Getting It.

Once you get sick, everyone has advice for you. Some of it is good, some of it is bad, and at least some of it is well-meaning. I’ve been told to take alka-seltzer, try yoga, go vegan, lose weight, gain weight, and everything in between.

You also get a lot of weird questions about your illnesses. There are the usual ones, about whether you can eat a certain thing, do a certain thing, and when  you’re going to get better.  (My answers are probably not, probably,  and never, in that order.)

I always think that people can’t surprise me with weirder advice or questions, but they always do. While on a recent trip to visit family, someone sat me down to have a discussion about Ehlers Danlos. I thought I was prepared. Then the first question out of their mouth was “So, how will this benefit you, evolutionarily?”

I was stunned, but unfortunately this type of scenario is common. I’ve developed talking points to steer the conversation away from me if the conversation about my illness gets out if control. I’ve also trained my friends and fiancé to jump in if they see me getting uncomfortable or annoyed. Sometimes,  neither of these measures are enough, and I have to find another way to deflect questions or advice.

I’m not rude to well-meaning people, of course,  but when you have been sick your whole life,  you learn to do what you have to do.

How do you deal with people who just don’t get it? How do you deal with unwanted advice or questions?


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