Hearing 'If You Need Anything, I'm Here' as Someone With Chronic Illness


When living with any illness, it’s common to hear friends and others close to you say, “If you need anything, I’m here.” But are they really there when I need them most? I see on social media they are always setting time out of their schedules to attend a wedding, a bachelorette party, a barbecue, a baby shower or any celebration. Yet, they don’t take time to visit me when I am sick. Not sick in the hospital, but when I’m at home, laying on the couch in too much pain to move and with barely any energy to do things for myself. Maybe they don’t consider this “sick” because I don’t have the flu, the stomach virus, or anything they commonly think of when someone says “I’m home sick.” When I go into the hospital, that seems to spark interest. But my condition isn’t one where I am constantly hospitalized. Just because I am not in the hospital frequently does not mean that I am not suffering.

It’s surprising to me how many people have said the words, “I’m always here if you need anything,” to me, but very few follow through. I see them make arrangements in their schedules to be at exciting life events for others who are healthy, living their lives, and able to eat and function without pain, yet they never seem to find time to do something as simple as stopping by my house to visit me or picking up the phone and calling me to talk.

I would love to be going out to barbecues, weddings, and family celebrations, but my reality is I am not in the condition to be able to. The times when I am stuck at home because I am in too much pain to leave the house or too weak to drive are the times I need someone the most, to help lift my spirits, help distract me from the pain. Maybe you could just engage in a conversation with me about anything other than my condition and how sick I am.

I found that even when I don’t have the energy to leave the house, having a conversation on the phone would at the very least take my mind off the pain, and sometimes it would lift my spirits. We could talk about something that makes me laugh. It great to share a laugh every now and then. I can promise you, when I am lying on the couch, alone in pain, I certainly am not laughing at anything.

So before you say the words, “If you need anything, I’m always here,” to someone living with chronic illness, remember what those words actually mean.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by g-stockstudio


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Chronic Illness

Three young girls walking together, sketched.

Why Amazing Friends Are a Gift to Those of Us With Chronic Illnesses

It’s easy to remember the friends who didn’t last through the trials of chronic illness, and the hardships it brings. It’s easy to remember because I always feel responsible for the loss, to a large extent. It hurts. I’m not the fun friend, always up to do anything. I’m not the friend who can always be [...]
Two woman talking over coffee.

How My Mom Makes a Difference With My Chronic Illness

Five reasons I’m extra thankful for my mom on Mother’s Day: 1. She helps with every day tasks. When the spoons have run out, I can always count on Mom for help. Too tired to cook? My mom will whip up my favorite meal. Can’t make it to the dry cleaner? My mom will grab it on [...]

18 Real, Sometimes Messy, Often Beautiful Photos of Moms Fighting Chronic Illness

The “throwback” photos you’ll typically see posted on Mother’s Day are moms and their families celebrating birthdays, relaxing on vacation, and gathering in the kitchen for holidays. But for people with chronic illnesses, there’s another side of motherhood that is often hidden — the days spent in the hospital, weekends entertaining themselves on the couch, and [...]
woman raising arms in field

What People Don't Get When They Say I Should 'Just Accept' My Illness

One of the easiest ways to make me angry these days seems to be telling me that I just need to accept my lot in life, illnesses and all. It makes me so mad when people say stuff about acceptance! And the thing is, I know they’re probably right. But it’s always “just” accept it. [...]