ButterflyBlu
2 years ago5,000+ Views
Invisible Illness Awareness Week Spet. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015
A chronic condition is any condition or disease that either develops over the course of time or persists for at least 3 months. As a general rule, a chronic condition cannot be prevented or cured by medication. The symptoms of most chronic conditions can be treated, but these conditions also will not just fade away or disappear. An invisible illness is a chronic condition or disability that tends to be, well, invisible to everyone except the person suffering. To everyone else looking in, this person seems to be fine. They look healthy and, more likely than not, happy. They tend to wear the most careful of "masks" to hide how much pain and discomfort that they are in all the time. Some of these illnesses include pain, chronic fatigue, cognitive dysfunctions, dizziness, brain injuries, learning differences and mental health disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments. More than 130 million Americans are affected by a chronic illness. 96% of those people are suffering in silence, a victim of invisibility. Many times, they smile and lie, saying, "I'm fine, doing ok", even to those that they love - spouses, children, parents, and even doctors.
The plight of someone with an invisible illness is a lonely one. Can you imagine suffering in silence? We have all done this at some point. But could you do it every single day? It is our nature as humans to judge one another based entirely on what we see. For many people with a disability, there is a way to see it, a visible impairment such as a wheelchair, cane, walker, even a limp. You look at that person and you know that they have a condition of some sort. You may even go out of your way to help them by opening a door or assisting them across a crosswalk. 74% of people with a disability do not use any of the aforementioned assistive devices. For those dealing with an invisible illness, there is typically nothing to show another person that they are in any way impaired!
How can you help? First, remember that every single person is different. Just because someone is in a wheelchair does not mean that they can't do a lot more than you might expect. Keep that same thought in mind for those suffering from invisible illnesses. They may look perfectly capable to you, but sometimes they simply aren't at 100% and will not be able to do everything that you think they should. Next, treat everyone with respect and kindness. You have no idea what they are dealing with on a daily basis. If someone looks tired, do not assume that they spent the previous evening at a party! (Yes, this has happened to me.) Be considerate and thoughtful. Don't make assumptions about people feel. Instead, ask. Ask how that person feels. Ask someone if they need help. Finally, join us this week for Invisible Illness Awareness Week, running from September 28 through October 4, 2015. This annual event was started in 2002 by a woman named Lisa Copen. After living many years with an invisible illness, she decided that we need to spread awareness, educate one another, and create a network of people helping one another to deal with the battle that we are silently fighting one at a time. This year's theme is My Invisible Fight.
Here on Vingle - and elsewhere - I will be doing my part to help spread awareness and shed a light on my own invisible fight. Later tonight, I will posting something called "Our 30 Things". This is basically a "30 questions" for those of us fighting a chronic condition. If you would like to post your 30 things, please, let me know and I will tag you in that post. Remember that you Are Not ALONE. You are no longer INVISIBLE. Together, we are Stronger. Edit: here is that card - My 30 Things.
Are you asking yourself if you even "qualify"? If you are asking, then you do. There are thousands of illnesses that are considered "invisible". This explanation is from the Invisible Disabilities Association: "We do not maintain a list of specific illnesses and diagnosis’s that are considered invisible disabilities. Invisible disabilities are such symptoms as debilitating fatigue, pain, cognitive dysfunctions and mental disorders, as well as hearing and eyesight impairments and more. There are thousands of illnesses, disorders, diseases, dysfunctions, birth defects, impairments and injuries that can be debilitating. Therefore, all conditions that are debilitating are included when we talk about invisible disabilities..." Again, if you even think you MIGHT qualify, then you likely do! #invisiblefighting
17 comments
This is great!! I didn't know there was a thing such as an invisible illness. I hope that you can tag me in the post. To help those that need help people need to spread the word.
2 years ago·Reply
Wow, thank you for this card, @ButterflyBlu. This is so important! I know mental illness is such a hard thing to talk about, along with all the others. I know for me personally, when I went through depression, it was hard to talk about it. It felt like since it wasn't a thing that can be seen, it was as if the problem just didn't exist -- even thought it affecting me in so many ways. I had no idea we had an Invisible Illness Awareness Week. Good thing we do! Something we definitely need to spread awareness about.
2 years ago·Reply
I've been dealing with this since 6th grade and now it's just become a way of life for me. It sucks a lot and a lot of times you feel alone like no one cares but all it takes is just one person saying or showing how they truly care for you to help push you through each day to the next. It's easy to say I'm fine even though on the inside I'm screaming out for help, but the problem is that in a way you feel a lot more helpless or more like a burden when you tell someone. Eventually keeping to urself becomes easier than telling anyone. It's just something that I've learned to try and live with and it's worked for six years now but it does tend to be hard. Especially Cus you do feel so alone
2 years ago·Reply
you're a gem, @butterflyblu. This is important.
2 years ago·Reply
All you need is a goal to work for and make that goal a priority, it might distract you from the feeling of being invisible. Complete a tv series, play a video game, save up money for a car. It's fun and helps.
2 years ago·Reply
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