Drawing Seven Things Not To Say To The Chronically Ill

People with chronic illnesses get a lot of weird comments and strange advice.

Here’s my Top 7 list of what not to say, along with some advice on what would really be helpful.

My blog, The Sick Days, started as an assignment for my Digital Strategy course at the University of Toronto, where I’m earning my certificate in Strategic Public Relations.  In addition to the blog, we had to make a short video. Check out mine:

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33 thoughts on “Drawing Seven Things Not To Say To The Chronically Ill

      1. Shelley Page Post author

        Hey Jules, I didn’t realize you were commenting on my little video — i thought it was my post today. So glad you saw it…I think it’s help and a but humourous, so should go down well with friends and family.

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  1. unitedpoliticians

    I was moved. Thank you very much for sharing with me. My uncle has kidney failure and I remember asking his wife if he is eating right. Even though I generally count myself as a thoughtful person, I now realize that statement was insulting considering she is the one who takes care of him, Your video was an eye opener.

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    1. Kelly

      Absolutely excellent! And before I had health problems, I am sure I committed one or two of these sins, for which I am now truly squirming. On the other hand, I know exactly what it feels like to be told, “I wish I could stay in bed all day,” after 6 months of strict bedrest — twice — for troubled pregnancies. Even prisoners get an hour a day of fresh air! The mental endurance it takes to get through the solitude and fear of such situations is beyond the imagination of anyone who has not had to go through it themselves. Thanks, Shelley, for the list. I hope lots of people share it.

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      1. Shelley Page Post author

        kelly, thanks so much for writing…humans are often strangely bad at putting themselves in others’ shoes. sometimes it takes being bedridden to know how challenging such things are. best

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  2. redosue

    I’m thinking to myself, “Gee, I hope I’ve never said any of this to you, or anyone else I know who has an invisible chronic illness.” The other thing I’m thinking is, “I didn’t know Shelley was such a good artist!” (The cleanse drawing comes to mind.) Anyway, as always, you tell a compelling story.

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  3. tlohuis

    This is excellent!!!!!! People say those things to me ALL the time. I am living the American Dream, don’t ya know? LOL I just love the fact that I lost my job, became disabled, and people forgot that I exist and blah, blah, blah!!!! Oh, let’s not forget about all the pain and lack of sleep and so on. It’s great, isn’t it?! NOT!!!! Thanks so much for making this video and sharing. I hope you’re having a “better” day. xxx 🙂

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      1. tlohuis

        Right? The one that gets me the most is when I’m told, “you’re so lucky, you don’t have to get up early every morning and go to work.” I say, “I’ll more than gladly trade you any day, any time. I would love to HAVE to get up early every morning and go to work, you moron. You also get all my diseases. It’s a package deal, The American Dream.” LOL 🙂 Seriously, how can someone know you are so damn sick and make such stupid comments? Sigh…………..

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      2. tlohuis

        Thank you so much for your kind words. Education and inspiration are 2 of my goals with this blog. It, also, gives me a place to vent, where I can get some support and encouragement when needed. Just sharing my journey, the good, the bad, and the ugly! I want people to understand that one day, I may appear “fine,” and the next several days, maybe not so much!!!! Thank you for voicing your opinion about my blog. If people don’t ever tell me what they think, then I have no idea if I should do something different, so I really want to thank you for that. From what I’ve had a chance to see of your blog, it’s very educational and inspiring, as well. I’m looking forward to following your blog. I’m going to read more of it today. Hope you’re having a “good” day. xxx 🙂

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    1. Shelley Page Post author

      Ha! And for a left-hander, on a whiteboard!! I used to paint, and draw like a fiend when I was younger, so it’s motor memory. Thanks for noticing! and viewing.

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  4. Shelley Page Post author

    hey Redosue….we all say those comments all the time, including me. I just got a ‘my friend died of that comment’ today. So wierd. It’s just a guide! as for the drawing….I was known to paint a painting or two in my day….thanks for noticing the swoop of my marker on the whiteboard.

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  5. merie

    Hi: well this is so well done! I recently received a diagnosis for a chronic illness and I’ve been collecting internet links to help me communicate with friends – tell them about my diagnosis without freaking them out and attempting to reply nicely to those uncomfortable comments and offers of advice. I’ll definitely be adding this link to my collection.

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  6. Kate

    Thank you. I really enjoyed that. My husband pointed me here. I have been diagnosed with a chronic illness for nearly 30 years, and I have heard all of those things and a few more. He has heard most of them too.
    I was not put on the earth to be a example to others on how to suffer graciously! I am not brave. This is just my life, and I am living it the best I can. And, yes, I am sure I should be eating that.

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    1. Shelley Page Post author

      Me, too, for exactly 30 years this May. Doing the best I can, too. Then I was taking a course at U of T in Digital Strategy and there was a requirement to do a blog on something I knew pretty well. And so it’s started. Thanks for watching!

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  7. Pingback: Drawing Seven Things Not To Say To The Chronically Ill | the sick days | MS Tales

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