5 Ways You Can Support Your Friend With IBD

Inflammatory Bowel Disease doesn’t just affect the patient; IBD has an impact on caregivers and loved ones too. While we as patients take on the day-to-day burden of living with IBD, our caregivers are often times facing their own battle too. It’s not easy watching someone you love suffer, regardless of what battle they are fighting or illness they live with. Dealing with chronic conditions requires a team effort. This doesn’t just apply to IBD, but really any chronic condition. Any patient can benefit from these simple steps.

Here are 5 ways you as a caregiver can support and understand someone who has been  diagnosed with chronic illness.

  1. Do Your Own Research – There’s nothing that boosts my spirits more than seeing a friend or family member has done some homework and studied up on my condition! This requires nothing major. We’re not asking you to be an expert, but you’d be surprised how much you learn by taking a few minutes out of your day and reading up on what life is like with an Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
  2. Be Present – Of course you would always need to assess the situation and use your own good judgement on this one. There are times when we may ask for space that we legitimately need. Although it’s hard, there are some things we need to overcome on our own. IBD patients may want some things to be kept private, no matter how comfortable we are with you (as a person). However, there are other times when we ask for space out of shame or embarrassment. I know I did. I chose to shut people out because I feared they wouldn’t understand. I didn’t want to face judgement so I chose not to face people at all (with the exception of close family).
  3. Ask Questions – If there’s something you don’t know or understand: ask! Whether you’re asking a professional or the patient, asking for more information is so much better than just making inaccurate statements, false assumptions or worse.
  4. Raise Awareness – Once you’ve learned more about IBD, it’s time to take it to the next level! Now you can support loved ones in a different manner entirely. Now you can work to raise awareness for the condition. You can do this by getting involved with organizations like the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, or simply by word of mouth. – The more people know, the more people care, the more people get involved and donate to change and (hopefully) someday cures.
  5. Give Them Time – Don’t take it personally if your loved one seems distant or is unable to do things they once did. There’s no “right way” to respond when told you have an incurable disease. There’s no proper way to handle life with a chronic condition. Understand that there will simply be things that are out of anyone’s control. Allow them time to process and vent. That doesn’t mean you can’t be there for them in the process. It just means you may need to be a little more patient during those times.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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