17 Pieces of Non-Medical Advice Doctors Have Given People With Chronic Illnesses


People with chronic illnesses of course look to doctors for guidance as they navigate their medical journeys. The right doctor (who’s not always easy to find!) can be a source of support and encouragement beyond their expected medical duties.

We asked our Mighty community with chronic illnesses to share some of the best non-medical advice their doctors have given them. These words of wisdom gave them an boost of confidence that can be crucial for living well with chronic illness.

Here’s what they told us: 

1. “‘Just do whatever feels right even if someone tells you it’s wrong’ — my surgeon basically telling me to listen to my body more than any generic medical advice.” —  Elly Hartley

2. “I have complex regional pain syndrome, and the best advice my doctor has given me is ‘Accept the diagnosis, work hard and stay strong! With this attitude, anything’s possible!’” — Nora Wagner

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3. “‘You know your body better than anyone else, and don’t let someone tell you that you don’t. If you tell me something is wrong, then something is wrong, and we will work to figure it out.’ — his response during our first meeting after having spent 10 years trying to find a doctor who listened and believed my symptoms… turns out it was never just in my head like my previous doctor told me.” — Tabitha Hodges

4. “‘If you play the comparison game, you will lose every time. Someone out there always has it worse, and someone out there always has it better. Your reality is your reality. Don’t compare.’” — Delaina Conour

5. “Neurologist’s comforting words: ‘Everyone needs a reason to get up in the morning. You can find yours.’” — Laurie Ann Marrano-Johnson

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6. “‘You need to be your own health advocate. That is your full-time job right now. And you’re doing a fantastic job.’” — Laura McGinnis

7. “‘Set realistic and achievable goals, then make sure you acknowledge how well you have done when you achieve them.’” — Nicky Treagus

8. “‘You need to put as much effort into yourself that you put into helping others, because you are worth it.’” — Katie Hirsch

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9. “My surgeon once told me, ‘It doesn’t hurt to try.’ I’ve used this advice a variety of times when trying something in my life that I’m not supposed to be able to do because of my disease.” — Patricia Chamberlain

10. “Keep a journal of everything that happens and report any changes.” — Lauren Komo

11. “Doctor told me when my body says ‘Sleep,’ do it. Don’t worry about keeping a routine. It’s let me be able to do more because I know when to stop.” — Sonya Vermillion

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12. “‘I know it’s hard. I know sometimes you feel like it isn’t worthwhile to keep trying. But you have done and are doing amazing things with your life… and that matters. You matter. Please keep fighting for you.’” — Selena Marie Wilson

13. “‘You’ve been through the ringer but you’ve made it this far. Now isn’t the time to give up. I think your break is just around the corner.’” — Diana Castaldini

14. “‘You are still the same person you were before, maybe just a little slower.’ From my rheumatologist. He was right — a week later I signed up for the 2001 Honolulu marathon. I walked it — and was the last person to finish in 10 hours and 56 minutes. I called Dr. Lawson from the finish line.” — Stephanie DeNicola Turner

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15. “‘Pace yourself. This one is tough, but you eventually learn your limits. The key is to rest when you need to and not push yourself too hard.’” — Hannah Mason

16. “‘Let go of people who only want to be part of your life when you’re healthy. You need people who support you in the best of times and the worst of times, not just when it’s time for them.’” — Felicia Renee

17. “‘Find a thing to do each day that brings you happiness, even if it’s a little thing like complimenting someone or watching your favorite TV show.’” — Becky Rider

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What’s a piece of non-medical advice your doctor gave that really helped you? Let us know in the comments.


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