Seminar: What to Say, What Not to Say and How to Help

September 10, 2012 by  
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Connell WayneandSherri Seminar: What to Say, What Not to Say and How to HelpWayne and Sherri Connell

We’ve all heard some of those well-intentioned comments by those who think they may be able to tell us the secret to getting well and Wayne and Sherri are no exception. They will discuss what to say to a chronically ill person, what NOT to say (every good friend should know this) and how to help. Even if you are the one with the illness you will enjoy hearing your emotions and even frustrations validated by them as they discuss why it’s even important to know what to say to someone who is hurting.

You will like you are chatting with some good friends, as we share some of the things to say and not say, and talk about some of the aches, as well as ways to not let it get to you when people give advice. This inspirational couple will make you feel like you are just sitting down with them in their living room as they relate to you that they understand.

to increase video size Seminar: What to Say, What Not to Say and How to HelpWhen you are done listening, we appreciate you clicking “like” for Facebook, or Pinning it to Pinterest. We would love to be able to encourage your friends today.

leave comments1 Seminar: What to Say, What Not to Say and How to HelpAudio file of Wayne and Sherri

Connell WayneandSherri Seminar: What to Say, What Not to Say and How to Help
About Wayne and Sherri Connell

Wayne is the Founder and President of the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA). IDA is a non-profit organization that has been encouraging, educating and connecting people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe since 1997.

Wayne has an extensive background in retail sales, business management and telecom engineering. He obtained a BA in Television and Radio Broadcasting and has had further training in speaking. Wayne has spoken at IDA seminars and events, groups such as the Lupus, Arthritis and Scleroderma Foundations, as well as various corporations and hospitals.

Wayne’s inspiration for founding the organization is his wife, Sherri, who led a very active life of singing and dancing in musicals, acting in commercials, modeling in fashion shows, working to put herself through college and riding her horse. Sherri obtained two Bachelor Degrees and a Minor in Musical Theater. However, due to Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme Disease and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Sherri now struggles to take a shower, get a meal or go to a doctor’s appointment.

Wayne’s desire to help others who struggle with debilitating conditions has become a passion for him. Wayne has seen so many friends and families torn apart by chronic conditions. This is why he founded IDA.

Wayne Connell is joined by medical and business professionals on the Leadership Boards of IDA. This is a group of people who have hearts for those who are hurting and living with health challenges. Their desire is to reach out to the community through booklets, pamphlets, articles, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events, social networks and collaboration with other organizations to help bridge the gap of understanding and support for millions like Sherri.

Get to know Wayne and Sherri! Invisible Disabilities Association website | IDA on Facebook | IDA on Twitter | IDA on YouTube

You may enjoy Sherri’s book, But You LOOK Good! Booklet. How to Encourage and Understand People Living with Illness and Pain

Other resources Wayne and Sherri are behind: Cleaner Indoor Air Campaign | Invisible No More TV | Invisible Heroes | Meetup.com

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  • Invisible Illness Week Twitter
  • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

    Welcome everyone! Thank you for joining us! Click play on the video and let’s chat about the topic!

    • http://www.aviewfromthestreet.com matt barrett

      my dear friend sherri you and wayne are inspirations to me and many others thank you for your strength and continued work

      • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

        Thank you for your love and support and most of all your friendship! You, my friend, have an incredible story of perseverance and courage amidst unfathomable odds and pain. People who hear about your journey are amazing and encouraged in their own lives. Keep fighting and persevering! You are my hero!

        • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

          Matt was a Special Guest at the 2011 IDA Honor Awards Banquet. He shared his story of a lifelong battle with cancer. He has also endured homelessness, pain and mistreatment due to disfigurement from over 1,000 surgeries.

          Matt’s story on video, his website and his book of poetry: http://www.AViewFromtheStreets.com

  • http://twitter.com/berrymorin/status/245195871623471104/ @berrymorin

    Do you get upset when you hear “It’s just in your head”! Me too! http://t.co/GIJN6414

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      I do! I used to sing and dance in musicals, act in commercials, work multiple jobs and I obtained 3 degrees. Why would it just be in my head? I want my life back more than anyone wants it back for me.

  • Amy

    Thank you SO much Sherri and Wayne! You two had a wonderful segment! Have already posted it to Facebook, and hope that many others come to check this out as well. Oh, and Sherri – you really do look fantastic :)

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      Yay, Amy! Thank you so much for coming!!! That was quite a huge mountain to climb!! Trying to look good, smile and talk. I wish sitting up, talking and thinking wasn’t so tortuous! Uggghhhh!!

      But we had to do it so that many like myself can be encouraged and their loved ones may be a little more understanding. HUGS!

    • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

      Hi Amy!

      Thank you so much for joining us and for sharing the seminar with your friends and family! We appreciate you and all you do at the Invisible Disabilities Community. You have encouraged so many and helped people feel heard and loved. Thank YOU!

      The IDA Team

  • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

    Wow! I don’t LOOK like I am melting in a pool of pain, I am being beaten by baseball bats and my brains are falling out!! LOL!

  • http://www.maureenpratt.com Maureen Pratt

    A great kick-off to a terific week! This was an excellent workshop. And, Lisa, bless you for this entire event – you’re a gem, sister!

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      Thank you for watching! We look forward to your seminar, Maureen!

    • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

      Thank you, Maureen! We look forward to your workshop! Thank you for giving of your time and energy to make this week so fantastic!

      The IDA Team
      Invisible Disabilities Association

  • http://twitter.com/InvDisabilities/status/245220789899640832/ @InvDisabilities

    Join us for our Invisible Awareness Seminar today and all week! http://t.co/DGGdwHTY #iiwk12 #invisibleillness #invisibledisabilities

  • Bet

    Probably the meanest thing ever said to me was, “you are always conveniently sick when there are things you don’t want to do”. My response was to burst into tears and tell that relative that I thought they were very cruel.

    How do you respond to cruel comments? My response became the one that was criticized later. As in, ” you said I was cruel. No one else thinks I am.”.

    Ugh.

    Great video, great topic. How can I get the people in my family to watch it? Lol!!!!

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      Bet, I am so sorry people have said this to you! I have had people tell me, “Well, you must not WANT to do this or that.” Pretty much the same thing. That hurts!

      I WANT to cook, clean, shop and spend time with family! I want to attend dinners, events and holidays. It tears me up when I miss out on so many things!

      It is sad when loved ones don’t understand that we want all of this and that not being able to participate in an activity has nothing to do with not wanting to.

      Maybe send the link to this page for friends and family to watch? This page will be up for a long time. They can check it out at their convenience.

    • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

      Hi Bet!

      We are so sorry to hear about all you have been through with family. You are not alone. Most friends and family do want to say something encouraging, but often what they believe is helpful is not always viewed that way by the people living with illness. Others would rather stay in denial than to deal with all that comes with it. We often say that we have to acknowledge the mountain so that the climber can prepare for the ascent with the proper tools and education. Those living with illness and their loved ones can best deal with their mountain when they are able to measure it and make a plan, rather than denying it is there.

      Thank you for taking the time to watch and leave your valuable thoughts!

      The IDA Team
      Invisible Disabilities Association

  • http://www.facebook.com/InvisibleIllnessWeek Invisible Illness Awareness Week via Facebook

    thanks, Sherri and Wayne! Always a delight–truly! You two are awesome together.

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      Thank you, Lisa for including us again in this amazing week of education and encouragement! We were thrilled to participate and hope that many will find hope and help in what we had to share!

    • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

      Thank you for the opportunity to participate and help encourage others!

      The IDA Team
      Invisible Disabilities Association

  • janice

    Ditto… thank you for being there.

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      Thank you, Janice, for taking the time to watch and comment. We so hope that you have found that you are not alone! Hugs!

    • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

      Thank you, Janice, for viewing our workshop and for leaving this encouraging comment!

      The IDA Team
      Invisible Disabilities Association

  • Margo Pruett

    This was amazing. I have shared it on facebook and sincerely hope it will get people’s attention. I have been dealing with chronic pain for over 10 years and so many people don’t understand how I can be fine and standing upright one day and can’t get out of bed the next, and of course they always have comments to go with it… It is always nice to know that I’m not alone. I intend to share the invisibledisabilities.org website with my doctor, too.

    Thank you so much for doing this! I can imagine the effort it took, Sherri, but you were wonderful!

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      Hi Margo!

      Thank you so much for coming today! We appreciate your very encouraging comment more than you can imagine. I am so thankful the video was not on just 20 minutes before. You would have seen me in mid panic attack, nearly in tears because I was in so much pain (as usual). Due to my vanity, I felt the need to get dressed, brush my hair, sit up and smile. Oh my!!

      Maybe next time I will just do it in my pajamas, sprawled out on the recliner and let Wayne do the smiling. I just wish sitting and talking wasn’t so dreadfully painful!

      Anyhow, you are not alone! I think most friends and family are trying to be supportive, but just don’t know how. Sadly, some don’t care to.

      I know that it is very hard for people to understand when they see us upright once in a while, why we can’t be that way all of the time. They don’t realize that many of us are in horrific pain 24×7 and what it took for us to sit up, talk or get out.

      In fact, it is our sheer perseverance and desire to be with others that they see, not the mysterious disappearance of our illness. Yet, when we do those things or even simple things like taking a shower, we can’t push anymore for days or even weeks, no matter how hard we try.

      I liken it to a sprinter who cannot sprint again and again and again. They have to train, prepare, do warm-ups and they are winded afterwards. Of course, they recover much more quickly than we do, but you get the idea. Hugs!

    • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

      Hi Margo!

      We are SO happy you viewed our workshop and took a moment to leave us this very encouraging note! Thank you also for sharing this video with your loved ones, so they may discover new ways to be a source of support to you!

      The IDA Team
      Invisible Disabilities Association

  • Bev

    Hi I have missed the opening sessions. Hope to get to the others today

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      All of the sessions, once posted on the website, are available all week! Come on back to watch and comment on all your favorite topics. We’ll see you soon!

    • admin

      feel free to do them at your own time. that’s why they are archived. at this conference you can go take a nap and not miss a thing!

  • http://brokenyetblesseddotcom.wordpress.com/ Tami

    Thank you so much, Wayne & Sherri! Alot of what you’ve shared I can certainly relate to,as I have a chronic pain disorder(CRPS). I appreciate your willingness to share your story as well as HOW to help loved ones with a chronic illness. I have shared this conference on FaceBook, and have signed up for your enewsletter..Thanks for providing a wealth of information.
    And Lisa, God bless you for putting this all together!!!

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      Hi Tami! It is wonderful to meet you! I am so sorry to hear you are battling CRPS! I know that loves ones often think pretending the illness isn’t there or staying in denial is the best thing for us. However, instead of using our energy to gain their support, when they believe us and stand behind us, this gives us the strength to keep fighting! Hugs!

    • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

      Hi Tami!

      It is great to meet you! Thank you for letting us know how this impacted you. We hope that your loved ones are able to watch it and bring home some helpful tips!

      The IDA Team
      Invisible Disabilities Association

  • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

    FREE HANDOUTS! Hi Everyone! We have these free articles for you to print and share with friends and family!

    But They LOOK So Good! This is one of our pamphlets! Print a few copies for your personal use or order the color pamphlets. http://www.invisibledisabilities.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/But-They-Look-So-Good.pdf

    Invisible No More! This is one of our articles published on Disability.gov. Print and share as many as you would like! http://www.invisibledisabilities.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Invisible-No-More.pdf

  • Georgia

    Thank you Lisa for your caring heart. You poured many hours into this week and you did an outstanding job. Thrilled to be a part of helping others

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      I agree, Georgia! What sacrifice and pain she endures to help so many!

  • http://www.facebook.com/IngridNZ1 Ingrid Menhennet Van Resseghem via Facebook

    What amazing people, really touching to watch and very helpful

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Ingrid! They mean more than you know! Thank you for stopping and leaving a comment. Hugs!

    • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

      Hi Ingrid!

      Thank you so much for taking a moment to watch and leave these very encouraging words! We hope that you are able to share it with friends and family.

      The IDA Team
      Invisible Disabilities Association

  • Rebecca Thomas

    Thank you.
    I have recently moved, so am having to start all over again with a new doctor – who’s initial response was to try and take me off anti-depressants, start me on a pain killer with drowsiness side effect, and get me back into full time work; all in one breath! Therefore your talk has definitely provided thoughts that I can pass on there. I too had a career, was a driven person, gave up a lot to go back to university, did a full time degree with three jobs alongside, wrote a book on learning disabilities, had it published, won an award for my book, I lived with the love of my life,I had a life and then I crashed :-( I lost my home, I lost my partner as he didn’t know how to cope, I lost me. What you said about no wanting to be like this is something I really need to push with the medical/political people who now hold the reins to my life. It’s the point I will start my doctors appointment with tomorrow :-)
    Being such an independent and proud person previously, I do have a VERY hard time accepting and asking for help. I pay my sister to do 2 hours cleaning/help a week, but most of the time we just end up chatting over coffee, basically because I don’t have the heart to ask her to do more. When neighbours ask if I need anything from the shops, my response if invariably ‘no, that’s ok’, when I really could do with some help.
    Finally I’d like to comment on your discussion about disability aids. I have a walking stick. I don’t need to use a walking stick, in fact it just adds to the pain because I end up leaning on it so my arm and legs are being used and pressure applied to them (I have Fibromyalgia), however if I use the stick all of a sudden I am visible and people take my illness seriously. A walking stick seems to make it ok for me not to work, even my doctor has a different tone if the stick is with me??? It’s understandable, but wrong. So I’d like to thank you all for all the hard work you put into trying to make the invisible visible xx

    PS Apologies for being a bit rambling. That’s the trouble when you have an illness that’s all in your head, it tends to get in the way of what is supposed to be in there hehehe

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      Hi Rebecca!

      Thank you so much for commenting! Yes, it is so hard when people have no clue how much we want our lives back and how hard we are trying to get them back!

      Regarding accepting help, to be honest, there have only been a handful of times people have offered to help in 21 years. A dear friend did offer this year to come do some dusting or something, but we did end up talking. Before that, it had been six years. We really struggle, because my husband works full-time and runs IDA evenings, weekends and holidays. I had to lower my housekeeping standards years ago, but now little gets done unless I pay someone. With our medical bills, that rarely happens. For a few years, I had a young gal in college coming for an affordable price, who was fragrance free, but she moved. Darn it!

      I hear you on the walking stick. I have a cane. I should use it for balance with MS, but it hurts my neck, back and shoulders. I have a walker, but it really only helps with having a place to sit and carry things; it hurts too. When I used to go to the store once in a while, I always used their motorized carts. And, when I do use these, people are much more helpful for sure!

      I love your sense of humor! All too true that our illnesses DO take up space in our heads. In fact, because the brain is always trying to process the illness, pain and such, that is why it has a hard time focusing on tasks, memory, etc. … brain fog. Hugs my new friend!

    • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

      Hi Rebecca!

      We are so very sorry for all you have lost! You do sound a lot like Sherri with her very goal-oriented life. When a person has a background of being a go-getter, we would think it would help loved ones know that they would never give those things up, unless it was in fact very real and serious. However, as Sherri found, many do not make that connection … especially those who do not know the person.

      We hope you are able to find out what is causing your symptoms and can get some relief soon!

      The IDA Team
      Invisible Disabilities Association

      • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

        Admin plz delete. Thanks!

    • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

      Hi Rebecca!

      We are so very sorry for all you have lost! You do sound a lot like Sherri with her very goal-oriented life. When a person has a background of being a go-getter, we would think it would help loved ones know that they would never give those things up, unless it was in fact very real and serious. However, as Sherri found, many do not make that connection … especially those who do not know the person.

      The IDA Team
      Invisible Disabilities Association

  • Wendy

    Thank you! Your video was encouraging. I’m still in the early stages of trying to get diagnosed and it’s so frustrating when others say I don’t look sick or have the same expectations of me being able to acomplish the same tasks as before I get sick such as making dinner, cleaning the bathroom. Even getting out of bed is a chore some days. Thank you again…I feel that there has been a bright spot in my day today after watching this.

    • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

      Hi Wendy! You are not alone! Sadly, it seems the majority of loved ones do not understand. It is a challenging process to say the least! Thank you so much for watching the video and for letting us know you had a bright spot in your day! Hugs!

    • http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org The IDA Team

      Hi Wendy!

      We are so sorry for all you are going through! People tend to think a person needs to look like they do when they have a fever and the flu. They do not understand that a person battling a disorder or disease doesn’t usually look the same as someone battling a virus. We do hope you find the cause of your condition and are able to get some relief soon!

      The IDA Team
      Invisible Disabilities Association

  • http://www.SherriConnell.com Sherri

    Hi Rebecca!

    Thank you so much for commenting! Yes, it is so hard when people have no clue how much we want our lives back and how hard we are trying to get them back!

    Regarding accepting help, to be honest, there have only been a handful of times people have offered to help in 21 years. A dear friend did offer this year to come do some dusting or something, but we did end up talking. Before that, it had been six years. We really struggle, because my husband works full-time and runs IDA evenings, weekends and holidays. I had to lower my housekeeping standards years ago, but now little gets done unless I pay someone. With our medical bills, that rarely happens. For a few years, I had a young gal in college coming for an affordable price, who was fragrance free, but she moved. Darn it!

    I hear you on the walking stick. I have a cane. I should use it for balance with MS, but it hurts my neck, back and shoulders. I have a walker, but it really only helps with having a place to sit and carry things; it hurts too. When I used to go to the store once in a while, I always used their motorized carts. And, when I do use these, people are much more helpful for sure!

    I love your sense of humor! All too true that our illnesses DO take up space in our heads. In fact, because the brain is always trying to process the illness, pain and such, that is why it has a hard time focusing on tasks, memory, etc. … brain fog. Hugs my new friend!

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  • http://twitter.com/lisajcopen/status/248889624225775616/ L Copen Illness Min (@lisajcopen)

    @invdisabilities seminar HIT HOME w/over 500 of U! #iiwk12 gives chance 2 talk openly http://t.co/Ojb6bFPq

  • http://twitter.com/LarryLMiller/status/249567120655011841/ Larry Miller (@LarryLMiller)

    Video: What to Say (And Not Say!) to a Chronically Ill Person http://t.co/Kx5cEWsh

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