Explaining adult onset asthma to friends and family

Why aren't you getting better? What do the doctors say? Isn't there anything else they can do? This can't be asthma, this bad?, to come on so fast…? What are you taking? How did this happen? Why did you get asthma? Did they ever get to the bottom of this? It has to be more than asthma. You were the healthiest person I know, what in the world? I know this is depressing, what else can you do? Do you need another  opinion? Can they fix this? 

Care to contribute?! The good meaning ones who care for us must feel blindsided to hearing this just happens and seemingly without reason. I explain the lifetime allergies to them and progressive sob over the last two years and coughing incessantly at night. They can only relate to a couple weeks of Claritin one year in the spring. They don't understand that part.

How do you explain something that intruded into your life one day and set up permanent residence? It's not easy. Even the most intelligent of folks I know including a doctor I work with scratch their head and go "huh". That's about how I feel now 9 months into this. I'm on prednisone again. I had an attack, mind you  semi mild one Sunday and the inflammation is pretty good. This is why I take so much meds my legs and feet and toes cramp up multiple times a day most days and take shots that are making my hair fall out, skin itch and so tired I need 10 hours of sleep some days. If I don't stay on top of it constantly I get major set backs. How do you explain you never know what you will be like in a few hours much less tomorrow? I'm losing friends I think….I'm not as fun. I haven't danced in 5 months and I've been out four times since. I've had to shop in the electric buggy and I'm not ashamed. I've had to ask for help with retrieving objects from another room because I was too weak. I've had to take Ativan because I was afraid to go to sleep worrying I'd wake up suffocating again in a bad attack. You can't explain all this but I know you guys understand and I'm one of the milder cases here. I worry that year after year I will be one of the sickest. Will I take it with grace and be an inspiration or crumble to fear? I don't want my loved ones to know this part. This is a chronic illness and unlike cancer or MS or others people struggle with accepting the permanence and reality of the debilitating severe cases that come on so fast. It seems rare and hard to swallow when you meet the first person you know with it I guess. 

So, if you have a stellar article, succinct and  on point I can share or reference please tell me. I'm wary of the inquiries some days and need something else to "splain it" for me. 

Thanks for the vent or rant, not sure which, lol. 




Comments 78

  • Shea

    I found this on How to Maintain a Relationship with your friend with severe pet allergies:

    I found this on simple ways to be supportive of friends and family with severe asthma:


    I empathize with you Gigi…. I have lost relationships with some friends and family after health crises … but what I realize is that I used to be such a caring person I attracted a certain breed of people toward me, who used me and took advantage of me. When I became ill, those were the first to leave me. I just have to say, good riddance. Then I learned some people were willing to make adjustments in their lives, and learn about my struggles and what they can do to help. Those people I love and will always remember the kindness, and I will never leave them in their time of struggle. There are some relationships that just changed, maybe that were close but now are more distacrise some that are neutral and do not help nor harm me. That is fine. And there are some that become stronger. Some that are brand new…. That the struggle itself made more beautiful to a point I almost dont even mind having the disease because something amazing grew from it… like a positive side effect. Knowledge, wisdom, love, enlightenment, truth (even the hard truths that come when you lose certain people in the struggle). Changes can be difficult, but I say try to flow with it, and try to keep faith… mostly in yourself. Remember that you are beautiful, and fun, and there are so many great things you can sa, and people will see those things more than what you cannot do any longer, and those things will bring you joy… finding them can be challenging but also fun. 

  • Mandy

    Well said Shea! 

    I agree that relationships change and people often surprise you. For me a huge piece of this has been my own personal battle of acceptance. That I will most likely not be the person I was before all this (physically speaking). Realistic expectations for myself and for my loved  ones is something I work at daily.  I wish there was a manual on how to cope to tailored specifically to us each individually…And a big cartoon hand that reaches out to slap people when they say ignorant things. Sorry but it helps me to cope to laugh.

    I empathize Gigi. Relationships are hard enough and then toss in this beast! There is a component to this that is invisible. While my husband could hear me coughing intermittently, he couldn'the understand that the rest of the time I was breathing through a straw. I could feel the mucous rattling so loud, I thought surely he must hear this…and the answer is he can't hear or feel this. I asked him and he gave a blank vacant look…"No". I even offered up the ole stethoscope.  He's not ready for that I wish he could be more empathetic about this disease but it's a work in progress. Part of me hopes he never truly understands because that would mean he was living with it too. Just be honest and communication is the key. 

    After repeated inquiries and "it's just asthma" comments, I have adopted the phrase "Anything uncontrolled is harmful". Most of us here are the lucky "atypical lot"

    I have been reading "Sick and tired of being sick and tired" by Donahue and Siegel. And while there are some things that don't apply, there are a lot of helpful and validating notions. I would love to hear about any other good reads our friends may have!

    Chronic severe illness is game changer that no amount of education can prepare you for. It is such a personal journey for each of us. I just have to say that I am so thankful for You and all of our friends here that have helped me to feel not "so alone".


  • K8sMom2002

    , Gigi. I think Shea and Mandy have said it well.

    I'll add that any sort of loss in life is something we have to grieve — not just us, but our families. There are those pesky stages of grief for both us and our families to get through.

    I learned a lot from DD's food allergy to corn (didn't get officially diagnosed until she was 12) and her bleeding disorder (didn't get officially diagnosed until she was 9).

    Since they don't actually live in our bodies or with this every. single. day., well,  I think our families tend to get stuck in the "denial" and/or the "bargaining" portion of grief. 

    My dad especially — he said many of the things you started this thread off with. They don't have to live with it every day, so it's easier to deny it — until something pops up and forces them to face it. Something like your, "No, I can't go dancing tonight, because my lungs don't feel like it" or (this happened last year) "No, Dad, we can't go to your low country boil because it won't be safe for DD — not even if she picks out the corn on her plate."

    My dad shifts from "you're making a big deal out of nothing" to "you need to find the right doctor/treatment/woo-woo medicine and fix it already" and then back again, all in the same phone call.

    A less than charitable view would be that he doesn't like the way my family's medical issues impact the way he lives his life. 

    But I choose to believe that he does love me — he just really, really wants to fix this so that he doesn't have to worry. 

    My standard answer these days is just to say, "We're following our doctor's advice and we're doing the best we can. That's all we can do and all anyone can expect." 

    Like Shea and Mandy have said, there are people in our lives who help and there are those that hinder, and it's surprising who is who. People are like tea bags — you don't know how strong they are until they get into a little hot water.

    Since grief is not a checkbox and we don't "finish" it in a linear fashion, I've realized that there are days when there's nothing I can do but accept the situation — only to be faced with a family member or friend who's slipped back into denial or the "fix-it" mode of bargaining. And then some days, I'm raging against acceptance, and that of COURSE will be the day my family will be all zen-like.  


  • GigiGibson

    Thank u all for such helpful feedback. One of the first things I say when ppl say "yeah but who else has it like this? I don't know anybody" . I say, "I do!". What a comfort you all are to me that I am not alone and you get it. I thank you again. 

  • K8sMom2002

    You are most certainly NOT alone! We definitely get it, and we definitely know that we're not unicorns.

  • Jen

    Gigi- There are definitely people that don't "get it" no matter what "it" is.  I have encountered this with some of the bigger challenges that our family has dealt with – food allergies, cancer, autism.  The ignorant comments are the worst, but I am getting better at not letting them bother me.  I think if I do enough "self care" type things – getting enough sleep, working out, taking "me" time, that can help me have a calmer response.  As for the wanting to be helpful comments (ie, have you tried xyz treatment? or what about going to this dr?), they can be pretty frustrating too.  It's like the person is implying that you're not doing enough.  I am trying to see those comments in a different light these days  - the person is just making them because they are worried about things and want the best for us.

  • K8sMom2002

    That's very interesting and good to know, Jen … I really think that might work for me. I know I tend to not feel the need to go over-the-top in my reaction to a dumb or thoughtless comment if I'm well-rested and not under a lot of stress. But I hadn't really thought about it in a preventive sort of way … 

  • Jen

    @GigiGibson - Did you have any of these conversations over Thanksgiving?

    I think that as we are in the holiday season, we may be spending more time with family and friends.  We may be having more of these types of conversations.

    How does everyone else explain their asthma to others?

  • GigiGibson

    Well, I had a little conversation with my well meaning Mom who thinks I need something for anxiety. I may well if I don't get better. Truth is, I am on prednisone and when I am in a flare I can't see the end and see this just repeating and it is nerve wracking. The breathing is not from anxiety, it is the disease, but if I have to do this forever I may need a chill pill from time to time to get me by.

    She apologized. No, this is just me and hubby going one more time "are they missing something?" I suppose this is normal at this stage. Right now my arms ache too bad to type so I will be brief, thanks for the love yall. Jen, if I could walk in and out of a store I would soooooo go treat myself today!

  • Jen

    I hope your mom comes around some.  As for the store, there's always online shopping.  My wallet knows that oh too well.

  • K8sMom2002

    It's hard enough to have those types of conversations with family when you're NOT on prednisone, much less when you ARE. 

    One thing that has worked for me is that my family has learned to listen when I say, "Not now — this is NOT the time to ask me that now."

    I have to be good about circling back and talking about what was on their minds when I am feeling more together. But giving myself permission to NOT have to react and respond to their every question or suggestion — at least not immediately — has been a sanity saver and a "feelings saver" because I know if I answer right then, it will NOT be pretty.

  • GigiGibson

    That's great advice! Thanks! She comes today to help me out and I'm so glad. She'd take this for me in a heartbeat. I just have to control me:-)

  • Mandy

    Great advice Cynthia! Slipping that into the back pocket

    You are not alone Gigi! After such a long battle with this beast, my anxiety levels have exponentially increased. The Prednisone…I seriously blame everything on it. It's so hard on the body in all aspects. As for Mom's, I think they just don't like seeing us sick. I know I certainly want to take my littles pain/illness away. Hope the visit is good!

  • Jen

    Cynthia – I like that advice.  My problem is that I have so much going on that I forget to circle back.  Guess I need people to write me a note and/or remind me later.

    Mandy – That anxiety can be a beast, can't it?  Can you take some "me time" to help you better manage things? Even a few minutes here or there that you weren't already doing?

  • Mandy

    I take as much as I can I have difficulty literally doing nothing all day and then telling my husband and kids to buzz off when they get home. But there is not a time schedule for feeling like garbage…

  • Shea

    I get mad when I feel people get mad at me for being sick. We went around the table naming one thing we are thankful for at Thanksgiving, and my mom said nothing she was thankful for at her turn, just " well I just hoped SOME people in this family would have better health and .. hopefully by next Thanksgiving" –it was obvious she was talking about me, and I had done more to help with Thanksgiving dinner than anyone else and I did nothing negative, nothing to draw attention to my health. It made me sooooo mad. I told myself to bring it up to her later, said nothing then, bared the stares.. but I haven't brought it up. I do not want people to put timelines on my illness or even freaking pray for me anymore.  I just want acceptance of where I am at now as a person. I hate being spotlighted, especially my health. I hate waiting or feeling I am letting people down by not getting better fast enough, always pressuring me when its not in my control. Just let me be. Love me right where I am. I don't care that I gained 100lbs in the past 5 years from being on prednisone, I am just thankful to be alive, so mom, stop hinting at buying me weights or doing yoga or joining you aerobics class and  never eating sweets because I eat healthier than I ever have in my life and I am on my feet and carrying things and gardening, so I do not go to the gym, I don't need to, I have a 5 year old. So what I do not look like a Barbie, I am not trying to pick up a man to take care of my son and I, so what I am not married to the jerk who treated us wrong… I am alive, I fought for disability Ssi help and got it, and I take care of my son 99% of his life so far…  And I have given them their only grandbaby, and unlike my older brother and his unemployed wife and their no kids and perfect health (on paper), I made 3 dishes to their NONE, and helped with dishes while he watched football And she slept on the couch— as freaking usual. But my mom had nothing to be freaking thankful for. I have a lot to be thankful for, and I would like those things to be spotlighted: my son, my ability to care for him and myself, living near family, having a roof… And I do a LOT for my family despite my health. And disability $$ gives me an advantage too as a single mother… I am able to follow my dream of staying home with my son and raising him and homeschooling him, and teaching him how to manage his own allergies and health in a a better manner than I was ever taught. I just wish she would have said any of those things if she was going to spotlightME at the table (I had to vent, I had been holding that in, thank you all for listening).

  • K8sMom2002
    Shea posted:

    Just let me be. Love me right where I am. 

    , Shea. What you say says it all.

    I hear your frustration at people not seeing your efforts, not seeing the positives in your life. It's as though they think that because you've moved to a point where you can see any positives that you're giving up. It's as though they see you as someone who needs "fixing."

    It goes back, I think, to that old beast grief. A chronic disorder is a loss not just for the person who has it, but the entire family. 

    Parents have this vision of the future for their kids. I see that in myself for my own DD. We want our kids to be happy and healthy and to match the vision of the future we didn't even realize we had. 

    And then comes reality. Disappointment = expectations minus reality. It sounds like your mom had high hopes and dreams for you, and maybe she feels guilty or sad that those dreams didn't come true. 

    In the ideal world, she WOULD get over those dreams and love you for who you are. And maybe on her best days, she does. 

    Hearing you say this helps me remember that my daughter's future is hers to write, and that I should, as you put it, just let her be and love her where she is — or will be.

  • GigiGibson

    Oh shea that is like the one thing that if I heard it from anyone in my life right now I'd crumble in a heap. I'm so sorry , love. That was cruel, no matter the intention it was so very cruel. I'm 13 pounds heavier in two months, irritable, emotional, unwell and things are not getting better for me. My health could improve but there is nothing promising that right now. I could not walk to my mailbox right now if I had to. This is my life, I am doing everything possible and it's not enough. I told my doctor and husband yesterday I am almost there, I can't maintain this much longer. Where? There. A place where I can't continue to struggle to maintain this full time job, my obligations of being in charge of the house and being well enough to do anything but rest and Medicate most days. 

    so now, my friends you were here awhile back and have learned to live with this demon. I admire you all and am so thankful I am not alone. I just wish I could take away your pain like you help me with mine. Shea, I am going to pray for you, a prayer of thanks. You have been a blessing to us. I love you and hope you know you are a super mom, a creative wonder, a talented and determined person of whom I am privileged to know. 

    Now you just go have a super day with that boy!

  • K8sMom2002

    Gigi, both you and Shea (and everyone here) are blessings to me.

    I hear the despair in your words. I have had days like that, days where it's the "no, never" that taunts me.

    Some of the worst "no, never" days were because I felt alone, with no one who understood. I can't make that walk to the mailbox any easier, but I CAN tell you that you're not alone. And we DO understand.

  • Jen

    Shea – That is so maddening that your mother made a comment like that, particularly when there seemed to be no reason to criticize you.  I commend you for recognizing your own accomplishments and all that you can do.  So much better to focus on the positive.  Hugs~

    Gigi – I hope that you can find your new normal soon that still allows you to do things you love and want to do.  Hugs~

  • GigiGibson

    Thanks jen and everyone. Today was crazy and amazing. I still have jelly legs and sob but I made it up, nebbed and me, mom and my 3 yo great nephew head to get my grandlady at 11:30. We then ate crap food (yummy fries) at Mickey Ds then headed to Trader Joe's with me on the electric cart, 2 year old in my lap, mom with the 3 year old and a busy crowd. We made it out ok and headed to Walmart. Two bathrooms trips, two carts, two hours and $273 later we were out with food, magic wands, play lizards, m&ms, candy canes and a mission to get some prep work done. I had to neb and rest up again but I then cut the brownies into trees, decorated the table and made more decor for the table. 

    Tomorrow is the party, wish us luck. Ended up I did the planning and decorating but my hubby and mom are doing all the cooking and cleaning. They must love me:-)

  • Kathy P

    Glad you got everything done! Hope the party goes well and you feel well enough to enjoy it.

  • Jen

    Gigi – Sounds like the shopping trip was a little fun.  I hope things went well during the party and you didn't have to do too much explaining. 

  • GigiGibson

    Well the next day my bestie and mom both asked about another opinion and said they feel like they are missing something. Bestie works with someone who used to do neuro. You know the old story, if you are a hammer……

  • K8sMom2002

    And unfortunately all of us non-nails get hammered by good intentions!  

    The thing that has worked the best for me is just to say, "Thank you. Can you print that info off for me? That way I can read it."

    It does two things:

    • Sometimes they forget to print out the material. I've found they don't bring it up if THEY'RE the ones who have forgotten it.
    • If they do print it out, you can graciously accept it and read it during your own time. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and that has happened to me on the rare occasion. We found out about Singulair and reports of increased nosebleeds thanks to a similar exchange with my dad. If it's total bunk, you can trash it. 
  • Jen

    Cynthia –  I have often used similar delay tactics.  While all the unsolicited advice/questioning is really aggravating, I know I need to work on not letting it get to me so much.  I need to remember to say things like:

    • Sure, I'll take a look at that.
    • Might be something to bring up with my doctor at the next appointment.
    • Thanks for passing this along.

    Basically…whatever ends the conversation quickly.  While there may be some nugget of wisdom in what they're saying/asking/passing along, I still don't often like discussing those sorts of things then and there, if you know what I mean.

  • Amber

    Oh this is a great thread in terms of helping others

    I hear this one a lot " You know if you cut down on dairy, you wouldn't cough so much." <— except I don't even freaking take in dairy because of an intolerance.

    Forgive me as my thoughts are scattered right now. I have been in a fog the past few days since I have had this bout with pneumonia. I have found that when I am on Prednisone, that I get foggy. It does its job, but I can't seem to focus mentally.

    Anyway, I do like to think that people mean well with their unsolicited advice. But it still makes me mad and it is hurtful. No, I don't think I need another opinion. I know what I need is to follow my asthma plans, period.  I also get frustrated when good friends tell me that I need to get better  so I can do X, Y,Z. Well sure. I wish I could go out on NYE this year with my husband. I don't see that happening. And you know what? It is COMPLETELY ok.

    It is interesting as to how my husband and I deal with this as a team. He has Ankylosing Spondylitis- an autoimmune disease that is going to severely disable him at some point. By the time he was 34, he had both hips replaced (he's 37 now). He has a funny walk, odd posture and has other symptoms that stand out to people. His family and my family too, have made comments about it because they just don't understand it. So, now that he and I are both battling autoimmune issues we know we at least have each other's back and support that.

  • K8sMom2002

    It IS a good thread, isn't it?? Hugs on your DH's battle with Ankylosing spondylitis — it can't be much fun when both you guys are under the weather, but I'm glad he has your back!

    People do tend to push their priorities on to others, don't they? They see the world from their perspective and not from other people's. My sis, for instance, thought it was just terrible that I stayed home and rested instead of going after-Christmas shopping with them. But truth be told, I was much happier to stay home — and they had more fun, too! 

  • Amber

    One thing that I have truly loved though is how supportive our medical teams have been of us. For example: when DH had one of his surgeries, one of the nurses remarked about how I knew exactly what he needed and what would provide the most comfort- things that a hospital nurse might not know specifically about him. She said, "It is wonderful to see how supportive you are of each other." Even in his post surgical state at that time, he checked in with me frequently to make sure my breathing was ok. He knows stress is a trigger. That is just one example.

    My docs love that DH wants to know about any updates to the asthma plan,etc. (He doesn't go for many visits at all, but does like to know if there are major changes so we can be prepared.)

  • K8sMom2002

    He's a keeper, that's for sure! And it sounds like YOU'RE a keeper, too. Empathy really helps a bunch when it comes to helping a loved one with any sort of chronic disorder. 

    I'm glad your doctors help you help each other.  

    What would you like to see your other family members do more of or do less of? If you could wave a magic wand, what would they "get?"

  • Amber

    Mercy. For myself, I wish they could understand that somedays, I simply don't have the energy to interact. It takes a lot of energy to breathe correctly. It doesn't mean that I don't want to have fun or engage with them. It means I am simply too fatigued to do it and that's ok. I wish my friends and co workers would "get" that  just because I have a cough doesn't mean that I am sick with a terrible infectious agent. Most likely, it is my asthma cough. I know what it is. Don't tell me to go to the doc right away. It is like they think I don't have the intelligence to know.

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, gracious, me, yes! I do hate that stare I get when I have a "coughing fit," which is the hallmark of my asthma attacks. It's like I'm a Typhoid Mary!

    And yet, lots of folks don't realize that their "sniffles" may gift me with a terrible bout of pneumonia … ugh.

  • GigiGibson

    After being in the ER with me a couple times my hubby and mother and kids totally understood what I was dealing with. I still get long stares and kids questions about my mask. I told my hubby it's fine with me if folks think I'm sick and pull away, even though it's on to protect me! Only kids and teenagers have asked about it and I let them know I'm on meds that lower my immunity. They are fine with it. Adults? They steer away from me with their buggies. Whatever, I have to deal with my lungs…not them! After my attack from the in laws dog the other night I will certainly be declining invitations in the future to folks homes full of animals. In their case I will stay off  The dogs couch and ask them to keep him out while I visit. I am sure other folks won't get it but it's just the way it is. I've become one of those weirdos who is always guarding against sick ppl, perfumes, smoke, odors, sprays, allergens and dust. I used to waive my hand and think "please, you're over-reacting " but now I myself get it. So, take it easy on them. They just don't get it. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Not a weirdo — just gotta be careful. It sounds like you are, and from the way you've shared how you do it, it sounds like you use great tact.

  • Shea

    Support is a wonderful thing. Ever since my major anaphlactic allergy reaction to nuts, my family has been more understanding and supportive of my need to check both my son's and I's food, both in restaurants, on food labels, and/or in mom's cooking. Sometimes when I explain the serious attack to people it helps them understand my aversion to the triggers, but when they see it or witness it, that is usually most effective. It certainly is no joke. My ex, who used to constantly let his cats and dogs in my room after I started having severe reactions was the antithesis of supportive, and the result was just devastating on me both physically and mentally. I think cat and dog dander is the worst allergy I have and the most difficult to control and the hardest to deal with. If I could make my family understand one thing, it is the pain it has caused me to have them prioritize me below their need for a cat or dog in their home, and the pain I have put myself through to try to live with them or visit them and its negative effect on my health and life, and the difficulry it was for me to put my own health above it finally and stop suffering by stopping going over, and finally the helplessness in losing people to both the physical chronic allergic disease triggered mostly by cat and dog dander, alongside a growing anger because I know I can offer people (close relatives) so much more than their cats and dogs, and it is insulting to me to when they have the knowledge, explanation, doctors notes, etc and still try to get me around the dander or not have me around at all. But I have found people who do prioritize me (albeit they are my parents and even that took more prodding than I would have liked), and new friends who do not have pets (although I have a constant fear that they will get cats or dogs and I will be cast aside again, as this has happened many times to me). 

  • Jen

    Anyway, I do like to think that people mean well with their unsolicited advice. But it still makes me mad and it is hurtful.

    I hear you on this.  And…this can extend to sooo many things.  I feel like I've heard it all from others – whether it is about things I should be doing for ds's autism, dd1's food allergies or when dh had lung cancer.  While I know that people generally mean well, it can feel so hurtful at times.

     Monday night, we were out at an extended family dinner.  I spent a good bit of time talking with a cousin of mine who works with autistic kids.  I do value her opinion and experiences.  But…when she spent a lot of time harping on "now being the time to really push speech therapy" for my son, it was tough.  I *know* it's something I need to pursue somewhat soon, but…she doesn't live our reality.  It's a different world when you teach (or treat, as in the case of medical professionals), kids with autism and when you live with them (and have to  incorporate their needs into your family dynamic). Anyway….all that to say that I know she genuinely meant well, but it left me feeling a little bit angry and guilty.  

    So…here's what I do:

    •  I  try to remember they are coming from a good place.
    •  I try not to engage in too much conversation.  I'll change the subject or walk away or whatever.
    • I acknowledge my feelings of anger and guilt and irritation.
    • I try to move on.
  • Shea

    I am one of those advice throwers. I know I do it and I cannot even help myself. I try not to push my advice on others though, I really just, kinda, throw it out there. I say things like, "oh man, that sounds difficult, I wish I could help, the only thing I can think of is …… I am not sure if that would help, but, I am just throwing it out there". I do that. I hope I do not offend people when I do that. I try not to make a focus out of people's problems no matter what the discussion. Keep a positive focus. But I do want to show I care and am thinking about them and so I think that is why I do my throw out advice. But, I do not push it on people and i am not ovely confident or think they "need" to do something a certain way or at a certain time. With kids, as a mom in general, I get very defensive if someone even thinks I am doing something wrong. I am like, he is my ssh, this is my chance at being a mom, I am doing it this way, and I know my son better than you, so I get ya Jen, I would have felt the same way with that type of advice. I like to hear about new treatments, or what works for other people, from an information perspective, but I do not like being told, "you need to do this". 

  • Jen

    Oh, I have definitely offered advice, too. But, like you, it comes from a place of experience and I don't push it. 

  • K8sMom2002

    I'm a "fixer." But sometimes I jump to conclusions and I try to solve a problem instead of just being there to listen and offer support. 

    I don't know why I do that when it bugs that my DH does the same thing.  

    I have gotten better about it, especially since DD was diagnosed with food allergies and I realized how much it irritated me for someone to offer me a solution when they didn't know my circumstances. I do better when I remember to ask myself, "What do they really NEED right now? An ear? Or a solution?"

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, have you had any more experiences where you either felt the need to educate folks or to give advice? 

    Gigi, how about you? Are your family members "getting it" at least a little better these days?

  • K8sMom2002

    to your mom, Gigi! Moms can be super awesome, no? (At least, that's what I try to convince my DD, anyway!)

  • Jen

    I have been hearing a bunch of you talking about problems at  too.  How do you explain your asthma to others at work?  Can you use some of the same tactics you use with friends and family?

  • GigiGibson

    We have a lot of new folks that come in perfumed up to interview. I put on my mask and pull out the purifier to blow on my. Usually someone will walk by and ask me if I'm ok, I'll say yes, perfume. Then the realize it's not cool. I also posted the email about. It wearing perfume in the break room on the door. 

    Finally, I will say a bunch of my coworkers seem to look out for me a lot! The come up and tell me when you he elevator is full of perfume or the bathroom has been sprayed with Lysol or its smoky outside. It's very thoughtful. I'm just honest with them that I hate being "that person" but it throws me into an attack.

  • Kathy P

    That's great that your co-workers are looking out for you. 

    What kind of reaction do get from people coming to interview? Are you interviewing them?