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Please Look Closer If You Believe My Illness Is Invisible

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Invisible illness. Invisible illness. I n v i s i b l e illness.

Nope. I still don’t get it. How can my illness be invisible?

Is it because of my invisible wheelchair that I use on my invisible bad days? Or even on my good days when I need to walk further than a few feet? Maybe it’s due to my invisible lift and invisible adaptations within my home? Or it could be the invisible hours I spend in hospitals?

instagram screenshot of of woman's legs lying down

No. They’re not invisible. But you don’t get to see them. I hide away at my worst. I put on a smile to hide the pain. I wipe away the tears, and rarely do I share my hospital journey anymore. So is that what makes it invisible? No. My illness is not invisible. I am not secretly disabled. You, my healthy counterpart, are blinkered.

Please, I’m asking you: Take off the blinders. Look closely. Look at the way my hair is roughly brushed, but not styled. See how I don’t wear makeup, those dark circles under my eyes. Notice the winces and sharp intakes of breath when I move. The stumbles, trips, slurred speech. See how my life has changed. Where my job and social life has gone. See how my friend circle has reduced. See how rarely I leave the house. How much I desperately want to. Just look beyond my smile.

Our illness is not invisible. It’s just not quite as easily seen. But often, we feel invisible. Forgotten. Left behind. So please, see my disability. See how I’m still desperately trying every day to live around it.

But most of all, see me.

See us.

Follow this journey on This Little Life of Mine.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: June 8, 2016
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