Let your loved one know that it’s okay if they’re not feeling okay. Living with chronic illness or disability can be a mess of emotions; just when you think you’ve got your head around acceptance, a tidal wave of regret and frustration will hit you in the face. Some days are just too much. You don’t have to push through it or pretend every time that you’re chipper. Sometimes we need that down time so we can take some time out, rest, recuperate, feel awful and start working our way back to baseline. There’s no time limit for this, you don’t have to suddenly bounce back. Let your loved one know that it’s okay to not be okay, and that you’re there for them however they’re feeling.
Showing compassion to someone isn’t about giving them suggestions for things to try to help their condition or minimising their feelings. Showing compassion is about just being there, showing kindness and being non-judgemental. You can also show compassion through actions and helping with their needs, whether they need help with an ice pack or some painkillers, or just being with them when they’re having a flare up and sitting with them so they’re not alone. Being empathetic in such an instance will mean acknowledging that you don’t necessarily know exactly how they’re feeling. It’s about showing that you appreciate how rough it must be for them, validating their feelings, and letting them know that you’re there for them.