help

5 “helpful” things that don’t really help people with chronic illness

1. Saying things like, “But you don’t look sick”!

It’s really nice of you to say that I look good, but I have an invisible illness. You can’t see my pain, but believe me it is there. On a regular day I’m in more pain than most people could ever imagine, but I’m very good at hiding it.  But if you look closely you will notice that I hold my body in a different way than most people. You may notice the lines of tension if I’m trying to keep the pain at bay. You may notice that I’m especially quiet.  You may notice that underneath my makeup I am pale and have huge circles under my eyes. You may notice that I’ve gained some weight lately, because I’ve been in too much pain to exercise and my body is too messed up to regulate correctly. You may notice that I seem spaced out, and that’s because I had to take pain medication that day.

The signs are there. Even if they are not visible immediately. The more you spend time with me, the more you will notice. My invisible illness will become more visible to you.

2. Offering suggestions on potential cures

There is not a magic cure out there for me, and you need to accept that. I have spent a lot of time and a lot of money investigating different products for things that might ease my pain or help fix my body. I have had very little success. The things is, if your potential cure actually worked I would know about it, and so would everyone else. Don’t you think if a shake could cure chronic illness that everyone would be downing those shakes like crazy? I know I would, but a shake isn’t going to cure me. Neither will essential oils or any other magic pills you want to sell me. Please just leave me alone, I don’t have the money support your home business with my pain.

3. Telling sick people how inspirational they are

I am not your inspiration. There is nothing about my disease that is awesome and inspiring. I am not special. I’m a normal person who was dealt a crappy hand and is just trying to find a way to live my life. I am not an object to be admired. I am not accomplished just because I’m alive, I’m accomplished because I am me.

4. Saying, “But if you have faith you can be healed.”

Bull shit. Faith is not a cure for chronic illness. Bad things happen to good people for no reason all the time. That is called life, and whether you have faith or not has little influence on the outcome. There are many good things that come from faith, but miraculous cures are rarely one of them.

5. God won’t give you more than you can handle

I hate this phrase. God will absolutely give you more than you can handle, he’s certainly given me more than I can handle. I’m basically a disaster. Additionally, this phrase is not in the Bible and it is  taken out of context. The actual scripture is:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me…for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11: 28-30)
The scripture is not saying that God won’t give us more than we can handle, but I’m not going to get into a theological argument about the scripture. I just want to say, STOP. Stop saying this, It is hurtful and damaging, and definitely not true.
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8 thoughts on “5 “helpful” things that don’t really help people with chronic illness

  1. I have Multiple Sclerosis. I have heard all of these!!! EVERYONE has an opinion or suggestion on what I should do because someone they know has MS and "that" works for them. Diet is the #1 subject I hear from people who have no idea what I do and nor do they ask, they think they have all the answers!!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I stopped communicating with mostly all previous “friends & family” and this is some of the reason. It honestly and very painfully feels as though no one really cares or truly understands at all. I sometimes have felt as though some people enjoy knowing that I am suffering.
    It is even more difficult when some individuals attempt to “out do” or “top” your pain like it is a competition.

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