Have you been diagnosed with a invisible illness like a mental illness or digestive disorders? Do you ever find yourself having to constantly explain your illness to friends and family? Have you ever been told that you don’t look sick? An invisible illness is not seen by anyone, because it is happening on the inside of your body. No one else can see the damage or the pain you feel which is caused by your illness.
Sometimes the treatment that you endured to combat the illness can cause pain or damage to your body that no one can see either. However, the pain is real and there is no avoiding it. So, you tend to sit down when your back hurts. Sometimes, you will try not to bend over if your IBS or Colitis is flaring up. Additionally, you will move differently, in order not to aggravate the body parts that are in pain.
Unfortunately, some people will say that you don’t look sick, instead your just being lazy. No one knows how you feel inside your body….but you! Don’t let these people and their comments bring you down. Basically, you have to do what is best for you and your pain tolerance level. No one else’s opinion should matter, because they are not living inside your skin. They do not live with the chronic pain like you do, so they cannot know what is best for you.
Some forms of invisible illness are: cancer, digestive disorders, diabetes or blood sugar issues, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic myofascial pain, fibromyalgia, allergies, food intolerances, depression or mental health illness, and rheumatoid arthritis. Each of these illnesses or diseases can be very painful and come with different symptoms that you must learn to manage as well. For example IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome can cause: severe cramping, diarrhea, gas, nausea, and vomiting.
Your friends and family are not going through the same health issues, but you are each day. So, put your foot down and make people respect your choice to do things differently. Tell them that you are sick and that you choose not to aggravate the area which is in pain. I am a Invisible Disability Warrior myself with eight different illnesses or diseases.
I cannot stress, how important it is to stand up for your right not to be in pain with everyone in your life. Unfortunately, many people don’t see the damage, so they think you are fine but just being lazy. Therefore, when someone says that you don’t look sick. Just remember that this person does not know the daily battles that only you face with your disability. Some issues are embarrassing and some issues are very painful. Either way, most people will not notice and will think you are just fine.
Written by, Crystal S. Kauffman