These are so on point!!! I might not agree 100% with Don’t Number 4, but I gotta agree that hearing about someone’s sniffles does irritate me.

If you have a loved one with a chronic/invisible illness, read “Spoon Theory.” It explains so much, so well. I can’t recommend it strongly enough.

FOCUS: Feminist Observations Connecting Unified Spirits

When you love someone who’s chronically ill, it’s hard to see them in pain and you (naturally) want to help. But intent is not the same as impact. Sometimes your well-intentioned efforts to assist can result in our feeling frustrated that you just don’t “get it.”  Follow these Do’s and Don’ts to improve communication with the chronically ill person in your life.

Do’s:

1. Actively listen to us. Give us your full attention without rehearsing what you’re going to say. Let there be silences and pauses in between our sentences without making us feel rushed. Try not to insert a story about yourself or how our pain reminds you of someone else.  Listening is one of the greatest gifts you can give us.

2. Be empathetic. Empathy is not the same as Sympathy. Empathy involves perspective-taking, staying out of judgment, recognizing & communicating emotion, and “feeling with” the other person. Empathy fuels connection, but Sympathy…

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