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15 Things Not to Say to Someone with RA

02 Jun

For many of us with different issues we know that there are just some things that we would rather not hear from someone. Not everyone comes with the full knowledge of whatever illness we are experiencing and though they intend well, they inevitably say the wrong thing. The following article was posted a few weeks back called, 15 Things Not to Say to Someone with RA. I think that these 15 things extend past arthritis and can be used in some circumstances such as Lupus or other major illnesses. I’d like to use the 15 topics from the original post and elaborate on them with my own thoughts and not in any particular order. These are just my responses to the statements. They might not be the same answers you would pick so please let me know in the comments what you would say!

1. Those drugs are too dangerous…

Really? I know that most of us have read our labels and have been told countless times how dangerous the drugs are. In some cases, the side affects are almost worse than the illness itself. So, I don’t need your uninformed opinion or your judgment. You can converse with me on what I take (if I have told you in the past), but please: do not make judgmental comments.

2. My grandmother has it…

This statement does not bring understanding in any way. Just because you know someone that has our illness does not make you more qualified to speak about it. She is qualified to speak about it but not you.

3. You need to exercise more…

Some don’t realize the pain or difficulties that we go through. Not everyone has the same illness or experiences it in the same way. Some of us can get to the gym and get in a quick workout, but some of us can’t. For example: some days my knees want to give out. For no reason they just don’t want to work. In this case, I just cannot work out and don’t need to be reminded of it. Also, every activity that I do means that they’re others I cannot. I live on a bank of energy that steadily goes down through the day. This means I have to carefully choose what I want to do vs what I need to do. Exercise might just be on the lists of want that day.

4. Aren’t you feeling better yet…

With a lifelong illness I may never feel better. I have good days and I have bad ones. You might think that this is like any other illness where you can get ‘better’ and with new technologies I still might one day. I don’t need to be reminded though that I am not feeling better on a constant basis.

5. Have you tried glucosamine?

You are not a doctor. Enough said.

6. Maybe you need an antidepressant.

Maybe I’m on one. Would you like someone suggesting that you need them? I know many of us are on something to help cope. Yes, the pain pills and steroid treatments help. However, we might need something to keep out of the realm of depression that might be induced by side effects. I guess that the best retort to this one is this: it’s none of your business.

7. But you look fine…

I’ve spent years trying to look normal and fit in. My illness is my business and all I want to do is feel normal. What I have affects me on the inside (mostly). Also, just because you can’t see my pain doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

8. You take too much medicine…

Do you think that I want to take this much? I just want to feel normal. I would love to go a day without pain. This medicine is what allows me to leave the house and listen to mundane questions such as these!

9. You need to change your diet…

This might actually be true. However, I revert back to the previous ‘it’s none of your business’ statement. I have a doctor. Heck, most of us have a few doctors. If I need to change my diet then I’ve probably been told so already.

10. It’s all in your head…

If you say this to me then I might punch you. If not resorting to physical violence then I might never talk to you again. I can assure you that I have been to enough doctors, and been through enough tests to know that it is in fact NOT in my head. Just because you don’t understand please don’t project your ignorance on me.

11. Losing weight might help…

See: Exercise…

12. You’re too young to have arthritis (or anything else typically relating to older folks)…

Yep, I know it. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.

13. Now’s the best time to have RA…

WTF? I mean really: WTF? Why is now the best time? I am still in pain. Maybe 20 years from now after technology progresses to the point where it can cure me is the best time. But definitely not now.

14. Let me know if I can do anything…

I don’t think that this is the worst statement on this list. However, there is probably nothing you can do and saying that reminds me of how helpless I feel sometimes. The best thing you can do is be there to listen.

15. I know someone with RA and they have it worse than you…

There are no words to express how much these words hurt. It’s not about who suffers the most. First, you don’t know how bad I have it. Second, comparing me to someone else does nothing to help either person. If you are going to make statements like this then I have no business in knowing you.

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One response to “15 Things Not to Say to Someone with RA

  1. Erinn Swan

    June 20, 2011 at 18:44

    I don’t have RA but I have FM which Fibromyalgia. It hurts a lot and I have chronic and like RA you can’t alway tell someone is in pain. I just have so much energy per day. I get asked the above questions and suggestions all the time. No one does understand if they don’t have it and even if they do they don’t necessarily have the same degree of pain. I would love to throw out my meds and go on an exercise marathon and diet. But frankly this isn’t realistic. I have stopped people form harping at me for being lazy or it must me nice to be able to stay home because I am disabled. No. it isn’t nice. I would rather have the jobs the bitch about and come home and not have to deal with pain. I would go back to school. I would do what I wanted. I would has children and married. My illnesses has taken so many thing from me. Why is it good to be sick in your twenties and for the rest of your life. How is it easier. I have lost all my friends cause they don’t understand why the pain, or tierdneess is not going away. It not going away because it doesn’t . It is not in my head, no one sane would make this up. I hate how isolated I am how much I struggle. How tierd I am and how my life is now. I have no family help and I would rather get support by people giving me love and standing by me. I hope for a cure for everyones’s pain. I hope for a time when other’s don’t have to question me or tell me I am lazy. I have felt like punching so many people but I don’t I try to give a calm response but sometimes they get a harsh one. The best thing I have ever read about chronic pain and only having so much energy. Is a writting called. I am a Spoonie. It is on a web site for Lupus and chronic pain. It a great article and it demonstrated in a manner how we can only do so much in a day. The site is youdon’tlooklikeyour in pain? Check it out. I am going to try it out on my family next month at a family reunion. It is visual and I am hopeing it makes them understand just a little. I printed out the article it was so good.

     

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