Through blogs and comments, patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

"But You Don't Look Sick" and Other Silly Remarks

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If you are mostly healthy most of the time, it can be tough to understand what it's like to live with a chronic or acute illness.

Asking questions such as, "Aren't you feeling better yet?" can be offensive and hurtful to someone who does deal with the daily impacts of disease.  In 20 Things Not to Say to a Rheumatoid Patient, Kelly Young lists some of the inappropriate and, in her opinion, sometimes humorous things said to people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). ' In a follow-up post, Kelly offers some polite replies to help others understand what people with RA experience.

When Allison Blass of Diabetes Mine was asked if her depression was caused by having diabetes, she replied, To be honest, it wasn't. Not everything in life revolves around diabetes. But I will say that having depression made it very difficult to manage my diabetes. Allison notes that it is important to seek help, adding, There are people who understand what you're going through, both people with diabetes, and trained therapists and psychiatrists who can teach you the coping tools' ' and if necessary, give you medication that you need.

Yes, it can be tiring to tell people one after another that you are okay, that you are feeling hopeful about the future, and that you are determined to live every day to its fullest, writes Andrew Schorr about his experience with inquiries from worried friends. But I know they are asking out of love. And, beyond that, it is a 'teachable moment''We can give other people hope just by showing up and, if you don't mind, answering their appropriate and sometimes inappropriate ' questions."

Despite occasional awkwardness, most people are well-meaning and want to say the right thing.'  In her post 6 Ways to Help Someone With Cancer (or anyone who's received a serious diagnosis), CFAH President Jessie Gruman offers her own words of wisdom, including simply listening.

Have you ever felt misunderstood with an illness, and how do you communicate in an appropriate way when someone you care about is ill?

More Blog Posts by Patient Perspectives

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Patient Perspectives round up recent posts from patient blogs and are part of the Center for Advancing Health’s portfolio of free, evidence-based coverage of what it takes to find good care and make the most of it.


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