When people we love are sick and in pain, we want to wish them love and encouragement, offer support, and motivate them to be hopeful.
Unfortunately, our words aren’t always interpreted in the manner we intend. This is because people with chronic illness do not feel like everyone else, and rather than feeling supported, they often feel misunderstood. Oftentimes the lack of communication can permanently affect relationships.
Chronic pain, fatigue, and other disease symptoms are stressful enough without the added stress created from tense relationships. Here are five things to keep in mind when talking to loved ones living with chronic illness:
1. They need us to believe them. Believe it or not, it is not uncommon for chronic illness sufferers to say they were accused of faking or exaggerating symptoms. When they react to these accusations, they are seen as overly sensitive or believed to have misunderstood a situation. Even statements like, “But you don’t look sick!” can strike a nerve because they imply we don’t believe the person. When a chronically ill person says she is hurting or feeling extremely tired, she needs us to believe she is telling the truth.
2. Save the suggestions for fixing their illness. People with chronic illness have seen countless doctors, taken numerous medications, and done endless research on their illnesses. They don’t need to know about remedies or cures we think will help them. If the cures worked, they would have tried them by now and/or their doctors would have suggested them.
Read More at Upwell.