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What I Want You to Know About Invisible Illnesses

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Invisible Illness Awareness Week began on September 25, 2016 to bring awareness to these misunderstood diseases. Although not all of the invisible illnesses are the same or give the same symptoms, but people tend to face the same issues.

You cannot always see an invisible illness.

I cannot tell you how many times I have told someone I have an invisible illness and they look at me and say, “But you look so good.” That is why we call these illnesses “invisible.”

Sometimes tests don’t even see them.

A lot of invisible illnesses do not have a specific diagnostic test. They are hidden from the naked eye and even from microscopes, X-rays, MRIs, etc.

The search for a diagnosis is often hard and long.

Since you can’t see these diseases, it is hard to find a doctor who believes there is truly something wrong. Many patients are told they are drug seekers or everything is in their head, when that is far from the truth. It can sometimes come down to a guess after all other disease have been thrown out.

We may look “normal” on the outside, but we are far from it on the inside.

People with invisible illnesses often take the elevator because they get too worn out from the stairs. If they do go up the stairs, they often have to pay for it.

Invisible illness symptoms can come and go.

Although many invisible illnesses are chronic, sometimes a person is able to go into remission.  Whether it is for minutes, days, weeks, months, or years, and time spent symptom-free is amazing.

We often push ourselves to keep up with others and pay for it later.

We will decide to go out for a few hours and end up stuck at home for the next day. We can’t just stop living when we’re sick because life doesn’t just pause for us to be “better.”

No matter what invisible illness someone has and no matter how “normal” they look, our bodies are in a constant battle. We can still do everything you do, but sometimes we just need to modify it or we need a few extra breaks. Just because someone looks perfectly healthy, doesn’t mean they are.  Before you judge someone, take a walk in their shoes or a ride in their wheelchair.

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: September 28, 2016
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