Video: Trying to Explain Your Illness to Well-Intentioned Friends

Have you ever gone to a party and stood around and had the conversation like the one below? If so, you may just be more “normal” than you think, because most of us with chronic illness could have written this script!

Friends can have the best of intentions, but we still can feel like we keep saying, “yes, but. . . ” and even we can get sick and tired of feeling sick and tired!

We look forward to your thoughts? Have you ever had a conversation like this? What would you have said differently?

Video is Copyright Lisa Copen, 2011 – Please feel free to embed or share, just include all code so it leads back to – thanks!


  1. says

    I found myself feeling so frustrated & angry when hearing the female’s responses to her friend with an illness. I had an experience with someone today that made me feel a bit invalidated and brushed off re: my Fibro, so it really hit home when I watched it! Great job! :)

  2. Chers says

    I think he overdid it telling her he was on meds. I think he should have went for a virgin drink and tried to have some fun instead of talking to this friend sure mention he’s not feeling too well but then change the subject. Most people don’t understand chronic pain and will avoid you.

  3. Jackie Confalone says

    This is a great video! It’s probably the first time I have laughed about my and my family’s chronic illnesses in a LONG time! Laughing only because I have had this conversation or versions of it many times. Thanks to whoever put this video together, and it would be great to see more!

    But I believe it’s important to know that when we have these conversations and feel rejected…once again….and misunderstood once again, God understands, God cares, God knows, and God comforts. And every now and then, God allows me to reach someone through these conversations about the true daily struggle of an invisible illness.

    Bravo to the video creator!!!

  4. Nancy says

    Video regarding invisible illness by Lisa Copen: It is very good, but the computer voices take away from the personal aspect of the message. It would be so much better with inflections and intonations from human voices!

    • admin says

      true! this is what the technology allows for free… and they don’t allow you to upload your own voices. I spend my funds out of pocket to do what we can… maybe someday!

  5. cassi says

    I most certainly can relate to that video. Between work, pain, fatigue and friends I’ve become rather isolated because of it all. But taking it just one day at a time.

  6. Regina says

    Yes, he said all I could say… but I don’t. If I go out, it would be because I feel ‘up to it’, and nine times out of ten, I will be medicated and not up for the depth of this conversation. I am very big on the idea that ‘as a man thinks in his heart so he is’ (transcribed in new age terms as ‘don’t put so much thought into it, or it becomes your reality’, but I hate it when people suggest I have CREATED this disease. I was once happy, light-hearted and pain-free. Now, I can continue with happy and light-hearted, but pain free seems to have little to do with my willing it to be so….

  7. Christina says

    You know when I talk to my friends and they’re like that I just want to beat the living bird poop out of them! I’m lucky I have one or two good friends who can understand, but I guess unlucky in the fact that at least one of them understands because she too suffers from an invisible illness even if it’s different then mine. Great job, too many real life situation like this.

  8. steph says

    I thought this just about covered the bases, and in a constructive way. Today I had a friend say, “but you look good”. Number one, I really do not care how you think I look. Number two, looking good does not mean feeling good. Number three. It is not as if looking good is going to make me feel better, which is really what the intention is. No healthy person wants to deal with your pain so they try to talk you out of it. I wish!

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