But you look fine.... The perks and pit-falls of Invisible Illness

Living with an invisible illness can be both a blessing and a curse. An invisible illness or disability is one that can not be "seen " by looking at the person with the condition. The fact that most people can't tell that I am sick is pretty refreshing sometimes. It's nice to be able to leave the house and not be looked at as the sick girl. The days that I am able to do a little something with my hair, throw on jeans and a cute shirt, and a bold ,bright lipstick I feel like my old self again. These days are nice because no one knows I am sick, there is nothing to give it away and no reason to bring up a long drawn out conversation about illness.

On the other hand it can be very frustrating at times. Since I look completely healthy people don't understand how bad I may be feeling at that exact moment. The chatty lady in the bank line in front of me has no idea that I am seeing stars and on my way to hitting the floor and causing an unwanted scene.The most frustrating thing is definitely  when people stare when they see me in a wheelchair, like I am the lazy girl who wants to use the motorized cart at Target. Ummm ...hello I'd much rather be driving my Camaro than this bright red cart that makes beeping noises when I back up haha. Friends that I once went out with have said things like " you look so good now. I'm glad your better. When are we gonna go out?". Its hard to explain that even though I look fine I am still battling a chronic illness especially when I know their intentions are good.

I think the most important thing to do as a friend or family member is to avoid assumptions.Just be there, and if you aren't sure how we are feeling just ask. Most people with chronic illnesses know their body pretty well and know their limits. If you ask us if we are feeling up to a certain activity we will be able to give you an honest answer. I can't speak for everyone but its a lot easier for me to be honest if you just ask if I'm able to do something. If you assume I'm fine and able to go somewhere or do something I'm more likely to not say anything and try to  push through which eventually ends in me feeling worse.I am the first to admit that you can't really have it both ways. Either I look fine and avoid all the questions or I get misunderstood for looking too normal.Can't have the best of both worlds but a girl can dream can't she ?! 
As a rule of thumb: Just Ask and I will share :)

After writing this post I came across a website that is extremely informative . I would encourage you to read it . As a chronically ill person , it has a lot of information on how to discuss touchy topics with family and friends. For those of you that love  someone with an invisible illness there are postings that may help you gather some more information and insight on what its like to live day to day life in their shoes.http://invisibledisabilities.org/

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