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Monday, November 18, 2013

Invisible Illness and perceptions...

Invisible illness is one that the person looks perfectly fine on the outside but has an illness that at times can be debilitating. People who do not have this do not understand limitations one has. I, myself, do not look ill. To look at me, you would not know that I use a shower chair, have chronic pain, debilitating fatigue or difficulty with cognition. To look at me you would not know that I have to calculate everything I do. EVERYTHING! From when to take a shower vs. going to the store. Making dinner vs. washing dishes. Vacuuming vs. laundry. These simple tasks cannot be done one after another. It's shower, rest, store. Dinner, have kids do dishes. Vacuuming, rest, load of laundry in, rest, fold clothes, rest.
Going out to dinner is also a challenge. I have to plan the showering and resting and then going to dinner. At dinner, I have to decide what I want to eat. Simple decisions are difficult. Conversations are a challenge at times. I have to really concentrate on what the other person is saying. If there is a lot of background noise (people talking, kids yelling, music playing) this is all very unnerving. Too much noise actually hurts me physically. Makes my skin irritated. Makes my muscles ache. Makes me irritable. Literally, gets on my nerves.  Now, here comes my dinner. Eat, rest, eat, rest. Damn, why did I just drop my fork? Ok, now why can't I hold my fork??  How do you hold a fork again? Great now I have to concentrate on holding a fork. I'm tired now. I'm ready to go home. I slowly get up from my chair while holding on to it because I might fall. I should have just stayed home.
No one truly sees what having an invisible illness does to a person. People need to get past their "you don't look sick" attitude and realize that you don't have to look sick to be sick. Educate yourself. Or just ask your loved one what it does feel like. Trust me, they will tell you.
So people, stop with the dirty looks when I get out of the car in a handicap spot. Stop with the dirty looks when you see me in the electric scooter in the grocery store. Trust me, I had to swallow my pride and already feel bad enough having to drive that thing! And don't stop and stand right in front of me. Because I am so, so tempted to run you over! ;0)
Jenn

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