I thought it'd be a good idea to kick off with a list of what not to say, gleaned from our Chronic Bitches group on Ravelry. This is obviously not a complete list, and if I have forgotten anything or mislabeled, please let me know and I will fix it. Where possible I included appropriate responses.
There is even a handy code, indicating to what illnesses these usually pertain and those who are to blame.
Fa=Often perpetrated by family
- But you don’t look sick. A, Fi, Fr, R
- Well, if you’d just get some exercise… D, Fa, Fr, M, P, R If you can show me an exercise I can do without further injuring myself, I'll do it.
- You just need to take vitamins. Fr, R
- I’ve found this great supplement that even cures cancer…you should take it. Fr, R
- That kind of diagnosis is just a cop-out. ___________ doesn’t really exist. Fa, Fi, Fr, P, R
- You just want attention; there’s nothing wrong with you. D, Fi, Fr
- Well, just ignore it when it hurts. Fr, P
- Why don’t you take a pill for it, then? Fr
- You’re faking this for the insurance money/to be annoying/for attention. Fi, Fr, R
- Oh, that doesn’t really bother you. Fr
- You need to see a different doctor. Fr
- You're too young to have this many things wrong with you! A, D, Fi, Fr, P, R
- If you would just be more positive about things, you’d feel better. D, Fa, Fr
- Admitting you're sick is admitting defeat.
- You really shouldn’t joke about that. R
- Have you tried praying? A, D, Fa, Fi, M, R I think I will stick with my doctor's recommendations and science.
- It’s all in your head. D, Fi, Fr, P Damn right! It's migraines/mental health problems/fibromyalgia, where else would it be?
- I had a _____ (second cousin, friend of a friend’s friend’s friend, fellow gym member, etc. never anyone close) who had what you’ve got. They stopped eating __________ (evil food of the month club: gluten, dairy, chocolate, red meat ad infinitum) and were completely cured! You should try it! R
- You just need to lose some weight. Fa, R If you can show me an exercise I can do without further injuring myself, I'll do it. Yes, because my allergies/mental health/chronic pain are a direct result of my weight. Logic fail.
- I don’t believe in _________ D, Fi, Fr
- You learned that from your mother. D, Fa, Fr Funny, I didn't realize that diseases could be learned behaviour.
- You just need to gain some weight. Fa, R
- Hormones can affect your emotions and perspective.
- You’re too young to apply for disability benefits. Fr, M, P My medical condition is a better indicator of my disability than my age.
- You really aren’t that sick. I have patients much sicker than you are. P
- Have you tried holistic options? Fr Many, but that's between my doctor and me.
- Could it be your stress? Fa, Fr According to my doctor, it's my illness.
- Have you tried (insert random medication advertised in magazines/TV)? Fr, R My doctor and I explored that option when it first came out, thank you for your inexpert opinion.
- Have you thought about being in a trial study? That's between my doctor and me.
- Wow, if I were you, I don't know what I'd do. I'd probably kill myself. M Gee thanks.
- Have they found what's causing the problem? No, my doctor is an idiot.
- Have you tried hypnosis? I'm still sick, but when the phone rings I bark like a dog.
- Have you researched your illness? No, I have absolutely no idea what's going on and am completely clueless.
- Have you tried anti-depressants? Fa, Fr, R
- I wish I had a disability badge. Fa, Fr, R If I broke both your legs, you could.
- What do you do all day? Fa, Fr, R
- If you stopped taking that medication, then maybe you wouldn't be so ill. Fa, Fr Sorry, I'm just a little attached to living.
- There are people worse off than you are. A, D, Fa, Fi, Fr, M, P, R
- Cheer up! D, Fa, Fr If I could, I would.
- I’ll see you in six months. If you’re still short of breath then, I’ll see what I can do. P
- Boy, I’d like to be able to take early retirement. Fa, Fr, R
- With your education level and experience, you should be able to do something. Fa, Fi, Fr If I could, I would.
- Why don’t you take care of it since you don’t have anything to do–after all you’re not working. Fa, Fr
- If you’d think about something else, you wouldn’t notice the pain. Fa, Fi, Fr, R
- The pain always stops on its own eventually. Fa, Fi, Fr, R
- You could do things if you really wanted to. Fa, Fr, R I don't see you running any marathons, either.
- Sexual side effects are a small price to pay for feeling better, right? Fa, Fr, P The one thing that still works is the ability to love and be loved in return, and you want to take that away? How is that "better"?
- You should moisturize your skin. I know because my son had eczema as a baby.
- Panic attacks are just one more way to draw attention to yourself. Fa, Fr Wait... What?
- Well, but it’s not that bad - at least it doesn’t kill you! Fa, Fr No, but I might kill you if you ever say that again.
- Oh man, tell me how I can get a vest so I can sneak my dog into places too! Fa, Fr, R I'll break both your legs for you so you can.
- I know just how you feel! (Insert long unrelated story here). Fa, Fr, R
- But you can walk - you don’t need a wheelchair. Fa, Fr, M, R
- I would hurt too if I laid around all day and whined! Fa, Fr
- When are you going to be normal again? Fa, Fr Normal is just a setting on the washing machine. It has no application to human beings.
- You should be grateful I work and can pay your disability benefits. It’s people like me who make it so you don’t have to have a real job. Fa, Fr, R You think that I would prefer to be housebound by (debilitating condition) rather than have a job outside of the home?
- You should count your lucky stars that you are healthy and able-bodied instead of a healther-than-thou asshat.
- Just drink some water, you are probably dehydrated.
- You don’t look blind. R
- Why do you hurt? What did you do to yourself? Fa, Fr
- What do you mean you can’t do x?
And if you find yourself at a loss for words because of some idiot, just kick them in the taint.
Here are a couple of other lists posted by Chronic Bitches: