"What if?" A chronic illness poem

What if? A poem about living with chronic illness

Laura’s Pen performs a chronic illness poem about the misconceptions healthy people sometimes have about her life…

This is a chronic illness poem I’ve written called “What if?”, which is a response to people who say things like: “It must be nice not having to go to work” when you are unable to because you are chronically ill.

I’m quite lucky, in that this has only been very occasionally been said to me. But I have discovered through my support groups that it really is not uncommon. Many people seem to be under the illusion that it must be enjoyable being stuck at home all day, when really someone with chronic illness would love to be out working and leaving the house as they wish.

Anyway, here is my chronic illness poem “What if?”. Hope you enjoy…

Or, if you’d prefer to read:

What if?
A poem about chronic illness by Laura Chamberlain

You say
It must be nice sitting at home all day.
Sitting in your comfy clothes,
Drinking tea with your Netflix dose.

I say
It must be nice going to work without breaking, quaking, shaking
Because your legs are weak and your mind.. your mind.. won’t think.

You say, but hey, at least life isn’t stressful
Sleeping all day,
I could do with a break.

I say, but hey, what if it was everyday?
What if every time you rest
After watching TV
You could feel your dreams slipping away?

What if you watched friends travel and party and smile
From a screen on your lap
While you cuddled the cat?
What if your stress was proving your illness
To contracted assessors?
And planning your day so rests
Take up most of your “waking” hours?

What if…
This wasn’t just a break from work?
A much needed rest?
Or a bout of flu?

What if…
It was every day
That you sat at home
And watched your life slip away?

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"What if?" A poem in response to people who say that it must be nice to sit at home all day

Laura Chamberlain

Laura is a writer blogging about living with chronic illness, namely Lyme Disease, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) and Fibromylagia.

She likes food, cats, bad jokes. Unfortunately, her boyfriend is allergic to the last two...


  1. That was beautiful, Laura! Your reading was spot on; really punches you in the gut. Well done! 🙌

    1. Thank you. I was really nervous but I was pleased with how it turned out! X

  2. Well, that made me cry a little so that proves its brilliant right? Excuse me while I grab a tissue…

    1. Thank you Jessica. I had to have a hug after the first read through!

  3. Well written,loved the line about “proving your illness to contracted assessors”
    So stressful, so serious,so many have taken their own lives because of some of these inept untrained unqualified ones some only interested in meeting “targets” while ruining the lives of others who have become just a statistic.
    Well done ! Xx

  4. Well Written!

  5. What a powerful piece, really touched me.

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