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17 June 2019

When Do You Tell Someone That You Have An Illness?

Ooh, tricky. It is difficult to judge when the time is right to tell someone you have a chronic illness. Whether it be a new boyfriend/girlfriend, a new boss, or that work colleague Sandra who always takes a handful of Digestives for her cuppa and never leaves any for you (greedy bitch), it's always hard to decide when to bite the bullet and just say what exactly is wrong with you.


I won't lie, I've put myself through the wringer trying to tell someone I have Cystic Fibrosis. I think it's that person's initial reaction when I blurt it out that makes me the most angst and nervous. Will they take it well? Will they only just give you that pitiful head tilt and say "Aww bless!" Or will they be an absolute bum fluff and ask you questions like "Can you die from that?" (drawing from personal experience there)


When do you tell someone you that you have an illness? 



Ok, picture this hypothetical situation in your head, or actually act it out if you so wish, you're about to tell a complete stranger or someone you've only known for five minutes that you have an illness which is completely invisible to the naked eye. Hmm...when is the perfect time to tell this hypothetical person in this hypothetical situation. Hypothetical seems to be the repeated word in this paragraph so I do apologise. Here are some individual circumstances where you need to be Hunger Games brave when making someone aware of your illness -



A  BOSS
You've got a job interview (congrats) for your dream job and you will go all out to impress, well, nothing beyond the pale. However, you're sat outside your potential new manager's office and you're wondering when is the right time to tell him/her. Drawing from personal experience, tell them at the interview. Especially if you have a physical disability and the workplace may need to make adjustments to suit your needs. They cannot discriminate you because of your disability/illness. The company would rather you be honest with them than you keeping it to yourself.
 
 
 
WORK  COLLEAGUES
You're debating telling Sandra (see opening paragraph) but you're worried about what her reaction will be. Again, from my personal perspective, I've only told work colleagues that really needed to know eg the ones I would be working with on a daily basis. Not everybody in the office building or in my case, school building, needs to know about my illness. If I know I'm going to be working with them more than just one day, then yes, I will tell them cause at the end of the day, if you become ill, they'll need to know how best to look after you and meet your needs. Yes, and tell Sandra to leave the biccies alone and leave you some for your tea!
 

When do you tell someone you that you have an illness? 
 
A  NEW  PARTNER
Ooh, this one is a tough one. Do you tell them on the first date or wait for a couple more before finally telling them about your illness? Want my advice? Tell them sooner rather than later. In the past, I've told lads pretty much straight away. You can always tell by their initial reaction whether they can handle the news or not. It's better to do it now because then there won't be so much heartbreak later on. Be upfront and honest with him/her. Tell them what the illness entails, how it impacts on you and allow them to understand that it doesn't effect your personality. Your new boyf/girlf would rather know how to help and support you when you have bad days than stand by like a spare one at a wedding now knowing what to do with themselves.
An example, I'm on a date with a man, it's time for food. I need to take Creon when I eat, which means I will have to get my tablet pot out which contains Creon and display it on the table next to my vodka and cranberry juice. Now, I can handle this three ways -

 
Option 1 - Take them in front of him, but obvs tell him beforehand what they are and what they're for.
 
Option 2 - Go to the toilet, remembering to take my bag with me and swallow the Creon in there. Maybe while I'm by the sink and not sat on the bog.
 
Option 3 - Just don't take them altogether and be prepared to have the shits for days after my date. The painful option.

 
I know which option I'd choose. 
 
When do you tell someone you that you have an illness? 
 
 
NEW  FRIENDS
We make new friends at different stages in our lives. At primary school, high school, college/uni, in work, online or at the bingo hall, we all make new friends. Which means that at some point or another, they're going to find out you have a chronic illness. Just be honest with that friend, one of the foundations of a true friendship is based on trust and honesty. Allow them to be there for you and support you. I'm very fortunate that I have a wonderful group of friends who are very understanding and will do anything for me if I needed them.
 
 
 
 
Obviously, everyone with an illness is different, but we all share the same fear of telling someone upfront what's wrong with us. There's that dreaded anticipation of what that person's initial reaction will be, but if they're a decent person, they will accept it, no matter what.
 
 
 
For those with a chronic illness, when do you tell someone you have an illness?
 

 
Lucy 
 


25 comments:

  1. This is such an amazing post my darling, it can be so tough to tell someone you have an illness!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

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  2. I love how open and honest you are on these posts! xx
    Jessie | jessie-ann.co.uk

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  3. Such a great post! I've struggled with mental illness in the past and telling people was difficult, but I found that the people who are really there for you will understand and support you! xx

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    1. Aww bless you I can understand how difficult it must have been to tell people about your mental health, but you're right, people will help you and support you if they care! xx

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  4. Wonderful post! This is something I've been thinking about a lot recently. When I was 16 I developed NDPH (New Daily Persistent Headache) but I didn't know what was wrong with me for many months so I was complaining to my parents and bit to my friends. I'm now 20 and there's no treatment or cure so I just live with it. But it's invisible and even many specialists have never heard of it. It's a pain concept that not even one person I've met comprehends, they forget right after I tell them. It's honestly more exhausting trying to explain it than to just leave it. Thank you for sharing!

    -Sophie xx
    Cherries & Perfume 

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    1. Goodness me it must be incredibly rare if specialists haven't heard of it! I hope you are doing ok with the diagnosis, it is exhausting trying to explain to people what your illness is, I'm like you, I'd rather leave it! xx

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  5. It's a difficult one but like you, I always let them know as soon as possible. You can definitely tell what a person is like from their judgement/reply and it saves a lot of problems later down the line!

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    1. Absolutely Kirstin! The other person's initial reaction always says it all for me!

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  6. So i have diabetes type 1, and really I think it's important to tell people about your illness as soon as you get the chance. I mean it doesn't have to be sort of the first thing you greet them with, but they need to know. In case of any potential emergencies or if you start acting 'strange' due to your illness. Keeping your diagnosis all to yourself will just make it more difficult to cope. I mean I had so many stupid responses when I told people about my illness but amidst all the stupidity, people can still help you out in times of need.

    Laura / https://www.laustworld.com

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    1. With diabetes it is important to let someone know, especially when there is a chance you could go into a hypo/hyper!

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  7. This is such an intriguing post! I've not got an illness myself, but have always thought it must be tough for those who do to disclose it to their friends/family/loved ones. Thank you for writing such an open account of your experiences! xx
    El // Welsh Wanderer

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    1. It can be tough El, but I'm glad you liked this post! xx

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  8. This post is absolutely incredible! Amazing advice and I really think it could help a lot of people. I have focal Dystonia and it's had a massive impact on my life and my mental health, but when I explain to people what it is and because I "look" perfectly fine, I get "It's not that bad. You'll live" and I get made to feel like what I have to go through isn't important and I should shrug it off like a common cold.

    Again, incredible post. p.s. your blog is stunning!

    Han, xo | www.chroniclesofacreativemess.co.uk

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    1. Thank you Hannah!
      I can't believe that people would be that disrespectful and ignorant to completely disregard your condition, it's so unfair! What you have to go through is just as important as what anyone else with a chronic illness has to go through! xx

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  9. This is such a great post! Not having a chronic illness myself I never even realised how hard it can be just telling people about it and when’s the right time to do it. I completely agree about the work one, not everyone needs to know unless you feel comfortable telling them! X

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    1. Thank you Aaliyah!
      No, there's no point in broadcasting it in the staff room, just let the right people know! x

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  10. This was actually really interesting to read, Anxiety and depression are also as you probably know are invisible illnesses and I've always told people straight away because if they're too judgemental about it i'd rather them go away and out of my life sooner rather than later because it can impact my mental health negatively if i'm rejected because of said illness. This was a really wonderful post and I enjoyed your style of writing a lot. Very funny, despite the seriousness. I mean if Sandra didn't leave me any biscuits i'd be fuming...

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    1. You got the right attitude there about telling people straight away, you don't need them in your life if they're not going to handle it well, you don't need any sort of negative impact on your mental health.
      I'm so happy you liked the post Shannon!

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  11. Such a brave post beaut!
    Amazing advice and just so honest a raw.
    Well done for sharing ♥

    Luke | www.lukeheywoodstyle.co.uk

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  12. Love this post.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  13. Hey Lucy really liked this post.

    I guess it's the same as telling someone you have a mental illness or suffer with anxiety. They're both hidden but are elements of your personality which may affect the way you react to them or how you are on a day to day basis.
    In my experience it's become easier to talk about because a lot of others are talking about it themselves so it makes it somewhat easier to start a conversation. ☺

    Thanks Lucy & good luck telling people! Xo

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    1. I think because anxiety is being made more aware of on social media, it seems easier for us to tell people about our anxiety x

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