Wellbeing Wednesday: Chronic Illness

How to help deal with chronic illness

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Chronic illness can be a difficult thing to deal with, below we have two accounts of people dealing with chronic illness and how they made life a bit easier:


"During my 4 years of study at Heriot-Watt, I was diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses. A combination of depressive episodes, chronic pain, and IBS meant was often self-conscious of the way I smelled or the way I looked. Even with a bathroom 3 feet away from me in halls, sometimes showering felt like an impossible task. Wet-wipe baths and dry shampoo became my best friends.  

Something I found particularly unhelpful from my peers was the assumption that I was lazy or flaky. I would miss lectures, social events, and shifts at work either because I couldn’t cope with the joint pain, or I found the levels of anxiety I was experiencing to be overwhelming. 

What was helpful, though, was when my friends shared their own experiences with me. This made me feel much less alone and like I had a support network of people who really understood the daily struggles I was having."


Below are some things to keep in mind when trying to be a mindful friend:


  • Being slightly pushy with making plans or getting up for breakfast but also being understanding without pushing too much ? 

  • Being understanding when plans are cancelled or rearranged ? 

  • Just being there, not needing to have busy plans but just sitting and watching tv together? 

  • Others sharing their experience of similar scenarios, it makes you realise you're not alone ? 


  • Suggesting “easy” solutions (get a hot water bottle/go for a walk/take paracetamol)? 

  • Assuming tasks were as easy for me as it was for the other person ? 

  • Suggesting going to the GP or therapy, one method doesn’t work for everyone? 

  • “Just be happy”? 


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