Health Issue 13

“But you don’t look sick.”

If you are someone that suffers from an invisible illness, and you’ve heard these words, then you know how hurtful they can be. Whether they come from someone with good intentions or not, that sentence makes you feel like in some way you are faking your illness and are being scrutinised as someone who might just be a hypochondriac. 

An invisible illness is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an illness that impacts on the person’s daily life without others around them being able to notice it. There are a number of invisible illnesses that people live with day to day. Some have a physical impact, some a mental one.

Invisible illnesses are unique to the sufferer. Some people have mild challenges or difficulties throughout a typical day, for others, it disrupts their daily routine completely meaning that they cannot function ‘as normal’ and it affects all areas of their lives.

“This doesn’t just stem from the general public, either – many invisible illness sufferers will tell you that they had to consult a number of doctors before finally being diagnosed, with even medical professionals being so dismissive as to make accusations like ‘it’s all in your head’.”

Countingmyspoons.com

We live in a culture that reinforces the feelings of guilt and embarrassment surrounding invisible illnesses, by being repeatedly bombarded with advice and ‘help’ on how to ‘be cured.’ You’ll often see exercise or diet changes being recommended for people with anxiety and depression, which is quite frankly… ridiculous. 

Oftentimes, those of us suffering from invisible illnesses feel guilty or as though we have to prove our conditions to family, friends and colleagues. We are often made to feel as though there is nothing wrong because it is not visible to the eye, forcing us to have to become the educators or create boundaries and distance between ourselves and those who cast doubt on our situation. 

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