The Invisibilty Factor

Happy (I guess happy…) National Invisible Chronic Illness Week. Realizing that this is the week to make invisibility visible… I’ve been thinking about just how many people I know (or how many people I might know) who have invisible conditions.

How many of us are invisible until we make ourselves visible.

What do I have in my household?

High Blood Pressure
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Epithelial Basement Membrane Dystrophy
Sjögren's Syndrome
High triglycerides

Go a step out… to my family outside our four walls…

Breast Cancer
High blood pressure
panic disorders
Skin Cancer
Osteo Arthritis

How many others? Hard to tell… or hard to innumerate.

How many people that you work with every day are one of us? Do you see people who some days just seem a little “off”? Do you ask if everything is alright only to be told that its fine but you still aren’t sure? They may just be having a bad day but they may be hurting (physically or emotionally). They may be feeling the side effects of whatever meds they are on. If they snap at you over something that you think is minor or that you seemed to think was just a small joking comment… it may not be you. It may be the invisibility.

We aren’t really invisible, you know. We are your brothers, your sisters, you mothers or fathers… your next door neighbor… your bosses… your co-workers… the waitress that serves you coffee in the morning… the clerk that rings up your stuff at the store. We are runners on a good day. We are nearly invalids on a bad day.

We don’t really want your sympathy. Sometimes it is really nice to have someone listen, though… and not judge or comment or even offer solutions… sometimes it is just good to be able to talk like we are not invisible, like we don’t have a chronic illness, that we are not our labels that we often self-impose.

If you see one of us… even if you don’t know we are one of us… offer a smile rather than a biting comment or impatience. We are impatient enough with ourselves, I assure you. Sometimes it feels good to have your mind taken off of the here and now if only for a matter of a few seconds.

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