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If My Invisible Illness Was Visible...

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I think one of the most difficult things about having MS (and many other chronic illnesses) is that it is an invisible illness.

So many symptoms cannot be seen, a bit like the amount of an iceberg that is under the water, and are therefore not always taken seriously by those around us.

There are times I wish those symptoms were visible in some way:

  • the word “fatigue” lighting up on your head when you have a nap or sleep for 12 hours
  • the word “pain” when getting nerve pain
  • the word “cog fog” when you are just having one of those days where you can’t remember anything or think straight etc.

Due to people not being able to see the symptom we then have to deal with people thinking we are lazy, dramatic or unintelligent. As much as those close to us say they understand, they just don’t, and at times say hurtful things or belittle what is being felt.

If only it was more visual then we might not feel guilty about trying to alleviate the symptom by napping or taking painkillers etc.

I think what people who know someone with MS or a chronic condition need to do is read up a bit on the condition of their loved one, take what they tell you seriously and don’t just disregard what they say. Most importantly, stop and think before commenting, as a very simple “are you sleeping again? you’re so lazy” can really hurt.

Work together, ask questions and gain knowledge on the condition as it will make things easier for everyone involved.

Getty Image via alexat25

Originally published: July 5, 2019
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