This week (15-21st October) is Invisible Disabilities Awareness Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness to all chronic conditions which you cannot see. In fact 96% of people who live with a chronic illness live with an illness which you cannot see. So with this in mind you may not know that someone you know is in fact living with a chronic condition and is in fact struggling because it is not visible and looking at them they look the same as everyone else on the outside. People living with these conditions may not be in a wheelchair but they experience other symptoms which have a significant impact on their quality of life such as fatigue and brain fog. So the next time you meet someone with a chronic illness the number one thing to remember is NEVER ever say “but you don’t look sick” or “I hope you get better soon.” Instead support them but asking them how they’re going or how they’re feeling that day,allow them to vent to you if they need and take the time to listen without being judgmental and making comments when you don’t know what it’s like to live with the condition. Don’t try to think you know what it’s like to live with their condition if you don;t have it but show your support by saying things like “that must be really hard to live with”, I wish I could do something to help you”, ” I wish I could understand what it’s like to live with your condition but I don’t have it so I can’t but I will try to as much as I can and offer to help them out by asking if there is anything you can do to make thing easier for them. I know over the past few weeks I have had comment on blog posts saying that you are keeping me in your thoughts and prayers and although you may not be able to help me it’s the thought that counts, just knowing someone cares and is thinking about me. I have shared a picture on 10 things to say to someone with an invisible illness from kalaidoscopefightinglupus .org.
Dysautonomia is just one of the many invisible illnesses. To read more about Dysautonomia and how you can support those living with this condition check out my previous posts, links are below.
You might ask, what disabilities are invisible and what exactly is an invisible disability? Basically an invisible illness is a disability that is not immediately apparent. Well there is a whole list besides Dysautonomia I wouldn’t be able to fit them all on here but just some of the many invisible disabilities include:
- Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS and Neurally Mediated Hypotension) which are forms of Dysautonomia.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Fibromylagia and chronic pain
- Lyme Disease
- Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
- Many autoimmune conditions including Lupus, which it is also awareness month for, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Undifferentiated or Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Coeliac Disease and Crohn’s Disease.
- Depression and Anxiety
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), just to name a few. If you know of any others feel free to add them to the list.