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This Is What Chronic Illness Looks Like

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This is for everyone who just doesn’t “get it” when it comes to chronic illness and invisible illness.

For some reason, you think that we are supposed to look sick and not be part of the outside world because when we do go out, you no longer believe us when we tell you we are in pain or that we just need to sleep for the day. You act like we aren’t allowed to enjoy life at all because “sick” people don’t do what we do. Well, guess what! Wake up call: This is what chronic illness looks like!

six women in two rows on pink background

Top row, left to right: Tara Hamm: fibromyalgia, PCOS, bipolar disorder, depression; Angelina Lewellyn: fibromyalgia, depression, chronic migraines; Allison Perkins: Crohn’s disease.  Bottom row, left to right: Krystin Kirk: Hashimoto’s disease; Justine Supp: fibromyalgia, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, PCOS, depression, anxiety, arthritis; Vanessa Rastovsky: Crohn’s disease

We love makeup, we love our friends, we love hanging out with them when we can, we love having a good time, taking our pets for walks, being involved, etc. and we need recovery time after doing some things. We may not walk around wearing medical masks, we may not walk with a limp (all the time), and no, we don’t always require wheelchairs. We don’t walk around with a frown all the time. We don’t constantly complain about what we are going through, because just as much as you’re tired of hearing it, we are tired of dealing with it every single day!

You won’t see many posts, if any at all, of us explaining how today just wasn’t a good day for us and we stayed in bed so we didn’t have to feel the pressure and pain of our feet hitting the ground. Some of us work and some of us don’t. Many of us probably shouldn’t be working so we can better tend to the difficulties we face every day. But we do it anyway and we push ourselves to be a part of the “normal” world. We might regret it each and every day, but we get up and do it again over and over and over. Disability services don’t always acknowledge those of us with chronic/invisible illness, so that’s hardly an option for some of us. But some of us slip through the cracks and are able to get the approval so many of us wish for. That’s just the fact of our lives. We deserve to feel like a part of society.

If you can’t understand this and already have your mind made up about who we are and how sick we are, then please keep it to yourself. We don’t need to deal with the negativity (FYI — stress gives us flare-ups)!

Originally published: August 23, 2016
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