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    5 Things Not To Say To Young People With Chronic Pain, And What To Say Instead:

    *Note: These are all things that people have actually said to me, a real life young chronic pain sufferer.

    5. “Have you eaten and drunk enough today? Let me get you home so you can rest.”

    4. “Have you tried [obvious or irrelevant treatment]? It totally worked for my [coworker/obscure relative] who has [completely different illness].”

    While I understand that this one is frequently coming from a place of love, there are a few problems with it.

    First, we probably have tried it. After years spent bouncing from one doctor or practitioner’s office to another, the chances of our having already tried acupuncture/massage/energy manipulation/going gluten free/physical therapy/peppermint oil/whatever else you were going to tell us to do are actually pretty high.

    Second, we might not be in treatment right now. Being in active treatment is expensive, time consuming, and exhausting (both physically and mentally). Sometimes, young people with chronic pain need to take a break from the constant doctoring to focus on things like getting good grades, having a relationship, and doing interesting things with their youth. Constant suggestions of new things to try tend to pile up in a to-do list, making us feel ashamed of taking time off from treatment.

    3. “You’re too young/pretty to be sick.”

    2. Random irrelevant idioms about pain. Examples include, but are not limited to: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” “Pain is just weakness leaving the body.” “This too shall pass.”

    1. “Wow. I think I would probably have killed myself in your position.”

    If you've said one of these things to someone, don't panic! Everyone makes mistakes, and this particular conversation topic can be a real minefield of social awkwardness and errors. Here are some things that you can say instead so that you're prepared for next time.

    3. “Is it okay if I ask you some questions about your health?”

    2. “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to make you more comfortable.”

    1. “I’m so sorry to hear that. That’s totally unfair.”