Invisible Illness….. What exactly is an invisible illness??!? According to the Invisible Illness Associate an invisible illness is a physical, mental or neurological condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities that is invisible to the onlooker. Basically, a condition that can’t be seen. That means essentially almost all medical conditions. Maybe not all but most conditions you can’t see. Unless the person walks with a limp, uses a cane, wheelchair or walker, or wears oxygen. You may be asking why am I talking about this? Well, this is invisible Illness Awareness week. So I felt I should do my part to help raise awareness.
The Huff Post states that the 2002 US Census Bureau found that 96 percent of people who live with an illness, live with an invisible one. While 73 percent of people who live with a condition that has been determined to be a “severe disability” do not use any devices like a wheelchair. So what kind of illnesses are invisible? Well, basically anything. Any condition that happens INSIDE your body and is not seen externally would be considered and invisible. Anything with your heart, lungs, brain, intestines, kidneys, reproductive system etc.
Silent or invisible illnesses get a bad rap because others often feel like they may be faking since it can’t be seen on the outside and there is no way to know what’s really going on. Which is a valid point. But that is also why I work so hard to spread awareness. The more each of us who suffer from these conditions open up and talk about what we deal with and our daily struggles the more others around us will be begin to understand us. We can’t expect those closest to us to understand our daily struggles unless we open up and let them in to those struggles. They can’t read minds and they can’t feel the pain or the symptoms we have.
This means that when you look at them, you would never know that they’re disabled. That means when you see someone get out of a car with a handicapped sticker but they look “normal” there is a very high chance that they are actually fighting some kind of illness that you would and will never actually see. So just hold on to that for a moment, and try to remember that next time to want to yell at someone who you think shouldn’t be parking in a handicap parking spot. You never know what is going on inside that body.
So in the end just remember that you never know what is going on in another person’s body! They may be fighting a the big fight internally but look completely normal on the outside. So before you judge take a moment to remember that just like they have no idea what is happening in your mind or body, you have no idea what is going on in another’s mind or body.