Invisible illness is considered a chronic illness or disease that affects a person to a debilitating degree, only we don’t look sick. One hundred and seventeen million adults in the USA are suffering from Chronic Illness. Ninety-six percent of those have an illness that is invisible, they show no outward signs of being ill at all. Ninety-six percent! Think about that for a minute. That means two out of the four adults around you–your family, your friends–have an invisible illness and are suffering internally, while forced to wear a mask of good health to blend in so that others can’t see their pain.
It doesn’t have to be this way. As with anyone, we all have needs. However, with an invisible illness, the most important need we have is your understanding. That simple smile of understanding can make a huge difference in a person’s life and wellbeing. We all need you to realize that it’s not in our heads, that we can’t just think positive thoughts and wish it all away. Would you tell someone with cancer to do that? Of course not. So why then would you ask someone with an invisible physical or mental illness to do that? We shouldn’t have to look ill to be understood. So next time someone cancels an appointment with you, calls in sick for work, or simply can’t get out of bed that day; your understanding, sympathy, and friendship will make a huge difference in their life.
We aren’t looking for pity, we get plenty of that, what we are looking for is awareness and sometimes just a simple hug.