“Being Healthily Ill” Comments, Page 1

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6 Comments (3 Discussion Threads) on “Being Healthily Ill”

  1. Hi Evan — yes, that’s the same experience I’ve had with people with a debilitating condition — it’s surprisingly easy to talk to them if I can drop the labels I may be carrying around in my head about them and how I’m “supposed” to relate to them — just like a lot of other aspects of life, really.

  2. “Doing well where you are” – I like that.

    “Being with” & “being willing to listen” – I’ve also found these to be deeply significant, meaningful & practical ways of journeying with others in their pain & chronic illness.
    They have also been refreshing, nourishing, healing & even a life-line to me in mine.

    Interactions such as hearing “Oh, but you’re always ….”, in response to my reply to a “How are you?” diminish the importance of my current experience; of who I am in that moment. They close the door to further connection and healing engagement.

    Four weeks ago I visited the family of a friend who’d died unexpectedly (mid-40’s). I was wondering what I could take eg a meal, a cake; what I could say, what comfort I could offer. Personally I didn’t realistically have the energy or time to cook something for them, and I felt there was little to drawn on from my own depleted emotional/spiritual place. A wise, elderly friend I talked to shared that she’d learnt in such experiences to just go empty-handed.

    In caring for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or the loss of health, our own empty hands or emptiness mirror theirs. We enter humbly into their world. We are not trying to solve, avoid, rescue. All we can do is ‘be with’ and listen. And this gift can be salve enough.


    Two books recently recommended to me, each author drawing from their own chronic illness experience and their faith/spiritual tradition:

    “Being Well When We’re Ill” by Marva J Dawn (2008)
    – subtitle “Wholeness and Hope in Spite of Infirmity”
    – writes from within her Christian faith

    ‘How to Be Sick” by Toni Bernhard (2010)
    – subtitle ‘A Buddhist-inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers”

  3. Thanks for the article. It is so rare to read anything about reaching out to people in chronic pain. It makes people uncomfortable to think about it or read about it as if pain is catchy! Still we folks do like to have people in our lives to talk to and the interaction.

    I find that not talking about my pain helps me to have people in my life. Since you can’t see pain I have gotten good at not talking about it. No one wants to hear about it and it drives people away. The last thing I want to do is drive people away. I have a few people that spend time with me even if it’s just watching tv or grabbing something to eat. They know I don’t expect anything from them except friendship.
    They know we can’t be fixed and we don’t expect them to do that. Most of us with chronic pain spend too much time alone anyway. We don’t have the energy or health to be in relationships or have SO’s. I have a dog that is my SO! Thanks for the article!

    1. Hi Kelly, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you liked the article. I’m glad to hear that you do have people that spend time with you.

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