I thought long and hard before writing this article. I hate confrontation or making others feel bad so I wrestled with the idea of posting an article about the many things people have said to me that I’m sure no one with a chronic illness wants to hear. I’ve seen articles like this on HerCampus or BBC Three, because of them I was inspired to write this post finally. If you’re unfamiliar with my story please see this video. Without further ado, four things not to say to someone with a chronic illness.
- Stop stressing so much. You’re making yourself sick: This statement has some truth to it, but it is the tone in which these words are spoken that really bunches my undies. Its like you’re tell me that for no other medical reason am I feeling down. Stress is not the cause of my chronic pain. People listen to me, I am stressed because I am in pain. It’s a cycle that I haven’t learned how to maneuver just yet. But, please don’t tell me my pain and discomfort is my fault. Which leads me to the next thing you should never say…
- It’s all in your head: This one has mainly come from the medical professionals I encountered early on in my illness. Because they couldn’t find out what was wrong with me they automatically labeled me crazy and sent me on my way. No Mr. White coat, It is not all in my head. Please doctors, if a patient enters your room, its because we need your help. Please don’t dismiss us. Please listen and try to help us.
- X has xyz disease and he is in college and holding down a steady job, all the while saving the world: Now, yes, that was an exaggeration but people I can’t tell you how many times well-meaning people have read something about someone with a disability and got it in their minds that I’m a failure because I haven’t accomplished the things this person has. As if hearing about this person will suddenly invigorate me and I’ll burst out of my wheelchair and conquer the world. I’m honestly happy for Mr. X but don’t invalidate my feelings and experiences because of Mr. X’s accomplishments with a disability.
- I know how you feel. I stumped my toe once and felt so much pain I thought I’d never walk again: This one really makes my eye twitch. Are you trying to equate your stumped toe pain to my everyday constant, never a dull moment, pain? Are you telling me that your stumped toe helps you feel my pain. Sorry to break this to you but no you don’t know how I feel. You may be able to sympathize but you can’t possibly know how I feel because you’re not dealing with my issue. So, for the love of Pete, stop saying this to people with Chronic illnesses. Better yet, don’t say this to anyone unless you have truly been where they are now.
I’m sorry everyone but this needed to be said. Just because you mean well doesn’t take away the sting your words cause someone with a chronic illness. Please remember to be kind and loving to everyone. This article was partial humor so please take it as such. If you liked this post sound off in the comments and I’ll make one on what not to say to someone with an invisible illness.
Enjoy your week everyone!