I’m sick. I’ll always be sick. When I’m having a bad day, or when someone first learns of my health issues, they almost always ask: “what can I do to help?” Often, in the moment, there aren’t many immediate things people can do to relieve my pain or frustration… but there are often things that can be done that can keep me from getting to that point as often or as quickly. Here are some ideas of ways you can help your mentally or chronically ill friend:
- Quality Time. Your friend probably spends a lot of time alone at home. There are only so many movies on Netflix. Visiting your friend at home can give them a break from the marathon hours of loneliness. As long as you promise not to judge them for their appearance or the appearance of their home.
- Housework. If your friend suffers from any sort of fatigue or chronic pain, housework can be a near-impossible task at times. Offer to do a load of laundry or wash the dishes. Ask if they need a room vacuumed. Bring a homecooked meal (check if they have dietary restrictions first). Walk the dog. It might seem like a trivial thing, but any of these tasks can use up all the energy we have and leave us stuck in bed for a day trying to recover.
- Words of affirmation. Being permanently sick can wear on your friend’s self-esteem and become a frustrating, hopeless experience. Send your friend a quick text or give them a call letting them know you’re supporting them. We need the reminders from time to time 🙂
- Errands. Offer to go grocery shopping with us! Or better yet, ask us if you can pick anything up while you’re grocery shopping for yourself. Or maybe we need more Ibuprofen from Walgreen’s. If you’re already out and about, this can be an easy one to do, and can make a big difference! It saves us from having to get dressed, drive around town, walk through the store, wait in line… etc. and completely wear ourselves out.
- Learn about their illness. Google their diagnosis and read about it! Knowing that you made an effort to learn about such a major part of our lives in an effort to understand us better is incredibly validating.
- Get creative! You know your friend… and your friend knows their needs. Brainstorm ways you can help out to fit each individual. There are endless ways you can help!
- Be there. Most importantly, be our friend. Laugh with us, play games, make memories. Enjoy the time you have with each other and treasure the highs and the lows. It’s what makes us human and what makes a life worth living.