Today is the start of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week which runs through September 14th.
How many of you who are ill with environmental illness, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, etc. have been told that you don’t look sick? I have been told that I look good when I feel horrible. On one hand I am glad that I am not looking as horrible as I may feel but it is hard to explain to others when you may not look as bad as you feel. On August 3, 2012, I posted on this site “Me in the Beginning” When you look at my picture taken in 2002, it is easy to see how sick I was. I don’t even think I realized how sick I looked until later when I saw my picture. I knew I felt bad and something horrible was wrong but looking at myself in the mirror daily the changes were gradual. I didn’t suddenly wake up with dark circles, a haunting look, skinnier than I had ever been and with yellowing skin tone.
I want to raise awareness that environmental illness, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and other chronic illness may not necessarily affect a person’s appearance. It is truly and invisible and silent terror that many go through on a daily basis. I hope that a day will come when someone says they have some unusual or unexplained illness, they will be treated with respect and their complaints taken seriously.
Toni Bernhard wrote a wonderful article entitled The challenges of Living with Invisible Pain or Illness. She is also the author of an amazing book, “How to Be Sick”. A dear friend of mine published her book, Intentional Healing: One Woman’s Path to Higher Consciousness and Healing from Environmental and other Chronic Illnesses, a year before I completed Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope. I hope these writings will allow you to know that you are not alone in your battle with invisible illness.
Please take a moment to visit the Invisible Illness website and read the stories that others have shared. Had I been more aware and on top of things this year, I would have included a blog post on this site as I have done in the past.