People tend to understand very easily when they can see that you are ill or injured.
If your leg is broken and in a cast, they quickly understand that maybe you can’t walk without support, or run, or go up stairs quickly.
If they see you in bed shivering, looking pale and clammy, they will understand that you are sick and need to rest.
But some illness doesn’t work like that. Sometimes people look fine on the outside, but are struggling on the inside with things you can’t see – like pain, exhaustion, anxiety, depression, nausea or any one of a million other things.
“But you don’t look sick” is something people with illnesses like this get used to hearing and so they are sometimes referred to as “invisible” because you can’t see them or their effects.
There are a many conditions that fall into this category, including:
- Mental illness – such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
- Chronic pain and fatigue – such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Back Pain, Chronic Migraines and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS – sometimes called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME).
- Autoimmune diseases – such as Crohn’s disease / Colitis, Lyme disease and Lupus.
- Many others – this list only scratches the surface…