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How Do You Tell People You Have a Chronic Illness?

How do you tell people you have a chronic illness?

What do you say in a new relationship?

To your new boss when you've called in sick again?

At a restaurant when someone asks why you only ordered water?

Depending on the person, circumstances, or just how you are feeling at the moment, you may want to tell someone our whole story, or not say anything at all

Bottom line, you can do whatever you want. Sometimes you don't want to have to explain the whole flippin saga and that's ok!

I used to RARELY let people know I have Crohn’s Disease. Maybe I was embarrassed or didn’t want to be a burden. I noticed though that the more I experimented with telling people in different ways, the easier it got

So after 22 years, I’ve got it down to 3 simple statements

Depending on who you're talking to and what you're comfortable with, here are my 3 ways of explaining my illness:

Option #1 - Detailed and Concise:

“I have Crohn’s Disease, which is a type of autoimmune condition I’ve had since I was 13. I'm currently in a flare up so I don't always feel well. I just have to take care of myself a little differently by watching what I eat, resting more, managing stress, and things like that. Feel free to ask me any questions if you ever have any.”

Option #2 - Short and Sweet

"I have Crohn's Disease, which is why I ___. I'll let you know if I need anything."

Option #3 - Polite and Vague

"I have an autoimmune disease. I can tell you more about it later"


I know what it’s like to be recently diagnosed and have no idea how to explain your new condition. I know what it's like when everyone at the table is staring at you for only ordering water

If you feel you don’t know how to explain yourself, I can coach you through this!


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