Things You Shouldn’t Say To Someone With Chronic Illness

I’ve been thinking about some things that I’d love to get off my chest. I know you’ve heard these, probably just as many times as I have, living with lupus and any other chronic illness. I know people mean well but telling a person “God won’t give you more then you can handle!” ”You’re so strong!” “I feel so bad for you!” They aren’t helpful, or kind, things to hear. Even though people think they are.

In fact, it is quite the opposite. It’s really frustrating. Because good heavens. If we weren’t given more than we can handle, most of us would look like the hulk. So we can physically handle all the physical things we’ve been given. As well as a GIANT brain to be able to handle any mental health issues we might have. But also having to take in and handle EVERYTHING that comes with chronic illness. Much less the multiple chronic illnesses most of us have.

Given more than we can handle

I know people are trying to be positive by saying these things. They are telling us that we are so strong and can’t believe how we handle everything. But you get to a point when you have received your 5th or 6th diagnosis you don’t want to play nice anymore.

You want to wave your white flag and say I’m done. I don’t want any more issues. I’m not having any fun anymore. We aren’t strong. We do feel bad for ourselves. We definitely have been given way more than we can handle.

What not to say

Even though you think you’re supporting us and being kind saying those things. But in all honestly, probably, just annoying us. We don’t need to hear for the 6748467th time that we won’t be given more than we can handle. Don’t always tell us we are so strong. We know we’re strong because we get out of bed every day. 

For heaven's sake don’t tell us how bad you feel for us. That sure as hell doesn’t make us feel any better about ourselves or our health. We know we look like the crypt keeper, and are walking like we are 98, at 32.

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Others ways to support us

So what should you do and/or say to someone with a chronic illness that’s positive? Ask how we are, and actually take the time to listen. Ask what we need, and actually follow through if we need something that you can fulfill. Call and see if it’s okay to come by. It’s never good to stop by unannounced. Ask us to go for a walk, or to meet at a restaurant with a patio. Because many of us aren’t comfortable eating inside.  During the cold and flu season when we stuck in the house, call and check on us. Make sure we are doing okay.

It’s nice to occasionally hear that we are a warrior, or a badass. It truly is a nice reminder of what we fight every single day. But it’s better when people offer to take something off our plate. Or when people just come by and chat, have a meal, watch a movie, or something. But the last thing we want to hear is how God will not give us more than we can handle.

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