Some Good Advice: Do’s and Don’ts for When Your Friend is Chronically Ill and/or Disabled

Some Good Advice About Do’s and Don’ts When Your Friend is Chronically Ill and/or Disabled

From Petticoat Ruler:
don’t
  • expect them to be able to go out on a whim
  • expect them to have lives just like yours
  • expect them to always be available
  • demand details of their illness that they haven’t volunteered, ask them nicely and don’t badger
  • offer help or assistance to make yourself feel like a better person
  • act as though the disease is catching, repugnant, or disgusting
  • challenge them to do things they have already told you were impossible
  • baby them or treat them as though they’re less competent mentally
  • tell other people about their illness(es)
  • suggest cures/treatments/holistic practices (since, you know, they probably have already tried it)
  • Try to relate their problem to your experience – your sprained ankle is nothing like chronic pain, your bout with stomach flu is nothing like IBS, your inability to focus before coffee is nothing like the mental fog that comes with illnesses like fibromyalgia or MS
  • ever, ever, ever accuse them of faking. ever.

do

  • understand that some chronic illnesses have good days and bad days, and that there’s no way to predict what’ll happen
  • be supportive and understand their limitations
  • ask about dietary or physical restrictions if you are making plans with them
  • ask about anything that might make things worse for them, and take it into account
  • tell them that if they need to tell you they can’t do something that you won’t be angry at them for not being able to, and don’t be passive-aggressive about it
  • remember that they are a person, not an illness
  • listen to them, ask them questions if you don’t understand something, and remember what they say

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but this seems like a decent start. Please add your own.

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