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6 Things I Wish My Healthy Friends Understood About My Illness

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Chronic illness, it’s a thief. A robber in the night, prancing up to you at your weakest moment. Five years ago, a chronic illness stole my former lifestyle. It robbed me of the hobbies that I enjoyed.

During those early years of doctor visits, being poked and probed, I learned who were willing to stick through the fire with me. I am thankful beyond measure for all those people who rallied beside me in my fight. Nonetheless, there are a few things that those who care should know about people who struggle with a chronic illness.

1. If I am walking, that doesn’t mean that I am feeling better. Most days I choose to use my chair, because of the ability that it provides. My wheelchair allows me to move from location to location without having as much pain. Yet some days I want to walk, to still be able to be “normal” to some extent. However, that doesn’t mean that I am healed or that I am pain free.

2. When you talk to me, please, if at all possible, get on my eye level.

3. Please don’t stop inviting me to things just because you think that I can’t do it. There are many things that I can still do. Even if I can’t, the thought shows me that you still care.

4. I am still the same person. I haven’t changed; I still like to choreograph dances. I enjoy going on hikes. I relish spending time with you.

5. Please don’t feel that I have enough of a burden that you shouldn’t share your heart with me. I want to be an encouragement to you. So, if you are having a bad day, don’t hasten to tell me just because of my illness.

6. I am not going to “get over” my illness. Yes, the pain and grief will lessen with time. However, it is healthy and good for me to grieve, to be angry, to deny all that is happening. It is a process and just because I have had it for 5 years, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt to think about my old life. Allow me to grieve and have down days.

And to those who have taken the time to care: Thank you for your love, care and support.

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Thinkstock Image By: Oinegue

Originally published: May 15, 2017
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