Talk With Loved Ones
Good communication is the basis for any strong relationship. When one of you is living with a chronic illness, it’s a must-have.
I’m hopeful that getting some tips for better communicating can help me talk to my sister more easily.
Take an active role
You’ve heard that communication is a two-way street. That means both people are involved, with one talking and the other listening. No matter which role you’re playing, make sure you’re actively participating. Consider these tips as you communicate with your loved ones.
Be ready to talk about lupus
You often may find yourself in tricky situations because of lupus. For example, cancelling another get-together or asking for help with the kids again can get tiring to explain. To help, have a few trusty phrases ready when you need them.
Think about the issues you face most with lupus. Then create phrases with a simple explanation. We have some examples you may want to start with:
“I’m sorry I have to cancel today. I didn’t expect to be sick, but lupus is very unpredictable.”
“I’m sorry I have to cancel today. With lupus, severe symptoms can come on very fast and that’s what happened this morning.”
“I know I don’t look sick, but I actually feel really bad. Lupus is misleading because it damages internal organs with almost no outward signs.”
“I know I don’t look sick, but sometimes I wish I did! Lupus is a serious disease that attacks the inside of my body, so there’s not always a way for people to see what’s making me so sick.”
“Would you mind repeating that, please? I have lupus, which can sometimes make it hard for me to keep track of what’s being said.”
“Would you mind repeating that, please? I need just a moment to gather my thoughts. Lupus can sometimes make you feel forgetful, so it takes me a little effort to keep up.”
Intimacy is important
Lupus can be especially hard to discuss in romantic relationships. But your honesty can go a very long way. Take the leap and plan time to talk about how lupus affects you physically, emotionally, mentally, and sexually. You may even want to get tips or advice from your doctor about how to tackle these subjects.
You may find that your self-esteem and self-image have taken a hit by lupus and some of the medications that treat it. That can make you want to keep intimate relationships at arm’s length. Realize that someone who loves you often sees you through a much kinder lens than you see yourself.