An invisible illness is not only difficult to deal with physically but it’s also mentally. An invisible illness is defined as not immediately visible. When you’re hurting and miserable the last thing you want to hear is “well, at least you look great, you don’t look sick”. Here is everything you need to know as a caregiver or a love one around someone with an invisible illness.
- Just because you’re hurting doesn’t mean you can’t look fabulous.
When someone says “you don’t look sick, you look great so you have to be feeling well.“Seems a little harsh, right? Most, if not all of us with an invisible illness have heard that. It’s hard to hear that from loved ones, let alone doctors. Yes we are hurting and sometimes you can see it just by looking at us, but sometimes we dress nice and put on makeup to hide our illness. Just because we look good doesn’t mean we feel good. Here’s a picture of me in misery. I had a migraine, nausea, body pain, and I just plain felt horrible during a round of IVIG. The other picture of me was at a wedding I was hurting and in tremendous pain but I put on a brave face. Even though I look okay, my body was screaming. A lot of times we try to look like we are doing okay because we don’t want to be center of attention, and we don’t want you to see us struggle.
- Most people with chronic illnesses downplay their situation.
I have learned, unless the person has been there for you through every dark side of your illness and picked you up at your very worse they won’t understand. It’s hard to explain to someone how tough this life really is, therefore, it’s easier to just say “I’m okay”, or “I’m hanging in there”. It’s easier to downplay the situation than tell the person the horrible down falls this illness has brought you. If you are around someone with a chronic illness, offer to help them out by carrying their bag or even just ask if they are doing okay.
- Handicap parking.
If a person is using a handicap parking space and they look okay, just remember if they look okay on the outside it doesn’t mean they are okay on the inside. I get told all the time that I hide my illness well, because I’m always positive and I try to keep a “good vibe” environment. At times it can come off as me not being ill, but I am. A first impression of someone who is chronically ill shouldn’t be the base of your opinion on them. Even though they are walking quite well on the outside their legs may be screaming on the inside. I have heard stories where a chronically ill person used their handicap parking spot. They were hurting tremendously and decided to use it for the first time. A person mocked and ridiculed them and told them they needed to save the spot for someone who needs it. Please don’t be judgemental and keep your opinions silent. Just because they look okay doesn’t mean they are.
An invisible illness is defined as not immediately visible. An invisible illness is not only difficult to deal with physically but it’s also mentally. If you are around a person who has a chronic illness, just know we are going through an arduous time and we need all of the positive, good vibes, and love we can get. You never know what a person could be going through, even a smile could brighten their day. This world is harsh and judgemental, and we need to take charge, be more compassionate, and spread love.