Let’s all play Chronic Illness Bingo!

23 Nov

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

So far, I’ve heard well-meaning but uninformed people say just about every one of these “helpful” things – so I could pretty darned quickly fill out my own Bingo card. How about you?

P.S.  If you have ever at any time found yourself saying any of these out loud to a person living with a chronic illness that you know nothing about, consider first learning more about it before opening your mouth. Start by reading “But You Don’t Look Sick”, the essay by Christine Miserandino that started the Spoonies movement of patients living with invisible illness.  You’re welcome.

Bingo card courtesy of Positivity In Pain


See also:


25 Responses to “Let’s all play Chronic Illness Bingo!”

  1. Rebecca S October 8, 2017 at 11:02 am #

    “It’s not real”? – that’s awesome!


  2. Karyn Anthoine February 8, 2015 at 8:04 am #

    The worst comments I heard were in our staffroom at college.

    Colleagues are jealous since September because the school chef makes a special plate for me for lunch with… only salad!

    I heard many hurtful things because they can’t get a healthy plate – it’s like being surrounded by primary school kids.

    I would swap any day my diabetes & heart problems for their yummy unhealthy lunches!!!


  3. Brenda Midkiff November 27, 2014 at 4:46 am #

    You hit the nail on the head. I had friends who decided they just had to give up on me because I was never well enough for them. 10 heart surgeries later, I finally have color in my face now I get, well I almost gave up on you but now you look well so it’s time for me to invade your space and suck what little energy you have managed to regain and suck the life out of you. I think not, I come first as does my invisible illness.


    • Carolyn Thomas November 27, 2014 at 6:07 am #

      Hi Brenda – it can be hurtful when so-called “friends” give up on you because you’re not well. But I’m thinking they were not your real friends in the first place.


  4. Elizabeth Y., RN, BSN November 26, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    “You can’t be on a diet, it’s the holidays!” I heard this one today when I turned down pizza at work.

    Well, yes I can be on a diet, because I am tired of being sick and feeling bad when I eat certain foods.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Irene November 23, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    I liked this post as well. I have multiple allergies, and low energy, and live in an area where moulds and pollens are plentiful year round. I also am older but this situation has been like this for over forty years. I have friends that want to meet for lunch and ask me a week in advance as to the availability for that day. For them it is simple, but I tell them I will have to see how I feel that morning, whether or not I am up to it. It is very hard to understand for them since they have a body that is not changeable for the most part. And mine is. The way I view it is that they will be friends if they like me, whether or not I commit to having lunch a week in advance or not. It is frustrating for me, but I understand the situation pretty well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sandy Schmucker November 23, 2014 at 2:08 pm #


    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sue November 23, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    Love it, love it, love it. It is so true I have heard things said about me to my daughter, that your mum is like she is because she needs to eat the right food and exercise. My daughter soon told her that is not true. I have only put on weight since I spent 52 days in & out of hospital. Trying to get back on your feet is difficult at the best of times, just as you think the Beast has gone to sleep, he raises his head and just reminds you that you do have a heart problem.

    Mmm not nice, will post the chart on my wall if that’s ok.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Helen Samia November 23, 2014 at 7:41 am #

    Oh yes, I have heard many of these!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Stella K November 23, 2014 at 6:13 am #

    If something is going wrong with my heart, it is not obvious. I can hide it as far as I can. It is not always easy to hide my discomfort but I can blame something else for it. I can blame weather, humidity or a common cold for feeling out of shape or if I can’t take a deep breath. I can avoid situations that can trigger my problem. I ask myself how long can I hide it from my coworkers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas November 23, 2014 at 6:34 am #

      Hello Stella – Such a common experience in those living with any invisible illness diagnosis…


  10. The Accidental Amazon November 23, 2014 at 6:11 am #

    Oh, this is great! So apt for so many of us. Definitely sharing this one.
    xo, Kathi

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Barbara Keddy November 23, 2014 at 5:18 am #

    OMG Carolyn: Congratulations on #6 of best heart blogs!!!! You are just too amazing! What would I do without your blogs to turn to?

    This latest one is brilliant and I will tell you it really applies to fibromyalgia, although less so to heart disease in my case. Somehow if a person says she has heart disease it is taken more seriously than something like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and other invisible conditions.

    Nonetheless, I love the bingo card. Since I am possibly the first person to comment, I win, hands down, and my card is filled to the brim!:-)

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Anthropology-News - August 10, 2017

    […] ….forager myths. This year, my students played a game of Forager Myth Bingo. (I was inspired by Chronic Illness Bingo from the blog, Heart Sisters, that I came across one day when I entered the rabbit hole of the… […]


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