Being diagnosed with Lupus, or other autoimmune diseases, doesn’t only affect the patient, but the people in their lives as well. One of the most challenging yet necessary tasks that is given to friends and family members, is the task of giving support. When you love someone dearly, it is only natural for you to want to do all that you can to help them feel love and encouragement. To some, this may come naturally, and to others…not so much. Take my mom for instance, from my perspective, my mom handled my diagnosis so well! She never shed a tear (or so I thought), she was always there when I needed her (and still is), and was always prepared with a word from her heart to provide me with encouragement. This post is less for patients and more for friends and family members of them. What are some “Dos and Don’ts” for supporting someone with Lupus?
DO remember that your friend or family member has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that causes them to be in pain 24 hours of the day and 7 days of the week.
DON’T assume that just because your friend and family doesn’t look sick, that they aren’t. Lupus patients do a really good job of hiding their illness!
DO understand that functioning with Lupus fatigue is the equivalent of being awake for 24 hours and still needing to take care of your responsibilities (care for children, go to work, etc.)
DON’T be offended when plans are cancelled or you haven’t heard from your friend or family member in a while. Most likely they’re just too tired to even want to eat (I’ve been there)!
DO understand that Lupus is different for every individual and flares (intense Lupus activity) are extremely unpredictable.
DON’T assume that your loved one is using their Lupus as an excuse to get out of special events, activities, or work.
DO invite them to work out with you at the gym, go for a jog, or join you for a yoga class!
DON’T think that they’ll definitely be able to keep up with you once you get there.
DO ask about the side effects of the specific medication that your loved one is taking.
DON’T let the words “OMG, you gained/lost so much weight” leave your lips when you haven’t seen them in a while, or they haven’t asked for your opinion….just don’t.
DO show that you care by being a listening ear, spending quality and unexpected time together, and sharing words of encouragement.
DON’T forget all of the DOs that I just shared with you!!!
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If you know anyone suffering with Lupus and/or any other “Invisible Disease”, please feel free to share with them directly!
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