There are days we all need support. I feel that sometimes you must be careful what you say to a person. I have heard this term a million times; “just tough it up,” or “hang in there, you will get better.” Or my favorite; “you don’t look that sick to me.” I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, but I also don’t want you to tell me you know how I feel. You would have to walk a mile in my shoes to get the full effect of what I go through each and every day of my life.
How to Support Someone Experiencing a Chronic Illness
I have had psoriasis for 56 years, psoriatic arthritis for 35 years and fibromyalgia for two years. I have been to more doctors in my life than most people will go to in five lifetimes. Having any illness is no fun for me, but it’s also not fun for my family either.
I don’t need you to try and understand my illness, but there are other ways you can help to ease my pain on those bad days.
Do These Things for People Who Are Suffering
- If you see that my vehicle needs cleaning; offer to help. There are days that I can’t use my hands because of pain.
- Offer to cook a meal or fix me a cup of tea. Even baked goods would be nice when I do feel like eating. There are days that I’m too fatigue to get out of bed.
- Offer to vacuum the floors. This means a lot. Any chore, big or small would help. Washing dishes or cutting the lawn.
- Just lending an ear helps, say a kind word or even allow me to cry out loud. Hold my hand when I feel like I can’t go on.
- I can’t always come to your events; just be patient with me and understand that I’m not sick on purpose. I do have my good and bad days. (Take a look at upcoming events in Washington, DC and throughout the psoriasis community.)
- Just express your love and come visit. Call ahead to make sure that person is up to it.
If you want more information about how to manage chronic pain, take a look at this great article I put together about pain management.
Are You Wondering If You Have Psoriatic Arthritis?
In case you are wondering what the signs and symptoms are, here is a quick video from Johns Hopkins Rheumatology. Johns Hopkins is known throughout the world for their medical training, and they’re located just outside of Washington, DC. In this video, the director of the Psoriatic Arthritis Program at Hopkins discusses how PsA develops and what is being done for patients with this disease.
If you’re interested, Johns Hopkins Rheumatology has more information about psoriasis and treatments on their website.
If Someone Is in Pain, Ask Them What They Need
One thing I have learned in life is to just do it. Don’t wait for me to ask me to do something, just go ahead and do it. If you don’t know what I need, it’s okay to asked me. I might just need you to tag along with me to a doctor’s appointment, or you might need that shoulder I need to lean on that day.
People who aren’t feeling well love care-packages especially if there are treats in them. So, don’t make assumptions that I can’t have bad goodies. As a psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and fibromyalgia patient for many years, I wanted to be left alone and felt isolated. I only wished that one person had stayed connected with me so that I could have enjoyed so much of my life. I am not saying to be pushy, just be available.
If you’re curious about what it’s been like for me to live with psoriasis, Health Central put together an interactive experience that you have got to see to believe.
Gathering Support Through Sharing Your Story With Others
It doesn’t matter what you decide to help with; I believe a person’s support means a lot to anyone. Stay in touch. Believe me when I say that depression and some illness go hand in hand. Pay attention; does that person seem sad all the time, or just doesn’t want to do anything?
There are plenty of times that our disease can cause us to have plenty of issues. We need that support from family and friends. Just be there for us. I tell my story to inspire; not for pity.