One of my pet peeves is things that people who are not sick say to us.
My least favorite is “…but you don’t look sick!” It may be true, many of us do not, but anyone who truly knows us, and pays attention, can see quite plainly that we are.
We may walk slower, smile less, lose weight, gain weight, miss work, lose interest in things we loved, socialize less, if at all, sleep more, or less depending on our conditions, and chances are when you see us, we are putting up a good front, just to appear normal.
Aside from our physical ailments, we may also be suffering emotionally due to personal issues, such as loved ones (and doctors) denying the existence of our condition, broken marriages, financial strain, homelessness, and job loss, among other things.
Being chronically ill is not easy. Not only are we being attacked by a disease, but by the world around us.
Other phrases too often used are:
“You should really exercise more.”
“Have you tried changing your diet?”
“You should get rid of your pets.”
“You need to get out, and get some fresh air.”
“Maybe you have_______.”
“Stop being lazy. You can work.”
“It’s all in your head.”
UGH!!! I want to scream.
If you are a person who has a loved one, friend or child with a chronic illness, please be patient, and compassionate. If you don’t understand the person’s illness, make it a point to learn more.
I have come to believe that there are some who resent, or are jealous of us because we are ill. I have witnessed it, and seen it described in many groups and blogs. I don’t know why anyone would think that we would choose to be home bound, in constant pain, and have our lives in shambles. It is not fun. It is not like being on vacation. They say we are lazy, self centered, and call us hypochondriacs. In some cases, they even prevent their loved ones from receiving proper care. (In these instances, they are the ones that need a good shrink.) FYI, this is abuse, plain and simple. Don’t let it happen to you.
So…that being said,
Don’t talk, just listen. Be supportive, and caring, and as understanding as you can be. If you see us struggling, lend a hand.
Remember, you could be next. You could wake up tomorrow with a nagging pain, and 6 months later be incapacitated. The last thing you want is to become ill and have me tell you “I told you so.”