The Chronically Ill Patient: 5 Ways To Advocate For Yourself

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5 Tips on Advocating for Yourself as a Chronically Ill Patient

1. Educate Yourself

Do your research. Knowledge is power! It allows you to participate in much needed conversations about treatments, medications, diagnoses, etc.

2. Create a List of Talking Points You Want to Hit During Your Appointment

It’s easy to forget certain questions when you’re at the doctor’s office. I prefer a physical list made of pen and paper, rather than a list in my phone notes. (But to each their own!)

3. Be Honest

As chronically ill humans, we are good at swallowing our pain and pretending we are okay…don’t do this. Open up. Tell them the truth. How is your physical health, REALLY? How is your mental health, REALLY?

4. Bring Someone With You to Appointments If You Can

A parent, a friend, a significant other, etc. An extra set of ears never hurts. Plus, they can help advocate for you. It doesn’t matter how old you are, sometimes we need support.

Many of us have fallen victim to medical gaslighting; in my experience, doctors are less likely to do this if someone else is in the room (that’s not to say it doesn’t still happen, but it might help).

5. If You Don’t Get What You Need From Your Doctor, Find a Second Opinion

You deserve to be heard, at the bare minimum.

I hope this little guide can help you navigate self-advocacy; it’s tricky and can be exhausting. But it’s a necessary skill to learn in our world.

Courtesy of Ashley Carnduff

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ashley Carnduff. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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