Hello friends! A few weeks ago, Sarah over at Inkblots of Hope, invited me to be apart of a collaborative article titled, ‘What Ten Christians Want You to Know About Their Chronic Illness‘. Well, today it was published! 

Go see it here!

Did you enjoy it? For my part in that article, the thing that I chose that I wanted people to know about my chronic illness was that even if they didn’t know how to help, I didn’t want them to go away, or leave me alone.

Well, my mom and I were talking about it, and I thought that there was something practical I could do to help people understand how to help. So often the reason that people seem to disappear in chronic illness when we need them most, is because they have no idea what to do, and they feel in the way. Or they are not comfortable trying to help when we are in such obvious misery, because they don’t know how.

practical ways to help someone with chronic illness

Therefore, my mom and I brainstormed a list of practical things that people can do to help, if they don’t know how (Some of these are things you can do for the whole family or the sick person, which are just as needed as for the sick people):

  1. Weed my yard.
  2. Ask if there is anything we need from the store. With exhaustion or multiple chemical sensitivity, it can not only be very hard to do, but also cause difficulties for days afterward for someone with chronic illness to go to the store.
  3. Send regular emails or texts encouraging and praying for me, even if I don’t respond. Brain fog and other mental symptoms, as well as lack of energy, can make it hard to keep up with texts, emails, etc., but knowing that someone is praying for us, there to help, and hasn’t forgotten about us whether we are sick person or family, is do huge.
  4. Chop my vegetables for the week. Especially if it is a sick person living alone, or a couple with small children. Vegetables are hard to chop if you have exhaustion and joint pain!
  5. Pay for a month’s worth of supplements. Especially because they aren’t often necessarily covered by insurance or anything.
  6. Offer to take the non-sick kids of the family to the park, or on a hike. Or, if it is the mom who is sick, and especially is she has little kids, come and help her take them to the park. Let her come and be a part of it, even if she doesn’t feel like she can do it on her own because she isn’t able to run over and help the small child climb on the monkey bars.
  7. Call the members of the family, and be willing either to listen, or to talk. Sometimes we want to talk about everything that is going on, and sometimes we are just tired of it, and want to talk to someone, but not about the chaos that’s going on, and we just want to hear about your lives.
  8. Buy us a fun movie, or kindle book. (Kindle because it won’t get contaminated by mold and the chemicals won’t bother me!) Sometimes, we just need to forget everything in a good story, or cuddle up as a family on the couch with a good or funny movie.
  9. Make yourself chemical free for an afternoon so you can hangout with me.
  10. Be creative with the things that I can eat and make me a treat.

Specific to help sick teens:

  1. Offer to help read through their school paper, for grammatical errors, or ‘brain fog errors’.
  2. Organize some way they can be social, too, even with their limitations. Maybe if they can’t go to a birthday party because of it, see if you can Skype them in virtually.
  3. Make an audio recording of reading a book they have to read for school. There are books that do not come in either audio or kindle, and for someone who deals with toxic mold or MCS, this poses a big problem.

MOST OF ALL, THOUGH:

Ask. 

Ask what you can do. Even this list may not necessarily be helpful to everyone, or there may be specifications to for each sick person. Simply ask. And even if they can’t think of anything that you can do right now, don’t leave. Don’t leave us alone. Don’t stop asking. even as it stretches into weeks, months, and years. Don’t forget!

That is the biggest thing that you can do to help. 🙂 Thank you for reading this article, that is the first step and sign that you really want to help! Even that means so much.

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