7 Mindsets To Have When Your Roommate Has An Autoimmune Disease
Start writing a post

I'm no stranger to watching those around me deal with intense bouts of illness. My current roommate has managed type-1 diabetes since the age of six, and works hard each day to keep herself alive. Considering we live in a space a tad larger than your average backyard shed, it's impossible to ignore her routine. Because someone with an autoimmune disease has different daily struggles than me, I thought I'd make a list of five things to keep in mind if you're in the same boat.

As hectic as life is right now, that person next to us has to take extra steps to feel normal.

1. Understand that their routine may impact yours.

person laying with book on their head man sitting on surface Photo by Tonny Tran on Unsplash

Depending on their condition, they may wake up several times throughout the night in need of medication, water, or anything else that will soothe their symptoms. In my case, my roommate's continuous glucose monitor beeps frequently, and that's okay. If you're a light sleeper and tend to get annoyed by nuances, you may want to rethink your living situation or gain a new perspective.

2. Be open to learning about their disease.

man in gray crew neck t-shirt sitting on brown wooden chair man in gray crew neck t-shirt sitting on brown wooden chair Photo by Lilibeth Bustos Linares on Unsplash

It's important to understand the nature of the disease your roommate, housemate, family member, and/or significant other is dealing with. Consider politely asking the following: how severe is their condition? What causes flare ups? How does the disease work? What do they do to manage the disease, and where are they at with managing the disease right now? If they were recently diagnosed, they may still be figuring out which treatments work best for them.

3. Don't compare your tiredness to theirs.

woman wearing white cardigan sitting on bed woman wearing white cardigan sitting on bed Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Sure, I've had my fair share of exhaustion in college. But when my roommate tells me her blood sugar is five times higher than it should be, her insulin isn't working, and she's nauseated---now wouldn't be the time to complain about how I feel. You should be able to still complain about life and address your own ailments, but make sure to read the room. Competing for who's most miserable isn't empathy.

4. Know when you need to step-in and help.

ambulance on road white and red car on road Photo by José de Azpiazu on Unsplash

People who have chronic illnesses often feel like they're a burden to others. In most cases, they should be fine managing their disease on their own, but there are things you could do to make it easier. If you recognize them having a hard time, ask what they need. That being said, people who have dealt with their condition for a long time learn to ignore their symptoms (or become burned out from taking care of themselves). They may insist they're fine---but if you suspect they're in genuine danger, call 9-1-1. It's better safe than sorry.

5. Learn their medical equipment.

needle inserted into arm person injecting someone on his arm Photo by Hyttalo Souza on Unsplash

If you can learn a new equation for your physics exam, you can learn how to use something your roommate uses everyday. Respect their boundaries---they may not always want your help, but be open to learning how to help them. Sometimes it's nice just to have emotional support when performing regular medical routine. Plus you never know, you may end up saving someone's life with your newly learned knowledge.

6. Be honest about how you feel about their condition.

women sitting on rock near body of water women sitting on rock near body of water Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

This does not mean disrespecting your roommate for their disease, but rather finding the courage to ask whatever questions you have. I've found that my roommate is happy to answer my curiosities, and in many ways, having my questions answered has quelled my fears about how to handle her medical flare-ups. It's okay if the thought of chronic illness makes you uncomfortable, just understand that when you live with someone with an autoimmune disease, you live with their autoimmune disease too. Establish your worries and let your roommate educate you on how to care for them.

7. Still see them as a whole person and not just someone with "x" disease.

two people smiling while laying on lawn field man and woman smiling while laying on lawn field Photo by Sam Manns on Unsplash

If you're living with them, you probably care for them a lot. Just remember there are many components to this person who shares your space other than their disease. Don't assume what they can and can not do. Invite them to anything you would if they didn't have an autoimmune disease.

Though there will inevitably be harder days when the disease displays itself as an additional roommate, remember all the reasons why you love this person. Yes, they may have medical equipment strewn about the room and accidentally wake you up in the night. But at the end of the day, that's still the same person you chose to live with for their kindness, humor, and shared interests.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

I Rated The 6 Best Seasonal Dates So You Don't Have To Go To Pinterest For Your Next Holidate

My boyfriend and I have the best holiday date list prepared so you don't have to search Pinterest for your next idea!

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

I would just like to note that I am a little biased because they were all great dates, and I know he's going to read this. So here's a quick, little reminder that I love my boyfriend very much!

Keep Reading... Show less

With a huge sigh of relief, we can safely say that Joe Biden has won the election.

Keep Reading... Show less
Instagram: @greysabc

At the end of their last episode, "Grey's Anatomy" teased the return of another character from Meredith's past. After the return of Patrick Dempsey's, Derek Shepherd, Grey's fans know that no one is off-limits.

The return of these characters comes after Meredith was diagnosed with COVID-19 and began experiencing hallucinations of her loved ones.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

I love listening to Christmas music just as much as the next person, but when I turn on my local holiday radio station each year, it just feels repetitive. No hate to musicians like Burl Ives or Nat King Cole, but Christmas music needs an update. Personally, I'm tired of the same "Let It Snow" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". So plug in your Christmas tree, make some hot cocoa, and listen to these amazing (and updated) holiday songs.

Keep Reading... Show less

With the holidays right around the corner, there are many things to look forward to. Time with family, friends, great food, overall seasonal joy... And now the fragrances from Jennifer Lopez.

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Christmas Songs For Your Festive Playlist

I have no shame in starting to feel festive super early.


All of these songs are definitely popular. However, I have the strong opinion that having the songs on your Christmas playlist be popular is extremely important. Having everyone sing to the songs is most of the fun; it adds to the festivity of whatever you're doing.

Personally, I love to bake cookies and hum along as I cannot sing and no one should ever hear me. Whatever you do for the holidays, enjoy your festive time and the season!

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Movies And TV Shows That Got Mental Illness Right​

There is a very fine line between representation for mentally ill people and demonizing them for the sake of entertainment. Hollywood has a tendency to sensationalize mental illness, but these shows and movies got it right.


At the risk of being dismissive of all the progress we've made, mental health representation is still seriously lacking. Many shows fall into the traps of making their mentally ill character violent, making professional help seem useless, or making characters who don't reflect the reality for people living with mental illness.

Keep Reading... Show less

10​​ Songs That Made It Onto My November Playlist

Another month of finding new music during unusual times


A new month means new music! Like each month, I've collected my top 10 new songs or discoveries into a playlist. This November didn't have too many new releases, however, I did find a few and a couple of new discoveries.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments