I Googled invisible illness. I know what they are. I live with them every day, but I wanted to see what the internet had to say about them. The internet offers up a basic and obvious definition – a chronic health condition with no outward signs of illness.
Well, duh. I know that. My fellow spoonies know that. Even the average non chronic illness sufferer probably knows what an invisible illness is. The average person doesn’t know it like a spoonie knows it.
I will always firmly believe there is no such thing as an invisible illness. Even though the very definition of invisible illness means a chronic condition with no outward signs of illness. I believe that we all just need to take the time to look.
Because of my MS, I have problems with balance. I often stumble and have difficulty going from sitting to standing, and will fall. Is that invisible? No. I have tremors that cause me to drop things. The mess that can cause certainly isn’t invisible. I faint easily, for a variety of reasons. That’s not invisible. My muscle jerks and spasms can be quite noticeable.
I have cognitive difficulties that mostly cause me to seem spaced out randomly, make me forget the words I need, and do things like put my house keys in the freezer. If you know me, those things aren’t invisible either. Take the time to look. It’s so simple.
But you, my healthy friends, co workers and associates, have blinders on. Most of you don’t, or can’t see the truth. Most of you have nothing but good intentions, but you don’t really see me. I don’t blame you, it’s hard to understand things from a perspective so different from your own.
So let’s take the invisible out of invisible illness. Notice me. Notice how I struggle to get up. Notice when I tremble and shake, or look weak. Notice when I seen exceptionally clumsy. These are signs of my so called invisible illness.
Notice me trying my hardest to push through all the pain and all the struggles. Pay attention. Even when you see me happy, it doesn’t mean that my pain isn’t there. It means that I managed to be stronger than the pain.
Invisible illness can be horribly isolating, even when you aren’t alone. It makes me feel invisibile. All I want is to be seen. Visible.