Faith On Every Corner - March 2022

Page 60


By Paula Short

Do you have a chronic illness? Or do you know someone who does? I have several invisible chronic illnesses that play a significant part in my functioning of day-to-day living.

Sometimes friends or family may say things that are unhelpful or hurtful. Sometimes they are just trying to help without realizing that their comments or statements are unhelpful or hurtful.

A chronic illness is a condition that lasts for a long time, keeps coming back, or continues to happen. Often Continuing indefinitely; perpetual; and constant. Some have no cure. When you add in the invisible factor, it becomes frustrating both to our loved ones and us.

Unhelpful and hurtful comments and statements include:

An invisible illness doesn’t affect your outward appearance, but it affects how your body functions and feels. Some invisible chronic illnesses include but are not limited to trigeminal neuralgia, fibromyalgia, migraines, and anxiety. Also, depression, arthritis, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, scleroderma, Lupus, osteoarthritis. And the list goes on. What symptoms do you or a loved one have? Some may have mobility problems, fatigue, pain, digestive issues, incontinence, sleep disturbances, cognitive and mood issues. Also, brain fog, anxiety, depression, physical limitations. And this list goes on too.




• But you don’t look sick. - Not everyone looks like what’s happening to them. • Everyone gets tired. - Indeed they do, but there is a difference between healthy and unhealthy tired. • You’re just having a bad day. • You’ll feel better if you exercise or lose weight. Yes, we probably would. But it’s complicated with mobility and balance issues. • I know someone who has (insert illness here), and they’re doing great. • Have you tried? - Chances are, we’ve tried a lot of things. • It’s all in your head. - Yes, some things are like trigeminal neuralgia, migraines, etc. • You need to get out more. - Again, that’s easier said than done for people who have mobility, balance, or panic issues. • It could be worse. - Yes, it could. • I know how it feels. - Unless you know exactly how someone feels, don’t say it.