Chronic Invisible Illness Week

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Chronic Invisible Illness Week is here again and I have made a short list of things that people who suffer from the above-mentioned illnesses least want to hear.

  • You should go out more.
  • You may be suffering but, there are plenty other people who are suffering just as much as you are.
  • You look very good today — does that mean that the person being spoken to usually looks bad?
  • I know that you are probably feeling tired, but, I get tired too, you know.
  • Are you eating a well-balanced diet?
  • Have you ever thought of trying herbal remedies or alternative medicine?
  • Oh, I can recommend a very good physician, you know.

The very worst piece of advice I ever heard was: IF YOU WANT MY ADVICE ……..which can be very hurtful as the person giving these pearls of wisdom often does not have the slightest idea of the other person’s diagnosis.

Mental illness can become chronic and is very often invisible. When our son suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, few people understood what he was going through and he received a whole lot of the above kind of advice.  Someone actually said ‘It could have been much worse, you know. Your diagnosis could have been cancer!  

I could think of many responses to that but decided not to reply as I would most likely have said something pretty nasty. The person in question had absolutely no idea how devastating mental illness was for our son, nor the repercussion on our family life.

Here are a few of the invisible illness I can think of: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Clinical Depression, Diabetes, Chemical Sensitivity, Crohn’s Disease, Food allergies, Graves Disease, Lyme Disease, parasitic infections, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Mental Illness and others.

We all need to remember that having an invisible illness is not a choice one is given. All a sufferer can do is remain hopeful, inspire others with their bravery and never give up.

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About the Author
Jill volunteers for ENOSH, the Israel Mental Health Association and received a prestigious award in the Knesset for this work in Jan. 2012. She has written books, been included in two Anthologies, one in Israel in Hebrew and one in Canada, and has had articles published in the USA,England and Canada.