Many people who suffer from chronic illness report feeling isolated and lonely. Luckily, they have you to be their support system! But, what to do when you don’t know how to offer proper encouragement and love? Here’s how you can help the best.
Ask how they feel
Chronic illness isn’t something that just goes away! Just because you asked about their illness two months ago, it doesn’t mean you can’t ask again. It’s very important to give your loved one a consistent safe space to talk about their pain, fears and predictions rather than asking about it just once. This will let them know you genuinely care. Even if them talking about chronic illness subjects might make you feel awkward, but if you constantly avoid the subject, you might give out the vibe of being disinterested. It’s better to show interest in their state than avoid the topic. However, when discussing the illness, don’t steer the conversation to your experiences. This might come out looking as if you’re more interested in talking than listening—it’s not you who are suffering! So, listen and share only if you feel like they want to hear your opinion and your experiences.
Stop giving advice
If your loved one suffers from a chronic illness, it’s only natural to want to help and find a solution for their pain. Maybe you know about this new medical procedure that you read about online or hear that they have to change this about their diet or add that into their lifestyle. You might be eager to share your knowledge on the subject and recommend things, but remember that you’re that person’s loved one and not their doctor. Leave the treatment talk for their sessions with a medical professional. There are huge chances they already discussed most treatment types and most medication and supplementation, so giving your opinion might sound conceited and inconsiderate even if you just really want to help. Instead, ask about their doctor’s appointment, discuss their experiences with medical staff, medication and pain. Your genuine support will be worth much more than your uneducated advice.
Offer your help
Asking for help is oftentimes uncomfortable and embarrassing. So if you want to spare your loved one some discomfort, be the first to ask whether there’s something you can do for them to make their life easier. Maybe you can bring a meal, babysit or help around the house. Maybe you discovered the best place to buy kratom supplements that might help with pain relief and mood. Oftentimes, just by feeling good mentally, people can forget about their illness and brighten up! Even if they don’t take you up on your offer, they will certainly appreciate the fact that you wanted to help.
Support their lifestyle
Some people with chronic illness can make their condition better if they change certain things in their life, so be there to offer support. If they need to make dietary changes, start exercising or ditch smoking, those can be hard to do alone. So, the best thing you can do is encourage their beneficial behaviors and support them in their healthy lifestyle. Make sure to offer your verbal praise when they stick to their new lifestyle and try to engage with them in beneficial activities.
Chronic pain and chronic illnesses are very capricious. One day the person might be feeling much better, while the other they can barely get up from their bed. So, expect that the person suffering from chronic illness will cancel some of your plans. But, don’t let that annoy you and try to be understanding. If you really want to meet, give them a few different options to choose from. Maybe pick a closer location, an activity that’s relaxing or just offer to come to their place for some chill movie-and-snacks time. This will really show that you’re thoughtful and considerate. Never say things like “But you said you’re feeling better” or “But you canceled the last time”. There are good days and there are bad days and your loved one is just trying to live through the bad and enjoy the good. We all just want a normal life!
If you follow these tips, your loved one suffering from chronic illness will definitely feel loved, supported and cared for. This is something they definitely need, not preaching and judgment, so refrain from it as much as you can!