Supporting your loved one

Having a chronic illness affects many aspects of your life but I think one of the key players is relationships.I have found that it is really easy to lose touch with friends because of a variety of reasons. I used to be the text book definition of Type A, super outgoing, friends with everyone, goofy, always had more plans than time, the life of the party type. Now I am physically just not capable of living that lifestyle and it is hard to connect with certain friends because we no longer have much in common. For others , I think its easier to distance themselves than see me the way that I now am. It's easier to not see "sick" Brittany and remember "fun" Brittany. Although a lot of people with chronic illness say that having friends that don't understand leads to lost friendships I honestly think that most people don't mean any harm by it , they just don't how to respond to their friend or family member getting sick. 

Here are a few things that you can do as a family member or friend to support your loved one:
  • Participate in activities that they can be part of. Hang out at the house , watch movies, paint your nails, low key activities that won't cause any extra stress.
  • Little pick me ups - I was having a terrible flare up last week and was unable to leave bed for two days. My mom came into my room with a bouquet of gorgeous hydrangeas that matched my room perfectly. When I asked her what they were for she said " because you are having a crappy day and I thought they would cheer you up." Exactly what I needed! The flowers couldn't take away my sick day but they turned my entire mood around.
  • Take the time to learn about their illness .understanding is a huge part of being able to continue a relationship with that person. It shows them that you care enough about them to put in a little work so that you two can connect.
  • Offer rides . Many people with chronic illnesses are unable to drive but are still able to go on outings if they have a way there.
  • Offer to help cook or clean . These activities are difficult for most people with chronic illnesses.
  • Invite them places. If they aren't feeling strong enough that day they will let you know but it is nice to be included. My best friend makes a huge effort in this department. She is constantly asking if I want to come hang out at the house with her and my nieces or if I want to do a target run with her even if that means she has to push a stroller and a wheelchair simultaneously.On the contrary don't send them invites to places that you KNOW they can't go. For example please don't  invite me to go skydiving... I will not feel included I will feel sad lol ( sometimes a little common sense is all it takes ) 
  • Just be you. Tonight I was talking to a friend on the phone . She asked how I was feeling and I told her today wasn't the best day. She gave me support and love and we moved on to the next topic.Knowing that you have support does wonders for the soul but it is also important to just be you. Talk to your friend just like you would before they got sick. Life may have thrown them an obstacle, things may have changed but they are still the same person you have always loved.
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  1. Everyone needs to feel included! And everyone needs to know they are cared about. Loved this!


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