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6 Things You Need to Know About Invisible Illnesses Part 1 of 6

6 Things You Need to Know About Invisible Illnesses

Imagine being so frozen with fear and dread that you refuse to get out of your car.
Even though you know you’re sick, you know as soon as you step out that people will see your lack of a wheelchair or crutches and do a double take of the handicapped spot you’ve parked in.
The sad truth is that unless your disability is blatantly physically obvious, able-bodied people assume you’re just like them.
Yet the truth is that about 96% of us disabled people have what are called an invisible illness. And because they’re invisible, people assume we’re faking all the time. And the scariest thing is that many painful chronic illnesses go without acknowledgement or recognition from society, even within disability circles.
An invisible illness can be mental, physical, or both. There usually aren’t too many outward signs of said illness, which is why the phrase “but you don’t look sick” is both widespread and completely missing the point.
Take me, for instance.
I look like a rather healthy and young person. And yet, I have maybe ten invisible illnesses. Starting with my very first menstrual cycle, I spent two weeks out of every month doubled over in pain, wanting to kill myself, being told it was all in my head.
I grew older and eventually the intense pain spread to the rest of my body. And as the sexual and emotional abuse worsened, so did my mental health. Eventually I became a bit of a shut in.
Then I began receiving worse and worse diagnosis of chronic – invisible – illnesses.
The most debilitating ones are endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and fibromyalgia. I don’t suffer as much from my Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder anymore, but I do still deal with secondary depression and anxiety.
Most of these are things people have never heard of, or ones that people didn’t realize could apply to people like me.

Most people lack the information or experience to empathize with our struggles. So here are six experiences you may never have realized people with chronic illness have to deal with.


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