A Guide to Chronic Illness for Those Who Don’t Have One

Chronic illness is one of those things where you can never completely understand it unless you have lived it. But people who live with chronic illness really need support from their able-bodied loved ones, which can be tricky if their loved ones don’t understand what they are going through. In an effort to help you, the loved one of someone with chronic illness or an able-bodied person who interacts with people with chronic illness, I’ve pulled together all of my chronic illness posts designed to educate the able-bodied. These are broken down into categories so you can easily dig through my chronic illness posts. I hope these will help you understand what people with chronic illness are going through, or at least better understand ways you might be hurting us without realizing it.

Even if you don't personally know someone with a chronic illness or chronic pain, you interact with people who have one all the time. This is what you need to know in order to understand the millions of people around the world who live with chronic illness.

Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain at Large

These posts are more general and don’t easily fit into another category.

Questions Not To Ask Someone with a Chronic Illness – Even though you can be well-meaning, you could hurt someone with a chronic illness by asking one of these questions. 

Don’t Say “It Could Be Worse” – This is another thing that can hurt your loved one! In this post, I explain why that is. 

What It’s Like To Live with Pain for 15 Years – Living with chronic pain for a prolonged period of time is a weird situation that is hard to explain, but I try to in this post. 

Loving Someone with Chronic Pain – In this post, I give advice to those who love someone with chronic pain, as the title suggests. I understand that just like living with chronic pain is hard to explain, loving someone with chronic pain is hard to explain. I hope that this post helps you!

How To Help Someone Who Has a Chronic Illness – Speaking of help … in this post, instead of saying “Don’t do this” or “don’t ask that” like in posts above, I give advice on what you can do that will help. 

On Inspiration Porn – I know that “inspiration porn” sounds kind of icky, and guess what, it is kind of icky! This post – which was later featured on Huff Post – explains what inspiration porn is and why it’s bad. 

How To Become an Advocate for Patients – Want to actively do something that can help the chronic illness patient in your life? One thing you can do is become an advocate for patients, and in this post, I explain how. 

4 Questions To Ask Before Sending Medical Advice on the Internet – One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone sends me unsolicited medical advice online. Don’t! Do! It! I explain why it annoys me in this post, including as said in the title, 4 questions to ask yourself before you do this.


These are posts about living with arthritis, facts about arthritis, and more.

What You Need To Know about Arthritis – This is a simple post about, well, what you need to know about arthritis.

A Day in the Life of an Arthritis Patient – I wrote this post to explain what my day looks like. A lot of people don’t know what day-to-day life looks like for autoimmune arthritis patients, and this post includes an overall look at my day when I was in grad school.

So Someone You Know Was Diagnosed with Inflammatory Arthritis – This is another informational post about what you should know when someone you know is diagnosed with a form of inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid or psoriatic. 

The 8 Things a Millennial with Arthritis Wants You To Know – One of the most annoying things to me is how many people think I’m too young to have arthritis. I’m not! In this post, I address that and other things I think people should know about life with arthritis as a young person. 

4 More Things a Millennial with Arthritis Wants You To Know – This is a follow-up to the post above with even more information!

8 Ways You Can Help Someone with Arthritis – While many of the posts mentioned in this post are informational, this post is one about active ways you can help someone living with a form of arthritis. 

Answering Questions about Arthritis – This title is pretty self-explanatory! This is a post in which I answer questions about arthritis. 

Is Arthritis a Big Deal? – Something I have dealt with a lot is people thinking that having arthritis shouldn’t affect my life as much as it does. To combat that misconception, I wrote about why yes, arthritis can be a big deal. 

The Complications of Arthritis – One reason arthritis can be a big deal is that it can cause a variety of different complications. I explain some possible ones in this post. 

To the Loved Ones of People with Arthritis – In this post, I address my audience of people who have a loved one with arthritis, which I assume you are if you’re reading this post. 

How Is Arthritis Treated? – One of the more common questions I have gotten since my diagnosis is, “How is that treated?” I explain the different types of treatments in this post. 

Arthritis Glossary: Frequently-Used Words – The arthritis world can have its own lingo, like DMARDs, biologics, rheumy, and more. I provide a bit of a glossary with this post. 

It's really hard to understand chronic illness or chronic pain if you don't have either. But over the course of the years that I've been blogging, I've written multiple posts to help people understand what this life is like. These are 29 posts to help you understand in a wide variety of ways.


Ableism is discriminating against disabled people, and it’s rampant in our society. It is so ingrained that you probably say a lot of ableist things in your day-to-day life, not realizing that it’s ableist! I try to combat ableism on a day-to-day basis, and one way is by exposing how much of it there is out there through this blog. These posts will help you understand it.

Examples of Ableist Language in Everyday Life 

Everyday Ableism

We Need To Talk about Ableism


These posts are about the overarching category of disability, which is a little different than chronic illness or chronic pain. Plenty of people who have a chronic illness or live with chronic pain don’t consider themselves disabled, so these posts are about disability specifically.

What Abled People Need To Know about Disability – 1 in 5 people are disabled, and the 4 in 5 abled need to know more about disability. (1 in 5 is a huge number!) I try to explain disability a bit in this post. 

A Letter to the Mom who Yelled at Me on the Bus for My Disability – I am accused of faking my disability so freaking often and it’s exhausting. 1 way in particular that this happened is when a mom yelled at me on the bus because I stood up for another disabled person. That whole story and what I would tell her if I net her again is in that post. 

Not All Disabilities Are Visible – Part of the reason people accuse me of faking my disability is the incorrect belief that the only people who are disabled are those who use mobility devices like wheelchairs. I go into detail a bit more on why that belief is incorrect in this post. 

A Guide to Chronic Illness for People Who Don't Have One Click To Tweet

Healthcare Legislation 

I haven’t written that many posts about healthcare legislation, but these will hopefully help you understand the value of the legislation that we have had.

The Deadly Consequences of Incorrect Healthcare Reform – This is a guest post written by a friend of mine who could easily and quickly die from incorrect healthcare reform. I hope you read it and understand a bit more why disabled people care so much. 

What’s the Value of the Affordable Care Act? – I still remember where I was when I found out that the ACA had been passed; that’s how valuable it is to me. But why should you care? I explain that in this post. 


What would you like to know about chronic illness, chronic pain, arthritis, or any of the other topics mentioned here?

Like this post? Check out:

Chronic Illness Advice: Resources for the Recently-Diagnosed Patient, What Every POTS Syndrome Patient Needs for the Summer, What To Do When a Doctor Isn’t Listening to You

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