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7 Things You Shouldn't Say To Someone With A Chronic Or Invisible Illness

Tuesday 23 October 2018

 

From Allure:

 

Woman watercolour
(Getty Images)
 

7 Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone With a Chronic or Invisible Illness

First of all, don't ever say the words, "You don't look sick."

By Caitlin Flynn
October 16, 2018
© 2018 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.

I was diagnosed with lupus in the winter of 2017 after nearly five years of visiting various doctors in an increasingly desperate attempt to figure out what was causing my symptoms. Lupus is an autoimmune illness that manifests itself differently in each patient — in my case, the most pronounced symptoms are extreme fatigue, body pain, headaches, and photosensitivity. During flare-ups, it’s common for my fever to spike to 103 or 104 degrees.

On average, it takes 4.6 years to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease like lupus. Part of the reason for this is that many chronic illnesses, including fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, and multiple sclerosis, have similar symptoms and therefore “mimic” one another.

The issue is often compounded by dismissive doctors — in my case, I was repeatedly told there was nothing physically wrong with me and that my exhaustion and body pain were simply side effects of anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

I have plenty of company when it comes to experiencing dismissive treatment from medical professionals — research shows that women, as well as nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, and transgender people, are more likely to face medical discrimination. It makes the diagnosis process nothing short of a nightmare.

Many friends and family are supportive, but we do hear our fair share of comments that can sting, as well — even if the intention is good. Though everyone is different and has different preferences when it comes to communication, many people with chronic illnesses have similar experiences, and it can be helpful to know why they may be hurtful. Ahead are seven things you should avoid saying to someone who has a chronic illness to help ease some of this unnecessary suffering.

 

Full article…

 


 

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