How long are you allowed to be unwell?

I am having one of those days - well a few actually and it occured to me to ask this question, and see what others think, or have experienced.

How long are you allowed to be unwell?

How long is it acceptable by family and freinds to be unwell before they ignore you, shout at you and treat you like you either do not exist or are just a complete pain .

How long before people are angry at you for being unwell.

How long before it is OK to shout at someone who is unwell , just because they are unwell.

what is an acceptable timeframe to be unwell - and when does it turn into a situation where you are no longer worthy of civil conversation.

When is it OK to treat someone who is unwell with complete disdain?

is it a a few days, a few months - does being unwell for more than 3 months mean you become a non-human?

How long before you can berate them and tell them " are you not better yet? surely you are not trying hard enough!"

I would be interested to hear what others think.

Big Hugs,


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19 Replies

  • Hi Mrs Somerset,

    I can't give you an acceptable answer, because its unacceptable that people who are supposed to care about you would put a time scale on how long you should be unwell.

    I really feel your hurt, and your pain, and my heart goes out to you at this time that you should have to ask this question.

    I hope that you are not in too much pain, and that you will be able to get some sleep, and maybe tomorrow you can speak to the people concerned and tell them how it makes you feel when they treat you like this.

    My reply isn't terribly helpful, but I just wanted you to know that there are people here who understand and care about how you feel.

    Love, Dina. Xx

  • Hi Mrs Somerset,

    I was worried when I read your post/questions, as the answer is simple NEVER.

    No one has the right to be treated like that, and I assume that by asking this question this is how you are been treated. Bless you. If you feel well enough tomorrow, prehaps you could talk to your GP or a relative or close friend who you could confide in, and then prehaps they would be able to help explain how you are feeling to the people who are treating you and making you feel like this. There is no time limit to how long we feel ill for, every flare is different and many of us has other medical issues as well. Please remember you have friends on here who you can talk to. Please don't let the verbal bullying knock your confidence. Thinking of you and send some hugs too. X

  • Hi Mrs_Somerset

    I have read your post and I was wondering if this is what is happening to you right now? If so, it is totally and completely unacceptable. If you truly love somebody then you would never treat them any other way than with love, respect and courtesy, and it is a simple of as that.

    If you had a relative with cancer, would you expect their family and loved one's to behave and react in the same way? Or if you had a relative with a mental incapacitation, again, the same?

    Please do not let anybody treat you in a way that makes you feel lesser as a person or valued lesser for being who and what you are. You are a wonderful and amazing person who deserves to be treated as such.

    All my hopes and dreams for you

    Ken x

  • I like inkspot's first line.

    It all goes with "you don't look ill". . . ."well, you don't look stupid"

    I'm constantly amazed by peoples unkind reactions.

    Coincidentally work notched up the attack last night and I can see me gone in a couple of weeks.

    Compassion is still in the dictionary but not peoples hearts.

    There's no "sorry for the pain" it's "do you know how long you've had off this year?" - well, I'm kind of aware, yes"

  • Oh dear, time to send the big guns I think :) A lot of years back my hubby was off work with CFS, he was meant to have a managed return to work with the support of his union , and boss...didn't happen and then the union decided it was unfair on other staff and withdrew their support :o that was about 18 years ago and I think you would have a stronger case but it is very frustrating. It all comes back to if you don't look sick as you say :)

  • Hi fenbadger,

    I am sorry to hear that your work is being like that, it is hard for others to understand what it is like ( hence the question) and of course you know how long you have been off - you are living the pain.

    If your work cannot appreciate your value when you are able to attend, they are mad, and erhaps another employer would value your contribution more.

    Big gentle HUgs,


  • The big laugh is one employer and their occupational health practitioner do, the other doesn't.

    There are so many posts and questions on this topic and it's funny (peculiar) to find myself in the position of following my own advice. Now I'll see how good it is.

    I did wonder what prompted your question.

    I'm fairly active at the moment and although there's no guarantee I'll go down the road of immobility, it seems most fibro sufferers do just that.

    The MS thing is kind of annoying as its a more severe condition but has a lot of similarities in terms of symptoms if nothing else.

    I went to C.A.B. only to find it closed :( Should have found out first.

    Another thing is some sufferers of long term conditions also seem short on sympathy. I'm not asking for special treatment, just the kind of consideration due to a normal person who would rather be supporting myself.

  • I have to agree, if you are ill you are ill, your family and friends should understand and there should be no time limits. Unfortunately people are still people and not necessarily respectful or sympathetic, especially if they are fit and able. Thank goodness for the good people here, at least we understand :)

  • sometimes family are worse than strangers. I think it may be because they haven't seen the changes inside. I have a relative with MS but zero sympathy.

  • Mrs Somerset,

    Pain and exhaustion have no limit, attitudes such as you have encountered are detrimemtal to our mentsl health, and consequently our physical health, making us worse. I left my husband and mow live with my 14 year old daughter as the negativity I had to endure was making me worse and made me feel worthless. I used to hate going home and would find excuses to stay out even when i felt awful, i remember taking the dog for walks at 10/11/12 at night just to get away from my partner. It was very hurtful.

    Is there anyone you could get to talk to the people in your life so they understand, a gp, nurse etc, or maybe print infor,ation off the internet snd give it to them. I don' t think othrrs comprehend how hurtful they can be.

  • I am in total agreemnts with all the responses you have had. When do we get unwell?

    When do we get over diabetes, MS, a heart condition, bad eyesight? I took my fiancee for doctor's visit. He understands better, but will never truly know what I am experiencing. But his support is solid.

    I gave your post a "recommend because I saw in it the pain that many, many of us experience, knowing beter than our loved ones that we are not going to "recover." We can deal and we can accept and we can grieve for our once, al the way, healthy bodies.

    You'll learn to live with it. You'll learn self-care, limitations, voicing your frustration, and less and less, you will feel the pain. Not always; can't promise that. Thanks for coming hear to voice your anger and hurt. You have come to the right place, a supportive group of people who understand.

    I read guilt into your words and I ask you, don't turn this inward, please. Don;t blame yourself or even those who love you. They may be as frutrated in their own way, not knowing what to do to help. Let them know that empathy is what you need. We love you. We know.

  • Hi clare-hart,

    you are right - I do blame myself. When I married my husband, I was fit, active, lots of energy and so he has expectations of me, that I can cook, clean, iron, full time job, look after our children, and look after my husband.

    I used to be able to do a full days work, come home, dust, hoover, do wasing, ironing, cook dinner, take my edlest to and from his hockey games, and still have time for my husband.

    Now I am stuck in bed, and cannot even wash my own hair.

    My husband did not do anything wrong, he did not make me ill, but I am so lonely, at home alone, in constant pain, and when he comes home he just ignores me, I am lucky if he says a handful of words to me a week now, and I just wondered if this was normal, if after a few days / weeks / months our family just does not have time for us anymore and find ignoring us is the easiet thing to do?

  • Not so much ignoring you but if they look at you they have to recognise your condition and deal with an awkward feeling. It's not easy. And it's never easy to see a loved one suffer.

    We vowed "in sickness and in health" but often don't realise that may well really apply one day. There's quite a spectrum in how people deal with that, from full support to "in denial".

  • Good question and answers. There is also the frustration of trying new things, just in case something helps, My boys have been amazingly good and so has my husband (most of the time), I have found my parents and sister the most annoyed with me. My mother was always going on about how wrong it was that I used my energy on spending time with my sons rather than doing housework. So glad that I did not listen to her.

    PS wonder about GP as well how sympathetic she is.

  • In the case of the GP which I have now left, it was about 10 minutes. I don't know why I stayed with him for such a long time, but I thought I could change his mind - it was impossible. Have a new GP now and much better.

  • Dear Mrs Somerset,

    As long as it takes, Anyone who is caring gives as long as needed, am concerned that you had to ask this question, ............sadly, not everyone has the tolerance to be supportive for a length of time.

    I do hope you are getting the support you need.

    Best BisB

  • Hi I am a little apprehensive about writing this as I don't won't you to act in haste but , I was married for almost 25 years my ex husband had health issues that made him on occasion very cruel , I was made to feel worth less I raised 3 children ran a house cared for him in sickness of the head and body and alcoloh . When I needed him when my father was dying he looked else where for the attention he needed , I have been on my own for the last 7? Years and in the last few months I have been given the news I most proberly have UCTD along with fibro and chronic fatigue , I live on my own most of the time and yes I get lonely ,but you no what I thank god I am . He would of been to the outside world the perfect husband but when the door would of been shut it would of been hell , I might add he had a very good job and to the outside world he is very successful but when it comes to caring for someone else he just could not do it ,he only ever has put his own needs first .i might I am not a man hater I a number of friends who are married or living with the most lovely men ánd I have a wonderful son and my father and grandfather were both absolutely wonderful . Please look after your self ,be kind to your self perhaps give women aid a ring get some professional advise, don't talk to people who are close to him , start to think about what would be right for you it's easy for people like me to say A B C and for us to tell you are stories , maybe counciling would help you both , take your time don't act in haste or temper , my children are wonderful that are good and kind they help when they can take care mrs Somerset x

  • Hi Shadows-walker

    I have read your reply to Mrs_Somerset and I have found it quite emotional and inspiring. I have always believed that true love conquers all. However, I have known people who have behaved in exactly the same way as your husband did, and they have broken the hearts of their partners who truly believed that they would be together their entire lives.

    As you know I look after my wife who has Primary Progressive MS, and I could not imagine my life without her there for me to care for, and to love. From the bottom of my heart I believe that life is about the people we have in our sphere and our hearts.

    Take care my friend and all my hopes and dreams for you

    Ken x

  • Thank you ken ,it was hard to write it's something I try to forget about ,but I felt mrs Somerset needed to here it ,I will be honest if I could take it down in a couple of days I would but it's there now ,I just wanted to help her x

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