6 Tips for Talking to Family and Friends about Your Chronic Condition

by Sarah Joy
6 Tips for Talking to Family and Friends about Your Chronic Condition

If you have a chronic 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 really important to have support from family and friends, but it may also be hard to talk to friends and family about your condition. 

Broaching this conversation can be tough for a couple of reasons: other people may be uncomfortable talking about health and body functions. And oftentimes chronic conditions, such as autoimmune diseases are “invisible”. 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 like to help them understand the seriousness of it. 

It IS important to talk with the people you’re closest to about your condition but you don’t have to tell everyone. Be selective, choosing people you trust and those who you spend the most time with. It may be helpful to have a game plan for your conversations. The following tips can help you prepare:

  1. Choose the right time and setting. You are sharing something very important 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
  2. Name the condition. Talk about the diagnosis and how it has  impacted your life. 
  3. Outline the types of triggers that can cause a flare-up
  4. 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
  5. Tell the other person how they can help support you
  6. Pace yourself. You can have several small conversations rather than covering everything at once

Check out the Aila Health app more helpful tips and free tracking tools, as well as personalized coaching!

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