The English language is a funny one and so is our use of it. I shouldn’t have to preface this post with a disclaimer. But, after someone making assumptions about my feelings and intentions to a similar comment about the use of the English language on Twitter, I feel it’s important for me to say the following. I’m not annoyed at people who have said “get well soon” to me. I’m not angry about the use of this phrase. All I’m doing in this post is commenting on how this phrase can come across to some people and sharing some get well soon alternatives for those who want them.
This post may get rambly, so grab yourself a drink and a snack!
All products marked with * have been gifted to me for consideration. More information can be found in my full disclaimer.
For most of us with chronic illness, being ‘well’ is either a distant possibility or an impossibility. Chronic means longterm. And the definition of ‘well’ according to the Oxford Dictionary is “In good health; free or recovered from illness.” Now, having a chronic illness, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed is a journey and a learning curve. One of the things on this journey is acceptance. Some find it easily, others search for it for the rest of their lives. Some fight it. There is no wrong or right. Everyone is different and everyone’s journey/experience with acceptance is different.
I’ve always used get well soon alternatives when speaking to chronically ill friends. It just seemed silly to me to wish someone who can’t get ‘well’ that they could. It can come across as a bittersweet and a little ironic.
While I chose my words carefully for those with chronic illness, I generally continued to use ‘get well soon’ with people I didn’t know very well. So what changed?
When my health is less stable, emails are usually one of the first things that fall by the wayside. As a result, I end up having to send quite a few emails with “I’m sorry I haven’t replied sooner, I’ve not been well” in them. I was quite surprised when I received 5 or so emails the same day hoping that I ‘get well soon.’ This was when I realised that I was saying this same phrase to strangers. People I didn’t know. They might’ve had a chronic illness, they might not. Even people I know online, might have a chronic illness that I’m not aware of. Not everyone is happy to disclose this information, I wasn’t when I first started my blog (read more about this in my Embracing My Differences post).
This got me thinking about get well soon alternatives. As a result, I’ve actively changed my use of language with everyone. ‘Get well soon’ is no longer part of my vocabulary. One of the things that I get told quite a bit by healthy people is that my chronic illness and disability posts have made them consider things that they wouldn’t otherwise have thought of. So, if this post has made you reconsider your use of ‘get well soon’ but you aren’t sure what else to use in it’s place, here are my suggestions.
“I hope you feel better soon.”
While ‘better’ can be used to mean ‘healthy’ it doesn’t have just this meaning. Better is a relative term. It’s on a scale. The Oxford Dictionary defines better as being “Partly or fully recovered from illness, injury or mental stress.” Put simply, better is an improvement. How much of an improvement isn’t defined by the word in the same way it is with ‘well’.
“I hope you see some improvement soon”
Similar to “I hope you feel better soon.”
These two are great as general options for people you don’t know so well. They can also be used for loved ones or you could make your kind wishes more personal. If you think it’s appropriate for both the person and the situation. Something like “I hope your [insert symptom(s)] eases off for you soon.” You could even add “If I can do anything to help, please let me know.” That is assuming that you’d be happy to. Or, if there’s a specific task you know someone will struggle with when their [insert symptom(s)] are bad, you could always offer to do that. For example, it could be picking up the kids from school, doing the food shop or mowing the lawn. Even if the person doesn’t take you up on the offer, it will be greatly appreciated.
Now, most of us with chronic illness will have to spend time in hospital at some point in our lives. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve not had many hospital admissions, partly because the fluorescent lighting in hospital makes my basilar type and hemiplegic migraine worse. When people go into hospital or have an operation, we often like to send them a ‘get well soon’ card. I’ve looked in card shops for get well soon alternatives for my chronically ill friends in the past and really struggled.
So I’ve ended up having to create a MoonPig (or similar) card, or pick a plain card (with flowers or a cute animal on the front) and add my own message inside. But now there’s a solution! My friends Sarah has designed a range of greeting cars for those of us who either aren’t going to get better or ‘better’ is a distant hope. With designs including ‘You don’t have to get well soon’* and ‘It’s, you know, chronic’ these are perfect for those looking for get well soon alternatives. At $12 for three cards, these aren’t cheap. I usually spend no more than £1.50 on a card. But, these cards are certainly special! And, they work out cheaper per card than buying from MoonPig! You can find Sarah’s card designs on Society6.com.
Do you have any get well soon alternatives?
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