By Shahana Hanif, thanks for contributing Emily Wynter
The purpose of this document is to name intentional ways for able-bodied friends to support friends with chronic illness(es) and (in)visible disabilities outside of just checking in about their day (the italicized is as important). Many of us struggle with naming what’s listed below; many of us (especially adults) struggle with access to support and care. The point of this list is to shift and transform the way we care and show up for our friends- so feel free to apply this guide in all your relationships. I envision creating a support network to help meet the needs of spoonies. *Please contribute to this list*:
- Accompany them to a doctor's appointment (sharing breakfast/lunch together before or after is a plus). Sit in when the doctor is meeting with your friend
- Help with grocery/medicine purchases + deliver to their homes. Support with funds if needed
- Read over / help write appeal letters when the medical institution is a pain in the ass about treatment, health insurance, and medicine costs
- Visit them routinely (at their place of choice)
- Offer to drive/pick up if you've got a car
- If they’re comfortable, rather than asking “how are you?,” ask them about their treatment process, check to know if they’re taking their meds, and how they’re doing emotionally/physically.
- Offer to be an emergency contact when the workplace/school/hospital/doctors are unable to reach your friend
- Share songs that lift their mood, videos of cute cat/kitty/puppy/seal/sloth/any cute animal they like, or if possible, recordings of you verbally sharing words of affirmation and healing with them, that you love them, that you fully accept them and think they are awesome/magical/any definition you are comfortable with.
- Read together. What worked when we were in grade school is still ok! Read a picture book of their choosing. Color in a coloring book.
- Read up to date articles and new development around different ability advocacy. Find an organization that is helpful in educating you and advocating for your friend(s).