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What Your Friend with Chronic illness Wi ...

What Your Friend with Chronic illness Will NEVER TELL YOU!

Apr 10, 2022

Do you know anyone with a chronic health condition? Have you ever suggested that the person should try something other than what they are using to treat their condition? "You should try this holistic herb twice a day", "I don't think you need a psychiatrist, you should just talk to your family or close friends", or maybe "Have you tried eating a healthier diet". Well, we all want the best for our friends and loved ones. I will let you know a huge secret that they will never say to you.

"I feel like you offended me."

"I know you mean well but I did not ask for this unsolicited advice"

"Why do you believe I should listen to you more than my doctor?"

"How do you know the depth of what I struggle with, to feel comfortable enough to tell me what I am doing is not sufficient or wise?

These are the thoughts that most often come to my mind when people give me advice on my treatment plan, without my consent to hear another option. This may not be everyone's thoughts but I am pretty sure that most of us chronic health condition people feel this way. This is not to discourage you from suggesting anything to a friend or loved one. This is a post to say, be empathetic to how you approach the subject. There are better ways to give advice that will be well received. Try to truly think about how you would feel on this sensitive subject (this affects their quality of life, their perception of reality) and respond with suggestions accordingly. Here is a list of rewording and opposite approaches to giving your advice:

  • Instead of impulsively interjecting a treatment, try showing empathy by asking for consent. You may want to say, "You need to eat a more alkaline diet, like Dr. Sebi says, I lost so much weight and I feel much better". A more empathetic approach to that advice could be, " I understand your body is not like the average persons, are you open to some advice on a different diet routine".

  • Try asking before suggesting. "Do you feel like your healthcare plan is working for you?", "Have you ever tried any holistic treatments?", or "What have you tried for treatment since you've been diagnosed". These questions give more consideration to what the person has been through and opens the conversation up for possible suggestions. How can you authentically suggest a solution to someone's problems, if you haven't even heard what they have already tried.

  • Listen, look, and feel the emotion behind the person's words. If they are expressing themselves very emotionally, maybe they are simply trying to vent to you. Try asking them with a sincere expression, "Are you telling me this just to vent and release these feelings out of your system, or, Would you like to hear some advice from me?". This is easier said than done, I know. Yet, this is a very conscious way to approach friends and/or family when they're very emotional about the subject.

I would like to also mention, ABOVE ALL. the most insulting thing is to incessantly suggest something that they have already verbally told you on multiple occasions, "THAT DOES NOT WORK FOR ME". You may truly mean no harm but this will fuel the person you care for to no longer share anything personal with you. If they have a chronic health condition that means they won't even feel comfortable telling you about their day. If you notice the conversations going from detailed to one word answers, that usually a huge clue that you offended the person. The emotional stability of someone with a chronic health condition is crucial to their daily health.

In Truth, Yes, you may actually care about the person and have noble intentions when you give advice. However, at the end of the day it comes down to the fact that we all were born on this earth with the gift of choice. How I choose to live or heal, ultimately, affects my emotions, my health, my perception of reality, MY LIFE. The loss of close connections as a causality of these kind of conversations cannot be my main concern because to keep the connection at the expense of my mental health, devalues my own satisfaction with my time and energy spent on this earth. GIVE LOVE, EMPATHY, AND RESPECT WHOLE HEARTEDLY TO THE ONES YOU LOVE BECAUSE EVERY DAY IS A BATTLE FOR THEM; AS WE ALL KNOW TOMORROW ISN'T PROMISED.


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