How To Let Friends Know You’re Feeling Better

Letting friends know you're feeling better

When you’re living with a chronic illness, your worst days may result in symptoms that leave you visibly debilitated. Friends and families may notice that you look tired, struggle to move around or are experiencing severe discomfort.

But in many cases, your symptoms may leave you feeling more drained than you actually look to be. Explaining to a boss you can’t make a work meeting or a friend that you can’t make it to dinner that night when you appear fine on the surface can lead to confusion and sometimes tension. They think you might be exaggerating or, even worse, using your illness as an excuse to get out of an event

When you’re feeling better and ready to resume normal activities, it can be difficult for some people to comprehend when you look the same as you did when you couldn’t take part in them. It’s not your job to convince people about how you feel, but three tactics can help you clearly explain that you’re ready to resume your everyday life.

Acknowledge it: Admit you hadn’t been feeling well as of late and were disappointed to not be able to meet your commitments, but that you’re now able to do so. If your absence resulted in a co-worker having to complete extra assignments or a family member taking on the brunt of child care, express gratitude for their help. You can even offer to repay them in some way if you wish, whether it’s by cooking dinner for them or babysitting on a weekend night.

Focus on the present: It’s not your responsibility to explain the nuances of your chronic illness or what potential symptoms entail. Keep the conversation positive and talk about what you’re able to do at the moment. You can tell them, “I know that I wasn’t able to make it the movies last Saturday, but I’ll be able to this weekend if you’d like to join me.”

Let them know your condition changes: The nature of chronic illness means that symptoms can occur without warning. Those who matter to you should be aware that your current good health doesn’t mean that you’ll never experience symptoms again. Tell them you can’t give a specific timeline of when symptoms will flare up again, but you’ll do your best to keep them informed so they can plan accordingly.

Some people simply may not be able (or willing) to understand or accept this. But those who support you will not only understand that the nature of a chronic illness is ever-changing, but will be there with you every step of the way.