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Saturday, June 30, 2012

What NOT to say...

People who live with and suffer from chronic pain and chronic illnesses often hear different statements. Some are intended to be helpful and kind. Others are meant the opposite way, often it seems (to me anyway) that the people that makes such mean comments are almost trying to protect themselves from an illness or pain by distancing themselves from the sufferer they are speaking to.

Below are some videos about things NOT to say to someone who suffers from a chronic illness and/or chronic pain.

This first video is from a young woman in England. She suffers from a great deal of pain every day as a result of damage to her back. Through her YouTube videos I have gotten to know her a little bit and she is a truly warm and wonderful person. Sara, without even knowing it, helped me a great deal in the past 6 months. I have watched and re-watched her videos, especially the ones where she was still a student in college (University). She is a pharmacist, which is what I had been ready to start college for if my back hadn't blown out a month before school started. Her determination to make it through school and still do her best was very inspiring to me. Being someone who lives with extreme low back and pelvic pain I can totally relate to how much pain she was living with, struggling with, and barely making it through each day with. But SHE DID IT! She graduated! I am so very proud of her for doing that because I know how hard that had to be. Anyway here is a video she posted titled "Things to think twice about before saying out loud to someone with chronic illness" 

This second video is by a young lady who suffers from Interstitial Cystitis (IC). This is an extremely painful disease that affects a large number of people, though most (doctors included) have no clue it even exists, or they have very faulty information. Ir causes severe abdominal pain (much of which is centered around the bladder), severe pain with intercourse, frequent urination, and frequent strong urges to need to go to the bathroom. There are other symptoms as well, but the biggest one is PAIN. Lucky for Amy she had a stimulator placed which has helped her a great deal. She has been able to return to college and is hoping to become a Urologist. 

Please, when you are talking to someone who has a chronic illness and/or chronic pain, please think twice about what you will say. Take a moment to put yourself in their shoes and then say things that will be supportive and helpful rather than dismissive, hurtful, and judgemental. None of us ASKED to be sick or in pain, yet here we are and just doing the best we can day by day.