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Tag Archives: wellness

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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quote_empathy and dignity_audrey hepburn

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.

heads together

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thank you for stopping by.  I hope that you enjoy your visit.

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solitude_carl jung

Our world does not acknowledge the beauty of solitude. We have many in silence, out of fear or shame, or those who have given up the joy of conversation for technology. But, in a world full of noise, literal and figurative, there is great healing in those quieter pastimes such as reading, meditating, art, or observing nature.

solitude and bliss_william wordsworth

Our nervous systems were not created to be caught up in constant noise or upheaval. I find as I get older, that I require and look forward to such solitude. There is much to give to others, but recognizing and realizing the self-care we deserve, is a gift that no one can give us but ourselves.

solitude and thanksgiving_hugo

It is a gift in gratitude and magnitude that we can appreciate the peaceful silence.

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

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

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Whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention. That intention is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion and we want to ripen our ability to let go. We want to realize our connection with all beings. ~ Pema Chodron

humanity house

In the work that I do, I have met literally thousands of people. Yes, it does seem incredible to me in hindsight, but in all of those meetings, there is the time I spend speaking to each one-to-one. It gives me lots of time to mentally review because I cannot easily forget the troubles of another or seeing someone’s pain or struggle.

Sometimes people come to me in groups of three or four people at a time. I speak with one person and then another takes his seat as the first moves to a different part of the room. While speaking with someone having difficulty communicating, and remembering a mailing address, another person sat across the room laughing at the interaction.

I looked at him and shook my head “no.” Again, the person in front of me had difficulty recalling the information. The other person in the back of the room watched us, laughing, as if we were some program for his entertainment.
I looked at him directly, as any mother figure might, and said “It is not nice to laugh at other people.” What was the response? ‘But it is funny.’ Not an apology, not an awareness or agreement, but giving himself permission to be amused at someone else’s misfortune.

How do people laugh at another’s pain? It is a concept that is totally foreign to me. Those times in Elementary school when others laughed at me made me angry and fueled a desire to hit back.

What separates us from our emotions and clear thinking about another human being? What synapse in the brain triggers that lack of awareness or understanding?
Not fifteen minutes before, the joker was asking me to understand the needs of his family and the strain it places on all of the souls within it.

These people travel from place to place, sleeping where someone gives them a bed, and eating where someone brings them food for free. They retell the stories of existence and struggling so that another will provide a charitable response.

Do we do that as well? Go from place to place on a daily basis, holding on to the routine and allowing ourselves to stay in the pattern of repetition without conscious thought or attachment? For some, each day is merely an effort to hold on, to put one foot in front of another, until they can receive food to eat and lay down to sleep. The “simple” actions of daily living are huge and take a supreme effort to accomplish what appears to others to be the most basic of functions.

To those who help the homeless, or protect the abused by creating shelters of safety, who welcome military families while their loved ones are in the hospital*, make cancer patients and survivors feel beautiful**, and feed the hungry, my boundless appreciation goes out to you.

The kindnesses provided to those who struggle with mental*** and physical health are beyond anything understood by those unaware of their illnesses. How many people carry invisible burdens and struggle in private? Whatever small token we can give, although it is a thimble-full in an ocean of despair, tips the balance in the world. I cannot laugh at someone else’s pain or dismiss the heartache that guides their days.

If you are still here with me, Dear Reader, I suspect that you cannot as well. It is my hope that we can help to repair our world and remind others that we are not separate, nor merely observers, but meant to reach out, support, guide, aid, and empathize in an effort to heal others, and ourselves, on our daily paths.

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Thank you so much for stopping by. It means more than you know.
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*if you want to see the incredible work of the Fisher House, look at http://www.fisherhouse.org
**if you want to see more about bringing hope and beauty to Cancer patients, look at http://lookgoodfeelbetter.org
***to understand more about the millions of people struggling with mental illness look at http://www.nami.org

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