Over the past 2 years, I’ve been asked a few times by friends what is the best way to show up for someone who’s been diagnosed with a disease.
While I’m definitely not an expert, and everyone needs something different in friendships, however, here are a few things I’ve learned I’ve needed as I learn to live with my auto-immune sidekick.
After my diagnosis with MS in December of 2014, I shared a post about People’s Reactions to a Public Diagnosis. I got amazing feedback from some of you, who let me know that they hadn’t really thought about how the “I’m Sorry” comes across and how they were making a more conscious effort of offering practical help to others as their friends deal with new health issues.
While this post was very personal for me and how I react to others, I’m glad that it may have helped other’s as they show up for their friends during a health crisis.
So this post is inspired by a friend who has had to be there for some of her close friends this year and as she deals with her own health diagnosis this year.
- Hold space for them to be heard. Moral of the story. Learn to just listen, without advice or opinion. This one can be so difficult. If you’re a chatty Kathy, like myself, this one is something I’m still working on.
- Share resources you are aware of so that they can go through them when they are mentally ready to tackle educating themselves. But ask first!
- Share what a healthcare practitioner has done for you so they can imagine why they would reach out to a naturopath, or acupuncturist, etc
- Offer practical help, from going grocery shopping for them, to driving them to an appointment, to picking up supplements for them, or simply suggest a relaxing night like a movie night where they don’t have to talk or think but simply have company as they process new emotions and thoughts.
- Show interest in what they are doing for themselves. My friends have listened to me countless times on how I’m adapting my meal plan or supplements or self-care as I learn to live well with MS. Simply being listened to and heard was amazing.
- Don’t treat them like babies. I want to feel strong and be strong. If I allow others to treat me as weak then I’ll end up treating myself that way as well. If that makes any sense.
That’s my two cents, I hope it helps as you show up for others in this world.
If you have been diagnosed with a sidekick, what have your friends done for you that have impacted your healing process?