Invisible Illnesses Awareness is important to understand. The color peach represents Invisible Illness. Personalized Cause offers peach awareness ribbons, fabric ribbons and wristbands in the color peach. Check them out to educate others about invisible illness.
Oh my gosh, you guys… I’m excited for today’s awareness blog post. I’ve received quite a few emails since my post two weeks ago about chronic illness and my synopsis of Spoon Theory. To be completely open with you all, it was a really important blog entry for me to write as someone who falls into the #spoonie category.
Spoon Theory Unites Those with Invisible Illness
Like many of you, I have struggled to find the words to accurately explain what chronic illness feels like to friends and family. When I found Spoon Theory, it was like all the sudden everything clicked. It’s powerful to be able to feel so represented by another person’s experience. I was so grateful to finally have something that captured the essence of the daily struggle. Finding the words to explain my chronic illness was difficult until I found Spoon Theory, and finding the #spoonie community was a complete game-changer.
One of the greatest comforts I found in the #spoonie community is that I’m really not that special. That sounds like a negative thing. However, it’s actually very liberating to know there’s a group of people out there who are all just like you. Suddenly you feel less lonely. So, today’s awareness blog entry is going to expand on the chronic illness topic, because I see that it has connected to a lot of you.
Invisible Illness Awareness and Invisible Disabilities Awareness
Today we’re going to talk about invisible illnesses/invisible disabilities. A huge chunk of the chronic illness community is suffering from an invisible illness or invisible disability. Invisible illness can be difficult because a lot of people don’t take you seriously since, “you don’t look sick.” Not “looking sick” can be a double-edged sword.
On one hand, it’s nice that you can pass as a healthy person. It gives you a certain sense of freedom to be able to choose with whom you share your story. There’s kind of a luxury in being able to go back and forth between the realm of the healthy and the realm of the chronically ill. On the other hand, it can make things much more difficult. In my own experience, I have had to convince people that I was actually sick. People assume that you are either weak or exaggerating since there are no physical signs that you are suffering.
A Personal Story
I’ll quickly share a personal story, which I don’t normally do. However, it illustrates the issue. A couple months after I got my license, I drove down to a coffee shop with my brother. I had been very sick and hospitalized off and on for months before that. Going to the coffee shop was a big outing for me at the time.
I had a handicapped placard, which I needed. When I got there, I parked in a handicapped spot. There were a couple other handicapped spots open, but the regular spots were all full. When my brother and I got out of the car, a group of seniors started loudly talking to each other about me, essentially calling me a disrespectful teenage (I was an honor roll kid, not a thug). As we got closer to them, one of the women started shaking her head at me in disgust. She said, “You know you can get a ticket for that, I should call the police.” I froze.
<h2>My Experience – Has it Been Yours?</h2>
I was shocked that this group of adults was shaming me, and I didn’t know how to react. So full or rage and scared at the same time, I questioned myself. What if the police came and didn’t believe me either? My brother looked at the woman and said, “She needs to park there.” I was relieved he said something because I didn’t know what to say. The woman then said, “She sure doesn’t look sick,” to which I replied, “thank you,” and walked inside.
I could see that my response made her recognize that she had been wrong. The group quickly left before we came back out. This may not sound like that big of a deal, but there have been many situations like this in my life. Over time, it fills you with anger and anxiety, and makes you defensive by default. It doesn’t feel good to have to explain yourself to strangers that don’t need to know anything about you. This is just one example that people with invisible disabilities face. It’s why this awareness blog is so important to me.
What Causes Invisible Illness?
Enough about me.
Invisible disabilities are usually caused by chronic illnesses. Having an invisible disability means that your normal daily activities are significantly impaired. Something like 96% of people living with a chronic illness do not have any outward signs that indicate that they are sick. About 10% of people with a chronic illness are considered to be disabled from it. Invisible illness can be defined as a mental, physical, or neurological condition that impairs the person’s ability to move. It also may affect their senses or inhibits their ability to perform daily activities.
Having an invisible disability does not necessarily make the person disabled. That is an important distinction because sometimes people with invisible disabilities can often still work, maybe part time, or with accommodations. Sometimes the disability will improve and sometimes its severity will wax and wane. Each person’s unique invisible disability affects them differently. So, just because you know one person with MS who was able to go back to work, doesn’t mean another person with MS who is struggling with an invisible disability will be able to do so. Many people with invisible disabilities are still active, and maintain involvement with their family and friends, even hobbies or sports.
Symptoms of Invisible Disabilities
Invisible disability symptoms can be chronic pain, chronic fatigue, cognitive impairments, or cognitive dysfunction. Others include weakness or dizziness, brain injuries, mental health disorders, learning disabilities, or hearing or visual impairment. One of the major struggles for people with invisible disabilities is that people tend to have higher expectations of them because they forget that the disability exists. As a result, there are often issues with miscommunications, misconceptions, and misunderstandings. A person may look like they are unable to do something, when they are actually completely capable of it. Likewise, a person who may look capable of something may not be. Disability does not depend on outward appearance. Remember that.
Thanks for reading! I hope this unusually personal awareness blog entry helps to shed light on what it can be like for people living with invisible illnesses or invisible disabilities. I hope that some of you feel like I accurately captured an important aspect of life with chronic illness. Feel free to send me an email about it. =)
See you all next week!
Personalized Cause Supports Invisible Illness Awareness
If you’re a first time reader, let me take a minute to tell you a little bit about ourselves and why we started this awareness blog. We are an awareness accessory company specializing in custom awareness ribbons. Our custom awareness ribbons are a unique product that allow our customers to personalize their awareness ribbons with a name, date or message. Custom awareness ribbons come in all colors, and are engraved with your choice of personalization. These awareness ribbons are a wonderful way to express support when you may not know what to say. Awareness ribbons are a powerful symbol of hope and inspiration to others, as well as the person wearing it.
At Personalized Cause®, we believe in the power of awareness. We have seen how one custom awareness ribbon can impact an entire community, and create a culture of compassion and understanding. Raising awareness is our mission. Only through raising awareness do we make progress in funding, research, and cures.
We want to empower you to become an advocate for yourself or others. By using our awareness blog as a way to educate people about health issues that affect millions, we hope it may others feel less isolated. We hope you’ll come back next week for our next awareness blog entry.
Invisible illness is represented by a peach awareness ribbon. To order a https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/peach-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=invisible%20“>custom peach awareness ribbon, visit us at www.personalizedcause.com.
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