The Do's And Don'ts Of Loving Someone With Crohn's Disease
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Health and Wellness

The Do's And Don'ts Of Loving Someone With Crohn's Disease

How to love and be there for someone with a chronic illness.

The Do's And Don'ts Of Loving Someone With Crohn's Disease
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Living with Crohn's disease changes you. It makes you grow up; it makes you strong. It makes you depressed, and it makes you hopeless. Few things can help you live a happy life with Crohn's disease, and one of those things is surrounding yourself with people who love you. If you know someone with Crohn's disease or another type of chronic illness, here are the do's and don'ts of loving them.

Do learn and question/Don't assume or interrogate

When I was first diagnosed with Crohn's, I missed a lot of school. Suddenly, I appeared to have dropped off the planet to a lot of my friends. The friends that are still by my side today were the ones who were reaching out to me, asking to help. They were also the ones who did their own research on Crohn's disease, attempting to know what I was going through. A lot of my other "friends" assumed different things; that I had cancer, that I lost a relative, that I was depressed. Don't gossip; it doesn't make anything easier.

Do understand I can't eat certain things/Don't try and tell me what I can or can't eat

I have had Crohn's for almost five years now. When people hear that it is an intestinal disease, they automatically assume they know what I should or shouldn't eat. Five years later, I am still trying to figure out my diet. Please don't question me when I try to eat my favorite meal, that you may think is too spicy. Please don't suggest crazy diets, because the honest truth is I have already done so much investigating into my diet. I am trying to figure out what works for me. I want to find something that works more than anyone.

Do offer general compliments/Don't compliment my "remarkable weight loss"

I'm not saying please compliment me until I feel better. I am, however, saying do not ever compliment me in any way related to my weight. When I suffer a Crohn's flare-up, I don't eat for weeks. I suffer drastic weight loss, so to hear that my sickness is making me look "hella hot" is not going to make me feel any better. This is the same way for weight gain.

Do ask how I am feeling/Don't ever say, "You don't look sick"

Every single day, especially during a flare-up, I have to battle to get up in the morning. I have to put on a fake smile, while on the inside I feel like I am constantly being stabbed. Six days of the week, I am probably feeling sick, whether that be from the stomachaches, the nausea, the fatigue, or one of the million other side effects of Crohn's. I have to fight with all of my energy and will to appear "normal", so please don't assume you know how I truly feel.

Do be sympathetic/Don't try to make it into a competition

I've had friends ask me how I am feeling, and when I respond that my Crohn's is acting up, they have actually said, "Ugh, my stomach is a little upset too." Please, just don't. I would trade my Crohn's for a simple upset stomach anyway.

Do acknowledge my concerns/Don't ignore them

If I am driving in the car with you and say I need to stop and go to the bathroom, please do not ask if I can wait. By this point, I have tried to wait and know that I cannot. Please don't make me feel any more like an awkward inconvenience; just listen and help.

Do be patient/Don't just walk away

Some days, I will feel great. I will be so happy that I don't have to be cuddled up in bed, holding my stomach. Or I will be ecstatic that I can actually leave the bathroom for more than an hour. I will be happy to be alive on those days. However, there will be days where I won't have the energy to move, and I will cry because of the pain. Reach out and offer your support, let me know that I am not alone. That is the best thing you can offer me, and trust me, it helps more than anything.

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