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invisible_illness

There are many ways in which people feel invisible and isolated, but one of the most widely known, and unknown, ways in which people use more strength and effort to achieve what others take for granted is living with an invisible illness.

Pushing through your daily routines with pain can be truly punishing and at the end of the day exhaustion ensues.  For some, such supreme effort can keep them homebound for days seeking recovery.  The mental and physical fatigue is very real and cannot just be “slept off.”

It is estimated that over 10% of the population in the United States has an invisible illness and the percentage expands for those with an invisible disability although I suspect that the number is actually higher (these are classified differently under the Disabilities Act – the U.S. Census estimates that 19%, 1 in 5, of the population – over 56 million people – have a disability).

Many invisible illnesses have neurological origins and are woefully misunderstood.

The saddest truth is that you will be judged and quite harshly by some.  There are more critics than those who will empathize.  Some will create drama over their aches and pains and soak up all the sympathy that they can.  But, as Maya Angelou aptly put it, you don’t have to be one just because you have it.

invisible_maya angelou

I don’t feel that those of us with invisible illnesses are looking for pity or a public showing.  However, private concern, compassion, kindness, and understanding seem like too much to hope for, but are genuinely desired.

The range of invisible illnesses include genetic diseases, Fibromyalgia and Lyme disease, to Multiple Sclerosis, ALS and Alzheimer’s in early stages, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and other autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Depression and all mental illnesses, to Heart or Lung disease, Endometriosis, Diabetes, and Cancer.  The broad scope and list of such illnesses is long and very real for those suffering.  We want to remain positive, we want to feel good, and we want to live without pain.  We wish that we could.  But, when we have experienced it we have two options: selfishly claim that ours is worse than others and become bitter or empathize with another’s pain and acknowledge with comforting compassion and patience.

Those suffering with invisible illnesses often feel that they live in an invisible world, as their lives and feelings are hidden away to please others (who rarely are) or prevent discrimination from affecting them in any way at work, school, or social situations.  They fight twice as hard for every day in misunderstanding, fear, and the vast unknown.

invisible_disability

While completely misunderstood, you cannot classify hundreds of millions of people around the world as “faking” or seeking attention.  Most will not receive any and will struggle alone.

Life happens and we do not always have the choice of health and wellness.  Masking it to make others feel more comfortable only adds to the difficulty.  Each of us is fighting a battle that no one else knows.

The first step is empathy and acceptance. Appreciate that while beauty may be skin deep, illness can and does indeed go to the bone, and strong people bear it as well as able every day.  The majority of people do not want to experience pain, struggle, or seek medical attention as often as they must to live active and functioning lives.  However, criticism, demeaning, and intolerance wound further.

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If you are living with an invisible illness, what has your experience been?

Thank you for sharing.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/invisible/

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“Believe me, every heart has its secret sorrows, which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad.”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion

broken heart

Grief is not a competition.  Sadness has no limit.  Physical or mental pain is not on a scale in comparison to any other individual.

Again and again, I am reminded that people who have not experienced what we have, feel that they are entitled to tell you how long, how much, or how valid your feelings are.  Can you tell me why I don’t like eggplant?  Can you tell me why I don’t like the color brown?  Of course not; we are individuals with a lifetime of experience and determination of our needs, likes, dislikes and depth of emotion and intuition.

Some people are very vocal about every ache and pain.  Others hide it in shame or fear.

You are entitled to your pain and grieving.  No matter how much time has passed, if you are still mourning, no one has the right to tell you to “get over it.”  Some heartaches never go away.

If you are in pain today, I hope you are sent healing.  If you are mourning, I hope that you find some comfort, or at least a hand to hold while you cry.  If you are feeling so alone in your sadness or grief, please know that anyone else who has actually experienced a great loss will never try to silence yours, but will understand that some wounds never heal.  

You are still putting one foot in front of another.  You are a survivor.

 

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Thank you for stopping by.  I hope that you find comfort here.

In memory of Mom.

rosie the riveter

kindness_al capone

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Thanks for stopping by! I hope that you enjoy your visit.
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