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The Hardest Thing to Explain When Telling Someone You Have a Chronic Illness

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I’ve lived with a number conditions and co-morbidities for many years. I know them inside out and can recite facts, figures, symptoms and medicines at the drop of the hat.

I know my body better than most because I have to. But what happens when you need to communicate your ill health to a new set of colleagues, friends or a partner? It’s a minefield. Should you be 100 percent open, honest and blunt or do you drip feed information?

I find each person requires their own judgement call. Sit and ask yourself, ”Can this person handle the details of my constant fight with all encompassing pain or will this information upset, scare or gross this person out?”

The hardest thing to explain is that my body doesn’t react the same way that someone without my disorders does. It’s hard to explain why something trivial like a cold can seriously affect my health, when for most people it’s a mere inconvenience. I struggle to find the words that will explain why I need to sleep for 19 hours a day and then can flip to not sleeping at all. Trying to make people understand is a tiring, frustrating experience at the best of times.

People who have been in my life for many years have seen me go from a healthy, busy, life of the party type girl to the exhausted, medicated mess I can sometimes be. Even these people struggle to understand me, my illnesses and the effects they have on every single aspect of my life, so how on earth will someone new understand?

I have a whole slew of websites with information about my conditions that I share with those who want to know about my illnesses. Some of the things I go through  are too hard for me to explain – still, I try – and maybe one day soon I’ll succeed.

Thinkstock image via Medioimages/Photodisc. 

Originally published: February 19, 2017
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