Helpful Ways To Respond and Support A Loved One Who Is Living With Psoriasis
Last updated: October 2021
This article is not written for the chronically ill. This is for the parent whose child is dealing with a chronic illness, for you who has a newly diagnosed friend, and for the spouse with a partner who can’t get up in the morning due to so much pain.
It starts with a compassionate heart and an open mind
If you know someone who is chronically ill, then this article is for you. I ask that you continue reading with a compassionate heart and an open mind as I share with you a few responses that would best provide support for your loved ones who are dealing with a chronic condition.
When your loved one is newly diagnosed
People have the tendency to dismiss and become in denial towards another’s sickness, especially when it’s a loved one. When someone close to you has recently been diagnosed, most of the time, they don’t want to be questioned. The best way to respond to them is to provide support, ask them how you could be of help, ask them what they need from you.
Go through it with them, be there for them, sit through the pain with them. Knowing that you have to deal with an illness for your entire life is difficult, but having to deal with it alone is so much harder.
When your loved one is struggling to find a diagnosis
Everyone dealing with a chronic illness knows how long it takes before you get an accurate one. As for me, it took me a few years, a lot of clinic visits and doctor appointments before I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia.
So if you see a loved one who’s been struggling with different symptoms, jumping from one doctor to another, but their lab tests come back as normal, the last thing that they need is to be invalidated. Don’t tell them that it’s all in their heads. Don’t tell them that they’re just making up excuses.
The best way to be of help is to support them in their journey to finding a diagnosis because what they’re going through is already hard enough. They don’t need another person questioning what they feel. Believe me, they’ve questioned themselves a hundred times before they even complained about it.
When your loved one is flaring up
For most of us chronically ill, a flare-up day is not new to us. But for the people close to us, sometimes, it takes a while before they can get used to it. If someone is having a rough day, do not tell them that they are not trying hard enough. Do not tell them that they should just suck it up and go through the day.
The best way to respond in this case is to encourage them. Let them know that they are not defined by a bad day. Let them know that it’s okay if they have to miss out on a lunch date. Remind them that you understand if they can’t show up and that you're them for them, too.
The many different areas of support
There are many different ways to show up in our loved ones' lives and provide the support they need. Sometimes, it can start by simply asking them the question "What type of support do you need today?". It can allow them to take the space for themselves, check in with their physical and mental selves, reflect on the question and respond accurately.
I'll continue to explore this topic in my next article and further cover tips, responses, and insight on supporting a loved one with a chronic illness. The most important piece to remember? Their illness doesn't define them or your relationship, it doesn't have to take up so much room. Just knowing that they're supported in different ways can sometimes be enough!
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