By K W Warburton, The Reluctant Spoonie

When you live with a chronic illness, insensitive comments from people come with the territory. They may come from friends, family, co-workers, medical professionals or even strangers. Some people may not realise what they’re doing and others know exactly what they’re doing (I’m looking at you random man in the street.)

Find out how to live independently with chronic illness here
ways to handle insensitive comments
Photo by Dương Nhân on

A recent poll of my Instagram followers showed that 95 % of them had received an insensitive comment about their illness or disability.

It took me a long time to come to terms with my chronic illness and to accept that I’m no longer able to do the things that I used to. I’m usually pretty comfortable talking about my illness and I have accepted that I cannot do the same things as other people. But, a stray comment about what I’m doing or how I’m behaving due to my illness can send me straight back to square one.

ways to handle insensitive comments
Photo by Helena Lopes on

I recently asked my Instagram followers for their tips on how to deal with insensitive comments. Here’s what they said:

I try to take a pause and see if they are ill-informed and need to be educated-they might not mean to be rude. I try to be patient and explain what’s going on with me but there are some people that I know will just not try to understand so I just let those comments go, and focus on what I can do.” – @aspiretobeyourself

Sometimes I’m just so shocked that someone would say such a thing that I don’t respond. I’m going to try ” I’m glad that you feel so good that you can’t relate to my situation. But what you said is insensitive.” Or something like that.” – @shellymcreynolds

Read more:  5 Tips For The New Spoonie

It can be very difficult. I try and correct them in a calm manner but it once in the past got heated as my family member made me very upset. At the end of the day if they don’t get it then they don’t get it and you should just focus on you but I guess you could try and educate them in a calm way and try and stay kind despite it being painful. I’ve found it’s better received that way.” – @fibromywhat

“I like to imagine there is a beautiful waterfall flowing between us when they are I sensitive. It helps me direct my attention away from their words to the water’s beauty”- @sarahjacksonpanther

Should we just ignore insensitive comments or should we take it as an opportunity to educate others about our illnesses or disability?

Join the conversation in the comments below.

The Reluctant Spoonie logo
Thanks for reading to the end of this post!
Support us by sharing this post on social media.
Find out more about our work here
Logo designed by Cactus and Spoon Prints
Subscribe to our mailing list here to receive free copies of our quarterly mag