People with invisible conditions are often told things that are meant well but are actually a bit annoying. I don't mean this to sound ungrateful as I know people don't mean to offend and do wish others well but sometimes it wouldn't do any harm to think before they speak. So here is our top 5 list of phrases that we think people should think about before saying.
1. "But you don't look sick"
Too many of us hear this phrase too often, it's common to hear this from people when your disability is invisible. Just because visibly some people appear physically 'fine', whatever fine is, doesn't mean that they aren't disabled. Many people that suffer with invisible conditions have symptoms such as fatigue and chronic pain which is often overlooked by others simply because they can't see it.
2. "I found a cure online..."
There is always that one friend or relative that, whilst is very thoughtful and means well, often smothers you and is quite overwhelming. Whilst we appreciate that people take an interest and try to help out, far too often we hear of online rumours of cures and treatments. Although every now and again it may be an interesting read when you are bombarded with what is often false hope it can get a bit much.
3. "But you were fine yesterday"
People often say this as they don't understand that your abilities and symptoms may fluctuate day to day. Whilst yesterday you may have been a bit better (not necessarily 'fine') today might be one of your really bad days and so you have to cancel your plans. Unfortunately, some friends find this difficult to understand, especially when a bad day coincides with your coffee shop catch up.
4. "I feel so sorry for you"
Please don't. The last thing that people coping with illnesses or disabilities want is anyone's pity. All they want is to be treated 'normally'. I understand that is sometimes difficult to know what to say to someone when they're having a bad time, but instead of offering pity just talk to them normally and they'll open up to you if they want.
5. "I'm sure you'll be fine"
Again. This seems to be a reoccurring theme but what actually is 'fine'? Likewise, we also hope to feel a bit better tomorrow or in the upcoming days and we appreciate that you wish us well but I think being simply 'fine' is a bit too wishful, but one can hope.