themighty logo

How Invisible Is Invisible Illness?

How invisible is invisible illness?

It’s skin deep.

No one is going to say it’s not flattering to be called beautiful.

It always is.

But when you are struggling with an invisible illness, disease or disability, hearing over and over again, “But… but you are so pretty! But you are so young! But you are too pretty and too young to be so sick. To be in so much pain…”

No one deserves to be sick or in pain. Old. Young. Certain people’s idea of beautiful. Or not.

But it’s said as an accusation. Like it can’t possibly be true, or real.

“I can’t see it. You look so nice today. You are too young to possibly know real pain or have it constantly. Or need so many medications. Or to be walking such a fine line between living and dying constantly.”

Well thank you. That’s flattering.

But it doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Beauty, they say, is skin deep. Invisible illness can be so loud that at the same time… it doesn’t make a sound.

Yes, I can still wear makeup. And dress up. And I’m a good actress. I know. I’m not flattering myself with compliments. I’ve worked really hard to create this illusion for most people… to make them more comfortable with me, and the emotions my being young and sick bring up in them. Never mind the emotions it brings up in me.

woman lying on her couch surrounding by pill bottle and giving herself an injection

I’m hiding my pain in plain sight. With my illness. Behind my smile. Behind my youth. Behind my “beauty.”

If you really look… it’s not as invisible as you might think.

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