If you have a chronic illness or condition, you know how quickly a flare-up can seem to take control of everything in your life. You may be in extreme pain, unable to sleep, experience digestive issues, and feel incredibly tired. When you’re suffering, it’s essential to have support from family and friends, but talking about your chronic condition with friends and family may also be difficult.
Broaching this conversation can be challenging for several reasons: other people may be uncomfortable talking about health and body functions. Additionally, chronic conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, are “invisible illnesses.” You might worry that people won’t believe you or think it’s all in your head. Sometimes it can be helpful to give them a picture of what you are feeling to help them understand the seriousness of it.
Talking about your chronic condition with the people you’re closest to is essential, but you don’t have to tell everyone. Be selective, choosing people you trust and those you spend the most time with. It may be helpful to have a game plan for your conversations.
Tips that can help you prepare
- Choose the right time and setting. You are sharing something significant, and you deserve to have the other person’s undivided attention. You might consider a private room to convey the importance and intimate nature of the conversation
- Name the condition. Talk about the diagnosis and how it has impacted your life.
- Outline the types of triggers that can cause a flare-up
- Describe what you feel during a flare-up. Show them a graph of your symptom tracking. Or use spoons to express everything that you’re juggling
- Tell the other person how they can help support you
- Pace yourself. You can have several small conversations rather than covering everything at once
Check out the Aila Health app for more helpful tips, free tracking tools, and personalized coaching!
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