Every so often someone close to me asks, “How can I be supportive?”.
It’s always music to my ears and a chance to tell them the truth behind managing a chronic illness that affects everything in life.
So, here we go, straight from my autoimmune life to you.
Please keep me on the guest list.
Even if you know an activity is happening past my usual bedtime or may be beyond my physical abilities, I still like to be looped in. I like knowing what’s going on and being part of the activity in a small way, rather than being completely excluded. Let me be the one to decline. Or, I may be able to modify the event to fit my wellness that day. For example, in a two-part evening, I may be able to attend dinner, but not the later party, concert or event.
Please ask me questions.
I’d rather you ask me something that seems silly, weird or TMI than make a wrong assumption or snap judgment. As a health and wellness writer, I’m pretty much an open book. I’ve been blogging about this for years. Nothing is too odd for me at this point. Readers message me with their personal health issues and ask for advice all the time. You can too.
Disclosure: This blog is reader-supported, which means this post contains affiliate links and advertisements. I earn a small commission if you shop through them, which helps fund this website so I can continue to bring you amazing content. Thank you! ~Angela
Please don’t tell me to go to the doctor.
Autoimmune disease is forever. There’s no cure. However, I’m a master at disease management and know what I need to do to feel my best each day. Remission is possible, but as soon as you go back to your “old ways”, the illness symptoms return. Trust me, I’ve met with multiple specialists over the years and gathered a million ways to put a bandage on autoimmune symptoms and flares. I know my body best and will continue to advocate for myself. And no, a pill from my doctor won’t make autoimmunity go away.
Please don’t ask if my gluten-free diet has been helpful for weight loss.
I have Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that can only be successfully managed by adhering to a strict no gluten diet. If I had a dollar for every time I mention “gluten free” at a public meal and someone asks me about weight loss, I’d be rich! I eat gluten-free to manage celiac disease, not my weight.
Please ask about my skin rashes.
Yes, they are ugly. Yes, they get better sometimes. And no, they are not contagious. I have three forms of eczema that I am managing through nutrition, lifestyle choices and prescription skin creams from a dermatologist. I’ve been gently asked to leave a public swimming pool because they assumed I had a contagious skin condition. I don’t. (And no, I won’t enter a pool with open skin sores. That’s not good for anyone! Yuck!)
Please ask why I’m limping, slurring my words or dropping things.
When rheumatoid arthritis flares, inflammation rages in my body. It can affect my walking, cognition, energy levels and dexterity. I’m so used to it, that I sometimes forget when someone sees me in a flare, they might not realize this is what it can look like. This is normal for me. It’s fine to ask if I’m having trouble and want to sit down or if I need help. I welcome support and assistance.
Are there any other topics or questions you wish you understood about living with autoimmune disease? Feel free to comment here or message me on social media. I may edit this blog post or write a whole new one. I blog to educate others and process my health journey. Help me write about the topics that matter!
Until next time,
PS: Visit me on Facebook at Cupcakes and Yoga Pants!
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