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How to Make a Sick Friend Who Just Declined an Invite Feel Included, Not Guilty

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Those of us living with chronic illnesses cannot keep apologizing for our illness any longer, nor should we continue to feel the nagging need to explain ourselves when we must decline an event. We already have this overwhelming guilt when we are in excruciating pain and unable to go here or go there, but this isn’t our fault, we did not ask for this way of life. Why should we not only be forced to experience the pain itself, but then put ourselves through mental anguish as well?

Our need to repeatedly apologize seems to come from the disappointment from being unable to attend these events we so desperately want to enjoy with you. When we are declining an invite, often this means we are unable to get out of bed, incapable of moving without feeling severe pain, or just unable to cope with the severity of the pain on that day.

I think our family and friends who truly care enough for our well-being first should be educated enough about our illness to know the unpredictability of it. Second, they should not expect or need an explanation when we must decline an invite. Third, they should know it hurts us because we want nothing more than to attend and enjoy the time with them as well.

Empathy of this unpredictability would be astounding, especially when we are already downhearted and feeling as though we are being left out due to this illness we face. Most days we feel as though we are on the inside looking out, watching life pass us by. Inclusion is something we fantasize about, being able to attend every event, every family function, every PTA meeting, every party, and so on. A simple, “I’m sorry you are unable to enjoy this time with us, but why don’t we get together on a day you are feeling up to it?” would make someone facing a chronic illness’ day. Just simply easing that mental agony we inflict upon ourselves would be an amazing gesture you could extend to your loved one with a chronic illness. 

If you’d like to extend your amazing gestures further to your friend or loved one, at the end of the day when your event has concluded, send a simple text message, email, or phone call letting your loved one know they were missed and you hope tomorrow brings about a better day for them. This would make your loved one’s day, guaranteed. Taking photos of the event and sharing them over a cup of coffee with your friend can also make them feel as though they are included when they are unable to make it to an event.

We want nothing more then to feel included in everyday life, socialize with our friends and loved ones. Sometimes, simple adjustments and grateful gestures are just the way to help the most!

Follow this journey at Lupus Mommy Life.

Originally published: July 14, 2016
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