This blog post is not for everyone who has a chronic illness. If you’ve let the important people in your life (except for those you work with or for) know about your illness and have given them at least a general description of how it has affected you and your life, you’re welcome to skip this post. Or, if you like, you can read why disclosing your illness was a good idea.
On the other hand, if there are important people in your life you haven’t told about your illness, please keep reading, because by the time you get to the end of the post, I think you will agree that disclosing is a better choice in almost all cases.
Note: as I wrote above, in this post, I’m not recommending that you disclose your illness to your coworkers or your boss. The decision about whether or not to do that depends on many factors that I’m not going to cover here. If you have a question about your work situation, you’re welcome to submit it as a comment to this post, and I will do my best to answer it.
One reason why it’s almost always a good idea to tell the important people in your life about your illness is this: keeping secrets from people and pretending you’re healthy and okay when you’re not isn’t easy. It takes work and can be very stressful. Living with a serious illness isn’t easy either; it’s often very difficult. Given that, I think it’s just common sense to be truthful with our friends and relatives and use the energy we save by doing that to deal with and manage our illness and symptoms.
A second reason why it’s usually a good idea to share about your illness with the important people in your life is that they almost always respond in an empathetic and compassionate way, even when we think they won’t. When they do, we feel cared for and supported, and we both feel closer to each other. It becomes a win-win.
So if there are important people you haven’t yet told about your illness and your life with it, I encourage you to do so. And if you do, I hope you will write about your experience in a comment below.