The Things We Don’t Say: An Anthology of Chronic Illness Truths- Julie Morgenlender.

The things we don't say book review

Sections in the book:

  • Part I: Relationships
  • Part 2: Experiencing the emotions
  • Part 3: The Medical Side
  • Part 4: Acceptance
  • Part 5: Things we wish we’d known
  • Part 6: What we wish folks knew (my essay All About the Pain is here)
  • Part 7: Others’ Perceptions

This is the book for you if you have a chronic illness. This is the book for your loved ones. Your medical professions. This is the book for everyone. To get it. Finally, Get It.


I wrote an essay for this book called ‘All about the pain’ – so you will find me in this anthology. A piece of me and my experience of chronic pain at the time I wrote the essay.

Because this is a collection of essays on the chronic illness you get a broader view of the chronic illness experience from a variety of perspectives. In many ways, we have the same story. Guilt, self-blame, denial, fear, acceptance, stigma… but each disease comes with its own nuances and challenges. It reminds me of a quote I know:

“We are all in the same game; just different levels. Dealing with the same hell; just different devils”

The things we don't say promo review

I cried a bit. I’ll tell you that. I have empathy so large it pours out of me. I cannot read the experiences of others, with completely different conditions, without that empathy spilling forth. The very first essay got to me. Hit me in my feels.

Fact is every story is relatable in some way. We see ourselves in them or we know people with chronic illnesses who have experienced the same thing. These are stories from our lives and our community as a whole. This is our Voice. Pieced together into a fabric. Each saying a little bit about our story. Each revealing a part of our experiences, but in their personal lives. But we know. We recognize it. It may not be our story but we have felt those emotions.

And because these stories reflect a fraction of all our emotions and experiences it is relatable to us and I would hope it is something that makes us Seen by anyone who reads this book. Like really Seen. Because this is just snapshots of our lives. Imagine the decades of it?

Imagine friends disappearing. Imagine valuing the ones you have like they are more precious than gold. That is chronic illness. Have you ever thought your sex life would diminish or change or never be the same? (I have).

The guilt. Sadness. Blame. And even empowerment. All stem from our struggle to survive with chronic illness. Have you ever thought about not being about to have kids? (I have). What if I can’t work? (I know that one very well)

All these explorations you will find in these deeply personal essays on a variety of chronic illnesses. Snapshots into people’s lives on various topics. I empathize with them because I can relate to so many of their stories in so many ways. I am these stories at their core essence in my personal experiences. I am this voice. I am these emotions.

Buy on Amazon!

Sneak peek!

See more book reviews

Book review: Take Daily as Needed
Book review: Resilience
Book review: The Pain Companion

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