Life living with a chronic illness becomes easier when others around you support and understand you . Granted, people who do not have a chronic illness will never fully understand how we feel but with more education and information they can become more aware of what we go through and begin to help. Learning what you can do for someone who has a chronic illness can make a huge difference. I do have a lot of people message me who are dealing with a loved one who is chronically ill and asking how they can help them and what they can do – so these are my top six things you can do to help a loved one suffering:
1. Research research research!
It’s so important to research someone’s chronic illness so you know what they are dealing with. A great way to do this is obviously Google and there is so much information out there. It is also useful to reach out to the chronic illness community on social media and connect with others – instagram is a great place for that. You can see first hand how others deal with it and most pages inboxes are always open for advice. Do be careful with social media though as some pages can be negative.
2. Suggest but do not push!
It’s great for you to research things which can help them and to make suggestions. But do not push too much. My motto is ‘suggest, remind, prompt and then drop it’. Someone doesn’t want to be constanly told to try things if they are not ready or feel they can’t do.
3. Do not compare them to others!
If you know someone with the same chronic illness and see them doing certain things – don’t compare them! Please remember that everyone experiences their chronic illness differently and everyone exsperiences different symtoms. Someone can also suffer more severely than someone else.
4. Do not get mad if they cancel on you!
Be understanding. If they cancel on you, I bet you they did not want to and that they have been worrying all week about how you will react. Somebody’s chronic illness can flare up at any time and they can’t help it.
5. No name calling or suggesting they don’t look sick!
Don’t ever call someone lazy, a let down, useless or anything else negative. These words can destroy a persons self esteem leading to depression. Think before you speak. Also telling someone they do not look sick is basically telling them that you don’t believe them. A of chronic illnesses are invisible. Remember that.
6. Help, Support and reassure
Help them when you can. If that means housework, childcare or any other chore – just let them know that you are there to help or better yet; use your initiative and don’t leave a mess for them to clean up…you know who you are 🙂
Also, reassure your loved ones and let them know you support them in what ever they choose to do. If that means a new career or work pattern, or even if they have to stop working all together – support them no matter what. If they are starting a new treatment or routine, just let them know you support them and be enthusiastic! Always let them know that you recognize they are doing their best and you are proud of them.
When they are talking about them selfs negatively, turn that around and tell them all the positive things about themselves.
This all may not sound like much – but believe me, having a partner, friend or family member who has your back and shows it makes a massive massive difference. We are so harsh on ourselves and often forget to love ourselves – that’s when we need you the most.
Shout out to everybody who is supporting somebody with a chronic illness.