and another with emergency contacts in your life. That’s crucial for any new doctor consult or ER visit. I also en ...more
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, nonfiction, health
Being a patient is not always easy. At least not when you struggle with invisible illness.

It's something I'm familiar with after struggling with chronic fatigue diseases in the last six years. It may not sound long, but it feels like a very long time, especially when you want a life with a job to go to, but you don't have a body to control. People with chronic diseases can also easily be misunderstood. Others think we are only about playing to be the victim, but it is not. At least not for every
Shannon Stypula
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
There are some really good parts and some eh parts. A heavy focus on how to manage a diagnosed illness that started in childhood. There's a bunch of tips that just don't apply to adult-onset and/or undiagnosed illnesses. The author just skims over those situations. At times, a touch too much positivity and I was the biggest optimist prior to falling ill. While having a positive attitude is helpful, allowing yourself to grieve and have bad days is just as important. I'm also frustrated with sever ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great resource for individuals living with chronic illness. I think it is especially helpful for individuals newly diagnosed with an invisible illness, but I have had POTS for many years and still found Ilana's book very useful. ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent, and I can guarantee I'll come back to it regularly. It's a great resource to anyone living with a chronic illness. I let out a few tears, because it was so so relatable. I laughed out loud, because Ilana Jacqueline maintains a light style even when discussing the serious.
I highly recommend it. Even if this is information you know, even if this is information you repeat to yourself daily, it's an amazing reminder. Jacqueline has created an important guide to living in th
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
A friendly, straight-talking, not crunchy approach to dealing with invisible chronic illness in the real world - the chapter on being your own advocate is almost worth the whole book on it's own. Thank you, Ilana! ...more
Dawn Pogue
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is the most empowering book I have ever read about living with a chronic illness. My entire perspective has changed and don't feel like a victim of my disease. The strategies outlined in this book have shown me how to regain my life.
Annie-Danielle Grenier
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been a reader of Ilana Jacqueline's blog for many years, so I was excited to read her book!
I was NOT disappointed! I love her style, which is light and friendly but never demeaning or disrespectful. You read this and feel like you could know her and be talking to her over a cup of coffee, and feel like equals, except she might know more than you and she's letting you know some tips... not that she thinks she knows better and feels you know nothing.
What I liked most is how she always lets y
This book is exactly what those of us who suffer from an "invisible illness" have been looking for. It's so amazing to know that someone out there gets it and understands the issues that can come from having an illness that no one can see.

There is information here covering relationships as well as work and school situations and dealing with people from loved ones to strangers. This book is a great read for those with an illness and those who want to understand.

* Thank you to Ilana Jacqueline, N
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Ilana Jacqueline is the author of the award-winning blog, Let’s Feel Better. She started the blog at age 22 to share her humbling, hilarious, and heartfelt experiences coping with chronic illness. From full contact fights with skull-cramping migraines to making peace with being a human pincushion, she writes boldly and unabashedly about breaking down, getting back up, and pulling off the bandage t ...more

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