18 Memes That Nail What It's Like to Have ME/CFS

Paige Wyant
if cars had ME... all the dashboard lights are on, indicating malfunction

If you live with ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis, formerly called chronic fatigue syndrome), you’re probably well aware of all the frustrations that can accompany the illness. Not only are there a plethora of symptoms and side effects to deal with, but ME/CFS is widely misunderstood – with many believing the condition just makes you feel “tired.”

In reality, ME/CFS is a serious, chronic and debilitating disease. It is estimated to affect between 17 and 24 million people worldwide, but there is still no diagnostic test, FDA-approved treatment or cure. ME/CFS can cause post-exertional malaise (PEM), meaning extreme exhaustion that’s made worse by even minor physical or mental effort. However, it can cause many other symptoms too, such as sleep problems, cognitive issues (including brain fog), chronic pain and light/sound sensitivity.

The symptoms, side effects and day-to-day challenges people with ME/CFS face are serious and valid. Even though the disease is no laughing matter, sometimes bonding with your fellow ME/CFS warriors through humor can be a powerful coping mechanism.

Related:4 Essential Limitations to Set When You're Chronically Ill

If a chuckle is what you need today, the following memes are for you.

1. When ME/CFS involves more than “just” fatigue:

a hand with a smaller hand attached to each finger. it says 'how to count all the symptoms of me/cfs on one hand'

Related:How Living With a Chronic Illness Is Like Being Trapped in an Unsafe Home

via @me.cfs.today Instagram

2. When someone is educated about ME/CFS:

when someone knows a true fact about my illness... photo of woman clapping

Related:19 Things People With ME/CFS Wish Others Understood

via spoonies4ever Tumblr

3. When you finally learn what your limits are:

via Hudson633 Reddit

4. When you try to have fun but know there will be consequences:

when you try and enjoy life for a second: girl bending down to smell flowers and falling face-first into the dirt

via Pinterest

5. When people suggest “miracle cures”:

the queen of england frowning. it says: me when people give me their two cents on how to cure my chronic fatigue syndrome.

via @skatergirl1970 Instagram

6. When… wait, what?

this is your brain: egg. this is your brain with brain fog: smashed egg. any questions?

via @myillnessmythoughts Instagram

7. When it feels like everything in your body is malfunctioning:

if cars had ME... all the dashboard lights are on, indicating malfunction

via meandmeweb.wordpress.com

8. When you have to gear up due to sensory sensitivity:

it looks like I work at the airfield, but I'm just getting ready to have a liedown

via ME / CFS Memes Facebook page

9. When people think your illness is “no big deal”:

Person: I don’t really think your symptoms/illness/condition is actually as bad as you say it is… Me: It's worse. It's so much worse.

via ishouldstudybutiminbed Tumblr

10. When your healthy friends do their best to listen and understand:

perfectly healthy friends giving unsolicited advice about your ME/CFS: drake saying no. friends just being friends: drake saying yes.

via Hudson633 Reddit

11. When chronic pain gets in the way of just about everything:

person: why can't you just.... me: photo of a woman pointing to a sign that says 'pain'

via chronicallyem Tumblr

12. When you reach new levels of exhaustion:

cartoon of person sliding down in their seat due to fatigue

via rubyetc

13. When the brain fog strikes:

Anyone: *says literally anything to me* My brain despite hearing them clearly: *steve harvey staring blankly at camera* Me after long awkward silence: haha wait what

via memes-to-show-my-therapist Tumblr

14. When pain is your chauffeur:

my uber is here: van with the word "pain" written on it

via @the_dog_loves_daddy_more Instagram

15. When you downplay the seriousness of your condition:

CFS/ME can be easy to live with and other hilarious jokes you can tell yourself

via Hudson633 Reddit

16. When people think ME/CFS means you’re “just a bit tired”:

"everybody gets tired sometimes." getting tired only 'sometimes' must be nice

via Pinterest

17. When you overdo it:

brace yourself, epic payback is coming

via Pinterest

18. When you’re trying to function on a negative amount of energy:

me: I don't have the energy for this. someone: for what? me: gestures vaguely

via @nikki_living_in_hope Instagram

If you’re struggling with ME/CFS, you’re not alone. To read more about the illness from people who have been there, check out the following stories from our Mighty community:

Read more stories like this on The Mighty:

3 Ways Talking Therapy Helped Me Come to Terms With My Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

How I'm Using Photography for Advocacy This Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Week

Dear Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: You Hid in Plain Sight