Did you know that 96% of illness is invisible, such as depression or other emotional illnesses, celiac, crohns, chronic migraine, fibromyalgia, etc?
14 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend
- Tell her that you believe her, especially if her illness is an “invisible one.” People who live with chronic illnesses are often met with doubt. Having someone believe them is validating and comforting. *
- Ask if you can come over and hang out. Sometimes just the thought of leaving the house can be overwhelming You offering to come over is a huge gesture. It shows that you want to spend time with them, even if they aren’t up for leaving the house or doing something that takes energy.*
- Accept that the illness may not go away. If he’s learning to accept it, don’t say, “You’re giving up.”
- Purchase matching coffee mugs for you and your friend and them commit to praying for one another every time you use them or wash them.
- Remember the family of your chronically ill friend. Offer to take the kids to a park or bring a pizza and movie over one evening.
- Be a refuge. Don’t share all the latest cures or new medications you’ve heard. Have faith that she is making well-researched decisions about her treatment.
- Ask, “Would you be comfortable having your name on a prayer list?” Don’t assume it’s okay.
- Understand that Christians and everyone do get depressed.
- Affirm that she is coping well, even when she doesn’t feel like it. Tell her she inspires you.
- Let them know it is ok if they have to cancel plans at the last minute. The chronically ill feel terrible for canceling plans and sometimes wait to the last moment hoping to feel better. Letting them know you don’t hold it against them will help alleviate that guilt. And it will make them more likely to make plans with you in the future, because they won’t be afraid of losing you as a friend if they cancel on you often.*
- Instead of saying, “Let me know if you need anything.” Offer specific ways to help. Like, “I’d like to bring you dinner next week, would Monday or Tuesday work better? Do you have any special dietary needs?”
- Let him know he is in your thoughts. Call to say hello, send a short note, email him a comic or a devotional. Little things mean a lot.
- Bring her something that will make her laugh, such as a CD from her teen days, colorful paper plates and utensils, etc.
- Bring him to a HopeKeepers meeting.