Chronic illness affects millions of people. It is not “all in their head”. It’s very real and it really sucks……Let me guide you into a better understanding of it, and help you be a better friend or family member to someone who has a chronic illness.
Let’s talk about Chronic Illness and how you can help
How many people have you met that are always sick? Friends who are just “too tired” to kick it with you? Someone who is at the doctor several times a month or the ER? And how many times have you rolled your eyes at them or about them, when they have frequent doctor visits? Well, listen, read this and share it, cause I know many people need to be educated. Not on a book level either, but reality level. Let’s go.
There are many chronic illness, auto immune diseases. To name a few would be Lupus (SLE), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Type 1 Diabetes, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Chron’s Disease. I bet you know of at least 1 person who has one of these conditions.
To have a chronic illness is to take away a real quality of life. For example, let’s talk about Lupus. Lupus is like your body is allergic to itself. A bad germ comes in and your body attacks it and kills it and you feel better again, right? Well, with Lupus, the body keeps attacking cells even after the bad ones are gone, so it’s killing off good cells too. This causes so many different problems. No two people have the exact same issues with Lupus. It can attack anything, any organ! Sometimes you see people with a rash across their cheeks and nose, it’s called a butterfly rash. Now, only about 30% of patients with Lupus actually get that rash. So, it’s not defining for everyone with Lupus. Lupus causes great fatigue, severe joint and muscle pain, skin issues (too many to list) and organ failure.
When your friend or family member who has this says they don’t want to go out with you or do things you want to, show some compassion. Say okay, ask them if there is anything you can do for them. Maybe they would like help making dinner, help them. It’s hard to do simple tasks that someone who isn’t chronically ill, can do. Don’t get upset with them cause they don’t feel well. All you are doing is adding to their stress level and causing the flare to take longer to get over.
Things you can do to help your friend or family member who has a chronic illness.
* Help them prepare meals for the week
* Ask if you can run any errands for them (they are not always able to leave the house)
* Help them clean house once a week
* Don’t offer advice on how to “cure” their incurable condition. I promise, it’s all been heard before. Just don’t.
* Let them vent about their pain and frustration with their condition. Don’t offer advice, just listen. Really listen.
* Do a little research on their condition, so that you understand more about what they are going through
* Lastly, don’t say “but you don’t look sick”. Most people don’t “look” sick. Is there a standard to looking like you have a disease? The inside of the body is usually what’s being destroyed, and a person has to be extremely flared up to look like society’s perception of what sick is suppose to look like. That’s why they are called “invisible illnesses”.
I hope you learned a little bit today, and thanks for reading the post. Please learn about auto immune diseases and spread the word. 💜💜
You can also find us at Facebook at Lupus My Invisible Companion. And on Twitter at. LupusMICompanion @LupusCompanion