My Invisible Illness Hasn't Made Me More Understanding. And That's Not OK.


I know my illness should push me to be more of an understanding and caring person, but to be honest, it doesn’t.

I understand having an invisible illness should open my eyes to realize there’s a world full of people who are also struggling on the inside.

I know how difficult it is to live with an invisible illness. I know people don’t always believe you, and that it can take a toll on not only on your body, but your entire life.

But that still doesn’t make me a better person. In fact, I feel like I’m quite the opposite actually. Instead of feeling empathy for others or thinking they may have a condition similar to mine, I tend to think the opposite.

I tend to find more favor in myself and accept less excuses from others. I get upset when I hear people complain about a cold or how they are tired and want to go home from work. I can’t stand it when others complain about how hungry they are or how they don’t have any money. When I hear these things, I stay silent, but all I can think about is how great they have it, yet they take so much for granted.

Now don’t get me wrong, I take a lot for granted, too, sometimes, but my health was definitely at the top of that list, and I never realized that until I got sick. I want to shout out how I feel around these people, but I can’t help but to retain all of my anger inside and let it build up day after day.

I refuse to complain and be the irritable person that no one wants to be around. I know that staying silent isn’t always the answer, but I honestly don’t know what else to do sometimes. I’d rather do that than say something hurtful or rude. I don’t want people feeling sorry for me, so I don’t talk about how bad I feel daily.

Instead, I just bottle things up inside and reel in all of the complaining I hear from others around me. I basically sit in frustration, push things to the side and try my best to forget about them.

I want to be a more understanding person — I do. I just don’t know how to get there. I know I should have more empathy and care for others like I’d want a friend to do for me, but it’s just a lot harder than it seems.

It takes baby steps, and it may take a while. But I know I will get there, and I will be the friend I’ve always wanted to be. 

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Chronic Illness

woman in a hospital room

A Letter to Senator-elect Kamala Harris, From a Woman With an Invisible Illness

Dear Senator-elect Kamala Harris, Congratulations on your recent, groundbreaking election! You were a bright spot in an otherwise caustic election that left many, me most certainly included, troubled and anxious about the future. But this isn’t a post about politics – it’s a plea from a very concerned constituent and, a request for your partnership [...]
student with a backpack about to climb steps

When I Wish I Told a Teacher About My Invisible Illness

I still remember when I was first judged for having an invisible illness. While I was in college, I had been experiencing some unexplainable and serious neurological symptoms. A CT scan showed there were a cluster of veins in my brain, and I needed an MRI scan to determine whether or not the abnormal brain cluster [...]
group of friends wearing costumes

To the Friends Who Love Me Through My Chronic Illness

Dear Friends, You know who you are. You’ve taken care of me for over a year now, and I feel like I owe you a true thank you, a thank you the whole world can see because that’s how awesome you all are. First, thank you for being my friends at all. I came to [...]
Young woman sitting in waiting room, side view

The Time You Spend Waiting When You're Chronically Ill

There must be thousands of posts, blogs and vlogs out there, and if you’re anything like I was when first diagnosed, you would have read or working your way through most of them by now. They talk of how your life will change, how many doctors appointments you will have and how your bedside cabinet [...]