Having an invisible illness is hard, for the person and those around them. It’s hard to explain and hard to understand. No one with an illness is the same. Even if you have the same illness your body reacts differently to others. It doesn’t have to be physical, it can be mental as well.
My personal experience is pain. A lot of pain. With my illness you can’t see my pain/injury. I don’t have a cast or crutches or a wheelchair (though I wouldn’t mind having one. ) To others my pain is basically nonexistent. You can’t see it, you can’t feel it, you probably wouldn’t even know its there unless I told you. To put it plainly: It sucks.
Its hard looking into the mirror and knowing no one can tell how sick you are, how much pain your in, how tired you really are. Going throughout your day (when able to move) pushing your self so much and trying to act “normal” so you can fit in. Not taking the seat, using the staircase handle, asking you friends to stop walking for a minute because you need a break e.t.c because you don’t want the looks of non-understanding and annoyance people give you when you do these things.
With any illness you want people to care that your unwell. When you have a cold you tell people and they give you sympathy, telling you they hope you get well soon and it sucks that your sick. Why is it different with an invisible illness?
Why when we talk about our depression/pain/anxiety are we met with silence or sometimes ridicule?
Just because you cant see it doesn’t mean its not there.
The number 1 best thing (in my opinion) you can do for someone who has an invisible is, get ready guys……. LISTEN! Seriously, with these kinds of things you don’t always get out much and it can get extremely lonely, having someone to listen to you can make your month. When a person says their not doing good or try to talk about there illness LISTEN. It takes a lot of courage. Its scary because we don’t know how people are going to react. Our illnesses are a HUGE part of our lives so we want to talk about them, not for pity but it affects us greatly and we want some form of understanding, no matter how small. Even if you don’t know what to say that’s fine! Saying something as simple as that sucks or hopefully the pain doesn’t get worse or “hopefully you can have some better days soon” is great it shows your listening.
Having a chronic illness is not fun. I hate being stuck at home. I’m not “lucky to get to watch movies all day”or “lucky not to have to come to school.” Do you ever stop and think why I’m not/doing these things. I’m in pain all the time. If watching a movie is gonna give me an hour of some distraction from the pain I’m gonna do it. I don’t go to school because I am physically and mentally unable to.
Don’t EVER tell someone their lucky to have something that their illness makes them do. We are not lucky, we’re trying to cope.
My illness has screwed up a lot of my life. I got this two months after I turned 13. Its been over three years now and I still have it. Chances are I probably wont ever get rid of it. I missed majority of my High School schooling. I constantly have doctors appointments and tests being done. I’ve tried soooo much medication with big side effects and there’s three months I have basically no memory of because of the meds. The more I do the worse my symptoms and memory get.
It’s scary not knowing whats wrong and not knowing if you’ll ever get better. Every test you do, part of you hoping one of these things will come back positive so you can finally know whats wrong and it has to be better than having pain that seems to be there for no reason.
It’s frustrating. Not being able to do what you could before. Watching everyone around you do things that you just can’t do anymore.
Having an invisible illness is hard, for the person and those around them but you can help.
I’m not saying all these things for pity or to try and say my life is worse than yours. I want awareness and understanding.
Invisible illnesses don’t have to be invisible just because the symptoms are but they will stay that way if we don’t talk about them.
Article written by Kiersten Davey, 16.
“I’ve had Chronic nerve pain and fatigue since I was 13, due to ovarian cysts. They’ve said they don’t want to officially diagnose me with Fibromyalgia since I’m so young.”