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15 People Reveal the Most Shocking Thing Someone's Said About Their Chronic Illness

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There’s one thing many people with chronic illnesses have in common: they hear a lot of unnecessary comments. From friends, from family, from coworkers, from doctors, from complete strangers. Sometimes these statements come out of misunderstanding or naivety; other times… well, we don’t know.

To remind those with chronic illnesses that they aren’t alone in receiving such negative and uninformed comments — and to prove to the rest of the world how much we still need awareness and education around these conditions —  The Mighty asked people with chronic illnesses to reveal the most shocking thing someone has said to them about their condition.

Here’s what they told us:

1. “My friend said this to me the other day: ‘I don’t think you’re really that sick. I feel like you put yourself into the position that you make yourself sick.’” — Terrah S.


2. “When I was 12, the head of the hematology clinic, who I had never met before, was filling in for my hematologist. She proceeded to tell me there was nothing wrong with me and that it was all in my head. When I became upset about it, she told me, ‘If you ever want a job as a doctor, you’re going to need a thicker skin.’ She had read in my chart that I wanted to be a physician one day. It still shocks me five years later.” — Keira B.

3. “A doctor once wouldn’t treat me because I was ‘too young and too pretty to have real medical problems’ — ‘you should be out modeling instead of at the doctor’s.’” — Kelsey S.


4. “A friend told me apple cider vinegar would cure my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, dysautonomia and gastroparesis… but only if I used it in conjunction with ‘The Secret.’” — Kassady O.

5. “‘So what’s really going on with you, because being sick this often isn’t normal.’ — my former boss. You mean I’m sick more than normal?! News to me! Must be some ’emotional’ problem instead.” — Graciela H.


6. “‘Well, just think, someone out there has it a lot worse than you!’” — Amanda T.

7. “Someone told me they’d ‘never use a mobility aid. No matter what.’ As if my having to use one was a choice.” — Stefanie S.


8. “That I couldn’t be disabled because I had children. It broke my heart. I was on public transport at the time and sitting in a disabled seat. It infuriates me that some people feel they have the right to put me down and question me because my illness is invisible.” — Joanne S.

9. “‘If you were really sick you wouldn’t look like you’re fine.’ Oh I’m sorry, am I supposed to look like crap because I feel like crap?” — Felicia R.


10. “*eye roll* ‘Why are you always sick?’” — Allison B.

11. “My coworker once told me, ‘You’ve just got to believe you are healthy and you will feel much better and won’t have all of these problems.’ This was in response to me letting him know I would miss work for a very important doctor’s appointment. I have type 1 diabetes which has no cure, along with multiple other chronic illnesses that greatly impact my daily life.” — Ashlyn M.


12. “The most recent doctor appointment after he reviewed test results: ‘Oh, my goodness! You really do have a reason to be in so much pain! Wow!’” — Kaye P.


13. “While seeking a second opinion for brain surgery just last week, it was suggested that perhaps my symptoms were due to ‘my age and being hormonal and heading into menopause.’ Unbelievable.” — Adrian F.

14. “‘You have a drink from time to time, you go out, you laugh, you smile — it can’t be that bad.’” — Kerri B.


15. “‘Do you think I am your husband’s type? I mean, I know you have chronic health issues and should something happen to you, I have always wanted to date him.’” — Zach K.


And if you’re wondering what you should say, read a piece from Mighty contributor Elise Graham: To Friends and Family Who Aren’t Sure What to Say to Loved Ones With Chronic Illness

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Originally published: February 10, 2016
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