Handy responses to commonly heard phrases

Warning: contains GIFs.

Do you have a chronic illness? Have you heard the same tired comments 50 times already this year? (No, I’m not contagious, Jan.) Instead of having to think up answers to the same old questions time and time again, I’ve provided a handy guide for those phrases that crop up time and time again.

“But youΒ look so well!”

Thanks, I like to keep it fresh by bathing in donkey milk* underΒ moonlight.

A GIF from an animated cartoon. Woman with dark upended crescent moon on her forehead and long, green hair, speaks as she puts her head in her hands. Caption reads, being as beautiful as I am is such a curse.


“I wish I could sit at home all day like you, instead of going to work!”

Have you seen Freaky Friday? Let’s make it happen.

An image from the film Freaky Friday. A middle aged woman, Jamie Lee Curtis, and a teenage girl, Lindsay Lohan, face the camera. Curtis has her hands up to her face in a horrified expression, Lohan looks at her with concern.
It would be much like the movie, except I steal your life and run away forever.


“But you don’t look sick!”

And you don’t look like a jackass. Guess we were both wrong!

A GIF of a woman speaking and nodding emphatically. Caption reads, you don't know shit.


“You’re such an angry, bitter cripple/bitch/insert-perjorative-here.”

Why, thank you. I do try.

A GIF of Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. He looks backwards to the camera with a scene of destruction behind him. He speaks, caption reads, I'm always angry.


“There isn’t any such thing as chronic illness, only people who want attention from their doctors.”

What can I say? The sterile waiting room with Neil Mitchell blaring, the disdainful receptionists, the blood tests, being told there’s nothing wrong with me and it’s all in my head – it all adds up to a certainΒ je ne sais quoi.

A GIF of Spoongebob Squarepants walking backwards out of a room while making shooting finger signs.


“You know the pharmaceutical companies conspire to keep you sick, so they can profit from you?” (Bonus points if they mention cannabis oil.)


A GIF of Stephen Colbert talking and pointing emphatically to camera. Caption reads, you can go fuck yourself.
This is an acceptable alternate response.


Postie: “you answer the door very quickly!”

Yeh, my life is just like Rear Window.

(NOTE: don’t use this one if you like your postie. Ours gave a nervous laugh, never spoke to me again, then changed his route.)

An image from the film Rear Window - a man with grey hair, seated, holds large binoculars up to his eyes are looks through them.
And I didn’t mean like Grace Kelly’s costumes.



*This is actually a thing. See: Asian beauty communities.

Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic feminist and disability advocate.

15 thoughts on “Handy responses to commonly heard phrases”

  1. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Bless! Thankyou so much! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ All the reasons I tend to avoid most people in one easy guide. Now if I could just remember some of these responses at the right time..


    1. I’m pretty bad at that too! Last time someone said “but you look fine!” I replied, “that’s what everyone says!” with a grimace so strong he practically ran out of the building πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


  2. Heh… πŸ˜€ The “you look so well” is one I hear frequently. I prefer smiling and saying “thank you, it would be too depressing if I look the way I feel. Plus, I believe looking good is good for my soul.” And also “I am working on it being more than skin deep, hopefully it will spread inwards.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope you don’t mind that I shared this on Facebook. I have a dear friend who struggles with CFS, and she HAS to see it! If you do mind, let me know and I’ll gladly take it down.


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