7 Things People With Invisible Diseases Wish You Knew
While it is obvious that a person with a broken foot cannot run, it is not always so easy to understand the limitations of a person suffering from an invisible disease or a chronic condition.
Although there is a fairly strong support network for patients with conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, which also cannot be recognized at a glance, people suffering from invisible diseases related to constant pain (such as fibromyalgia), chronic fatigue or psychological disorders (such as depression, attention deficit or some phobia), among others, do not always receive this same support.
When we live with a relative or a friend who suffers from an invisible illness, we are not always sure of the best way to act. So here are some things these people would like us to know before trying to help them:
1. It is important that you believe in them
Nobody doubts that a person has diabetes, right? Therefore, we should also not doubt patients with other invisible diseases, be it chronic pain, depression or other condition.
Keep in mind that the person has decided to open up because she feels confident in you, and it is not easy to talk about a disease with these characteristics. Therefore, we must do our best to show interest and understand what she is feeling, without doubting what she is reporting or judging her reactions. It may be a good idea to do a research on the disease to better understand what it causes.
2. They do not want to talk about it all the time
Yes, it is important to listen with patience and interest, but not always a person who suffers from an invisible illness wants to talk about it. Of course, we can ask how she’s feeling, but we should not do it all the time.
Another attitude that should be avoided is to be charged if the person took their medication, went to physical therapy or anything else she should do to keep her condition under control.
Insisting on talking about illness can make a person feel as if he or she is defined by their condition, not as a human being with dreams, goals, qualities, and defects like any other. As a rule, it’s best to let her bring the subject up.
3. It is not legal to compare people with invisible diseases
Maybe your cousin also has chronic shoulder pain or your co-worker is also dealing with depression, but making comparisons between your loved one and others is not pleasant at all.
When we say that “so-and-so also feels like that but achieves such a task,” we are assuming not only that we know how one feels more than himself, but we can also imply that he is not striving as he should, that someone else seems to be better than her.
In addition, people with the same condition do not always react in the same way to an approach: some may feel better with a hug, while others may prefer to talk or even spend time alone.
4. The disease does not manifest itself, in the same way, every day
Do not be surprised if yesterday the person looked great, did a thousand activities, worked, studied, walked … and today she is again downcast or in pain. This does not mean that she is lying about her condition, but rather that the symptoms of an invisible disease do not appear with the same intensity all the time.
When we question why the person is not acting in the same way as at another time when he looked better, this may sound like a doubt and create a need for explanation that often the patient cannot give us.
5. Not always you can offer real help
A person with an invisible disease must have passed through many doctors and exams, often invasive. So when we ask her if she has ever tried taking this medicine, making a homemade recipe or anything else, without having technical knowledge of the condition, she may well be irritated.
Of course, we can share news about a new treatment, for example, but we should not be charged if the person went after him. We should remember that, in general, patients with invisible diseases receive unsolicited advice all the time, and that bothers anyone.
To really help, we can ask if there is anything we can do. If so, we should simply do what we were told, without question.
6. People with invisible diseases are still people
Does your loved one suffering from an invisible disease do something wrong or hurt you? So you should not necessarily spare him these facts. Despite their condition, they continue to be human beings, with all their virtues and defects. Of course, we must consider whether the attitude may have been caused by the way the person felt at the time, so it is never too much to broach the subject delicately.
We must also keep in mind that one should not stop inviting a person with an illness invisible to social events or avoid resorting to it when we need help. Instead of making a decision ourselves, it will feel better if we let it decide for itself if it is well enough to do something.
7. It is much more than just an invisible disease
In general, we know that the person needs to make more effort to climb a ladder, feel unbearable pain even stop or any other consequence of the disease. However, we do not always realize that there is a universe behind it, to which we do not have access.
We do not know how pain really is, how much it costs the person and what it needs to do more compared to the rest of humanity to simply have the right to exist. Being part of all this invisible universe requires taking a stand of support and being careful not to exceed limits.
However, we are also human beings and we are prone to make mistakes, however, good our intentions. In that case, the best thing to do is to apologize and listen to what the person has to say. Do not martyrize yourself: remember that despite the invisible disease, she is a person like any other and is able to understand and forgive.