I’m in Aus right now getting treatment for some health problems, and it got me thinking about how to approach chronic illness, what to say, what not to say and how to deal with it if you or someone you love has it.
This is a little post about some things that maybe we should think about before we say to someone who has a chronic illness. And some thoughts from someone who has had one.
For those of you who don’t know, I have been pretty sick for the last… decade.
And I’m only 22.
During those years, I have had many things said to me. Some kind, all kindly meant.
Here are some things NOT to say to someone suffering a chronic illness.
Now depending on how tired I am, how much I was able to keep down that morning and whether my stomach cramps have hit an 8+ would all determine the level of sass in the reply/thoughts.
Bare that in mind.
Lets start with the old one..
You don’t look sick.
Please. Don’t ever say this to someone. I know it’s kindly meant and its meant to make them feel better, but it doesnt. It sometimes makes us feel invisible and makes the struggle and illness even more private. Just because someone doesnt look sick doesnt mean they aren’t.
Thoughts: Well thank you! I feel horrid, but I’m glad i don’t look it! Its called foundation! Isn’t it great! I could walk the runway right?! 😉
You always seem to be so tired.
We honestly try to not seem that way. I know you might not think it, but we do. It’s hard to seem energetic and happy when it’s totally exhausting just sitting down and listening without falling asleep. Also, no one wants to be told this. It’s a kind way of saying we look horrid. And I’m sorry I look like I’m not enjoying this, I am, I just need a nap/painkiller/timeout/ect.
BONUS; Try saying this instead! Thanks so much for making an effort to be here/do this/ stay awake. I know how hard it is for you!
Have you tried this drug/pill/multivitamin/ancient root / red blossom of the wild african bush shrub/the excrement of a young Dodo.
We are pretty chronically sick. I can assure you, we have tried most everything. Have probably searched most of the known world looking for a doctor and some kind of relief.
If you know us well, well enough to know our exact problems, what we have tried ect, then by all means, give advice. But please don’t suggest the Everyday Multi Vitamin from Costco.
Sass thoughts; Not only have I taken that pill/drug/herb, I have taken 1208420 others. Thanks though. P.S The Dodo is actually extinct.
You’re just lazy.
Now, i’ll admit. I have been lazy in the past. And some studies show that its very good for your mental health to keep active in sickness, in small amounts, to avoid depression ect.
But let me tell you this, a person who had bad chronic illness is not doing to get out of doing the laundry.
At 16 there are way more other things I would have rather done then have to be sleeping, vomiting, sitting on the bathroom all day. These would include seeing people, eating real foods, joining in on sports activities and staying awake past 8;30pm.
I feel like saying.. “Here let me break out limbs and then call you lazy..” cause honestly. that is what it feels like.
If you just put your mind too it, you’ll feel better/ Have more energy/ Have less pain.
While the mind does play a big part of health, there are physical problems too that just can’t be solved with positive thinking. As much as we try to stay positive, some days are exhausting and draining, and you just have Bad days. Be there for us when we do.
I don’t believe in dietary allergies/restrictions or that it even helps.
If you actually say this to a person who is on some kind of special diet, expect a least a death eye. Allergies are real and food does help & heal. Enough said. Your very lucky if you have never suffered a food allergy or challenge. Maybe one day you’ll see how difficult it is, but I hope not.
If you honestly say this to me, I may say this back.. 😉
” I didn’t you to believe people could be that stupid, yet here you are. Guess we are both wrong.”
I know how you feel.. I had a bad cold once and it was horrible.
PLEASE, don’t compare. Honestly. The time to fainted in your third grade assembly does not mean you know what its like have diabetes. It’s nice that you try to feel caring, we really do appreciate it, but maybe just say that you had whatever experience you had, and that you CANT imagine going through that everyday. Because I assure you, a bad cold is not the same as Chronic Fatigue.
How can you possibly be sick that often/ You’re not REALLY that sick though.
Its seems unlikely, I get that. Really. But some bodies seem to excel as doing the impossible, and not it a healthy way. Mine is insanely amazing at getting every known ailment and virus ever, one after the other, many at the same time.
So I can assure you, you really CAN get THAT sick THAT often. And its horrible. Really. It’s not that we are trying to get out of anything, tthat we are “being dramatic” or anything like that. Our bodies just don’t like us right now. Thats all.
You look to fat/skinny/unhealthy.
You shouldn’t say this to anyone that you don’t know AMAZINGLY well anyway… The general rule; if you don’t know them that well, just shut it. Honestly.
More to the point; We look unhealthy because we are. And we are doing the best we can NOT to be. Comments like that just make us more self-conscious.
Really though, just be careful what you say. To anyone.
You have no idea what someone is going through, and if you DO have an idea what they are going through, then you would know that love, support and encouragement are the best things.
New Little *Chornic-Illness* Wife