6.You need to get out more.
I really don’t. My pain and anxiety won’t get better by just going out more, in fact it could make it worse. It won’t always take my mind off of things and if I push myself too hard I could really flare up my pain.
7. You are too young to be so sick.
I know, trust me I know. I was 18 when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia and migraines. This one is hard to hear because I know with each day I get older it will make things harder as my body ages.
8. It is all in your head./You are a hypochondriac.
It really isn’t and I really am not. This one hurts me the most. I never thought I had anything wrong with me, I was just in pain. Every time I have had a new symptom I have prayed I don’t have something else wrong with me. I have gone thought extensive testing with specialists and they can all tell you that these invisible illnesses are very real.
9. You can’t be in that much pain.
Oh but I am. I have 3 children, and the worst pain I have ever been in is labor. That was a 10 for sure. But daily I am never at a zero. A 2 or 3 on my best days, on the good days. On the really bad days I get up to a 7 or 8. It is very real not in my head pain.
10. Just push through it.
I do, often. But there are some days I just can’t. Some days the pain is too much. Life is too much. I have to take a step back and slow down. I have to stay home and lay low. I have to let my house be dirty and my kids get a little more screen time than I would like. When I worked outside the home, I had to call in sick because I couldn’t drive myself in, or stand long enough to shower.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all American adults live with at least one chronic illness. Everyone is different and every condition is different for each person. Those of us suffering know a lot of times the above are said in a hope to help, but it often just makes those of us suffering feel worse.
Try instead to say,
I know you are going through a lot and if you ever need anything I am here.
You are fighting a great battle and I am proud of your bravery and strength in your circumstances.
I understand that you can’t make, we can find another time to get together.
All we want is for our friends, family, co-workers, etc. to know what we are going through is very real and very hard. A little understanding and compassion (even if you can’t fathom what we are dealing with) goes a long way with those of us fighting invisible illnesses.