Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chronic Illness

I know that for the most part people mean well when they say things like in the picture above, but really it doesn't help. I've pretty much heard them all and it quite literally stabs you in the heart. Being sick is the last thing anyone with a chronic illness wants, I guarantee they've already tried getting rest, exercise, and taken every medication out there with a possibility of helping. We already know about everyone who has similar conditions who are either better or worse than we seem to be. Oh and just because we look good, doesn't mean we feel good.

I have struggled with illness most of my life. My illnesses are not ones you can see by looking at me, unless you happen to see me during one of spells. I have good days and bad days. I also have days that aren't that great, but I have to push through and find a way to live anyway. If you were to run into me at the grocery store on that day you wouldn't know the battle I'm fighting inside. You wouldn't be able to see how badly my body just wants to lie down, or how much pain I'm in. You wouldn't see how heavy my heart is because all I want is to feel better. I'm kind of a stubborn person and I don't like asking for help, so even if you were to come over on one of my really bad days you would still see a smile on my face and me acting as normal as possible; after you left I would crawl into bed and cry.

So, if you are a well-meaning person who knows someone with chronic illness you may be wondering,  what kind of things are okay to say? What kind of things do help? In my experience the thing that helps the most is just knowing you're not alone. Having a friend that comes over on a rough day and watches a movie with you, or calls to let you know you're on their mind. Those are things that help. Be thoughtful, think of things you don't like doing when you're sick and do that for someone else. On my bad days I absolutely hate cooking, so having someone bring me dinner is a huge help. I also hate having a dirty house, but I don't always feel well enough to clean it, so when a friend stops by to help wash my dishes I am overwhelmed with gratitude. There are ways to help without using any of the phrases above.

I know everyone is unique when it comes to facing trials, but I honestly don't think I'm all that different from someone else who suffers from a chronic illness. So, next time you come in contact with a friend or family member who is struggling please think before you speak. Do something that will actually help them. Let them feel your love.

For my friends who also suffer through chronic illness, let's remember that people do mean well and give them a break. I'm sure they are doing the best they know how.

Luvs & Hugs


LeaAnne said...

Oh my friend, I can tell you that every word you wrote could have come from my own life. I often feel like I am drowning. Thanks for being able to share what is almost unbelievable for most people to think of.