Invisible Illness; what is it? How did you get it and how do you cure it?
An invisible illness may be one of the cruelest illnesses one can have. The person living with it always knows it’s there, but because no one else can see it we feel we are being doubted or flat disbelieved all the time. An invisible illness is pretty much just what the name says, an illness or injury that no one can see, but believe me it’s always there! Invisible illness effects the person with it in ways you may never have imagined, we often have severe limitations like how long we can stand, sit, type, hold the phone to talk, there are no limits to the effects. Perhaps one of the most confusing aspects for those that don’t have an invisible illness and those who do is we have flares and remissions, much like a cancer patient. We’ve all met people who look completely “normal”, but as you begin to talk to them and they tell you a little about themselves you are shocked they battled cancer, autoimmune disorders, IBS, and the list goes on.
According to Wikipedia; Invisible disabilities are chronic illnesses and conditions significantly impair normal activities of daily living. In the United States, 96% of people with chronic medical conditions show no outward signs of their illness, and 10% experience symptoms that are considered disabling.
How do you get an invisible illness/disability? Well the answer is as varied as the number of invisible illnesses there are. How does one get cancer, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Anxiety, or the scores of other invisible illnesses? No one knows. We know that there are certain things that can trigger invisible illness and there is a good probability there is a genetic predisposition for one, but it’s never the same for two people, even two with the same illnesses. Our symptoms are different, our triggering event is different, and therefore our treatment ps need to be different. You can’t treat everyone with the same illness the same way? We are all different and our bodies are different, so what works for one may not work for the other. That’s why Natural Health Care is the best way to treat an invisible illness. As Naturopath’s we combine different treatments and healing techniques; and in my case the best of what Western medicine has to offer.
How do you cure it? Well unfortunately usually there isn’t a cure, just learning to live with it and doing our best to keep it in remission is the goal. We do this in several ways, rest (and lots of it), supplements, medications, complementary treatments (i.e. Massage, Chiropractic etc.), controlling diet, environment, and stress are some of the primary ones. And some love and understanding goes a long, long way towards helping us! I have several invisible illnesses, some due to a serious auto accident I was in 12 years ago, some I had before that were just made much worse by the accident. Experiencing this personally has made it easier for me to help others with invisible illnesses and has helped me understand what we need most…
So what do we need most? YOU! Yes, you!! We need you to care, believe us, treat us with kindness, understanding when we have to cancel plans, etc. just because you can’t see our illness/disability doesn’t mean it’s not there! If someone has cancer, diabetes, migraine, you would never know if they didn’t tell you! You can’t see the wind, but you know it’s there!! We just want understanding, from our families, our friends, neighbors, and doctors!! Until you experience invisible illness/disability (and I pray you never do!) you can’t understand, but you can still be in our life and believe and support us! Is it really too much to ask???
To all those out there struggling with invisible illness/disability and trying to find a life despite it, please contact me if you need anything. I understand and I will help you in any way I can. And one more thing…take care of yourself and don’t listen to the others, they aren’t just being mean (most of the time) they just can’t understand.