7 Ways to Show Compassion to Your Chronically Ill Friends

How many people have you met that are always sick? Friends who are just “too tired” to kick it with you? Someone who is at the doctor’s office several times a month, or the ER? And how many times have you rolled your eyes at them or about them, when they have frequent doctor visits? Well, listen, read this and share it, because I know many people need to be educated. Not on a book level either, but a reality level.

There are many chronic illness, auto immune diseases. To name a few would be lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and Crohn’s disease. I bet you know of at least one person who has one of these conditions.

To have a chronic illness is to often take away a real quality of life. For example, let’s talk about lupus. Lupus is like your body is allergic to itself. A bad germ comes in and your body attacks it, kills it and you feel better again, right? Well, with lupus, the body keeps attacking cells even after the bad ones are gone, so it’s killing off good cells too. This causes so many different problems. No two people have the exact same issues with lupus. It can attack anything, any organ. Sometimes you see people with a rash across their cheeks and nose, it’s called a butterfly rash. Now, only about 30 percent of patients with lupus actually get that rash. So, it’s not defining for everyone with lupus. Lupus causes great fatigue, severe joint and muscle pain, skin issues (too many to list) and organ failure.

When your friend or family member who has this says they don’t want to go out with you or do things you want to, show some compassion. Say OK, and ask them if there is anything you can do for them. Maybe they would like help making dinner, help them. It’s hard to do simple tasks that someone who isn’t chronically ill can do. Don’t get upset with them because they don’t feel well. All you are doing is adding to their stress level and causing the flare to take longer to get over.

Things you can do to help your friend or family member who has a chronic illness:

1.  Help them prepare meals for the week.

2. Ask if you can run any errands for them. (They are not always able to leave the house.)

3. Help them their clean house once a week.

4. Don’t offer advice on how to “cure” their incurable condition. I promise, it’s all been heard before. Just don’t.

5. Let them vent about their pain and frustration with their condition. Don’t offer advice, just listen. Really listen.

6. Do a little research on their condition so that you understand more about what they are going through.

7. Lastly, don’t say “but you don’t look sick.” Most people don’t “look” sick. Is there a standard to looking like you have a disease? The inside of the body is usually what’s being destroyed, and a person has to be extremely flared-up to look like society’s perception of what sick is suppose to look like. That’s why they are called “invisible illnesses.”

I hope you learned a little bit today, and thanks for reading the post. Please learn about auto immune diseases and spread the word.

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Thinkstock Image By: MrKornFlakes

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